News LOOKING AHEAD: Ag Commissioner, AU Dean Among Speakers At Organization Conference

LOOKING AHEAD: Ag Commissioner, AU Dean Among Speakers At Organization Conference

LOOKING AHEAD: Ag Commissioner, AU Dean Among Speakers At Organization Conference
January 17, 2011 |

John McMillan, Alabama’s newly
elected Commissioner of Agriculture
& Industries, and Dr.
William Batchelor, dean of the College
of Agriculture at Auburn University,
will be among the speakers
when the Alabama Farmers Federation
hosts its annual Commodity
Organization Conference, Feb. 1-3,
at the Cahaba Grand Conference
Center in Birmingham.McMillan, who succeeds Ron
Sparks as Commissioner of Agriculture
& Industries, will address
the attendees during lunch on the
conference’s opening day. Batchelor,
new dean of the College of Agriculture
at Auburn University, will be
the luncheon speaker Wednesday.McMillan, who campaigned
on a platform of clean water, rural
economic development, safe food
and renewable energy, gained his
first statewide election victory in
1974 with a run for the Alabama
Legislature. He was later appointed
by former Gov. Fob James as Commissioner
of the Alabama Department
of Conservation and Natural
Resources. He has also served as
chairman of the Alabama Forestry
Council, the Alabama Forestry Planning
Committee and the Alabama
Wildlife Federation.Batchelor, who succeeded Dr.
Richard Guthrie upon his retirement,
was named dean and director
of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment
Station last May. Prior to
assuming that post, he was head of
the Department of Agricultural and
Biological Engineering at Mississippi
State University.The annual conference brings
together leaders and producers in
16 commodities represented by the
Federation to elect state commodity
committee members, set goals and
priorities for 2011 and share concerns
and ideas about current issues
facing the respective commodities.Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.,
with commodity meetings beginning
at 9:30 a.m. and concluding around
3:30 p.m. The scheduled commodity
meetings are:
Feb. 1 — Catfish, Bee & Honey, Beef,
Horticulture, Pork and Wildlife
Resources Feb. 2 — Cotton, Forestry, Hay &
Forage, Poultry and Meat Goat &
SheepFeb. 3 — Dairy, Equine, Greenhouse,
Nursery & Sod, Soybean and
Wheat & Feed GrainThe Alabama Peanut Producers
will meet in conjunction with the
Alabama/Florida Peanut Trade Show
on Feb. 10, 10 a.m., at the National
Peanut Festival Fairgrounds in
Dothan.”The Commodity Organization
Conference is an important first step
in starting a new year,” said Jimmy
Carlisle, director of the Federation’s
Governmental and Agricultural
Programs. “This is when we elect
leaders who will work for their
respective commodities. It’s also
when we begin focusing on our goals
and priorities and when we set the
tone for the upcoming year. It’s a
critical time for all of us in agriculture.
That’s why it’s essential to stay
abreast of research, stay informed
about legislative activities and
understand how certain regulatory
issues can affect our commodities.”Catfish producers, for example,
will hear from Roger Barlow, president
of The Catfish Institute and
executive vice president of Catfish
Farmers of America.In addition to Barlow, catfish
farmers will also hear from aquaculture
Extension specialists Dr.
Terry Hanson and Dr. John Jensen
of Auburn University. Hanson will
be offering a review of the catfish
industry’s previous year and providing
an economic outlook for the
2011 growing season for catfish producers.
Jensen will discuss the latest
developments related to the Pond
to Plate research project involving
a number of research and Extension
personnel in the Department of
Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures at
Auburn University.Peter Giroux, co-founder and
partner of American Solar & Alternative
Energy Solutions, will also
explore the feasibility of alternative
energies for catfish farmers and other
agricultural enterprises.The state’s meat goat and sheep
producers will hear from Dr. Will
Getz, a nationally recognized professor
and Extension specialist in
animal sciences at Fort Valley (Ga.,)
State University, where he also
serves as a member of the staff of the
Georgia Small Ruminant Research
and Extension Center.Getz will be providing farmers
with expert technical advice while
wearing his researcher hat, but will
also review the accomplishments
of the American Sheep Industry
Association and the American Goat
Federation over the past year.Dr. Tony Frazier, state veterinarian,
will bring attendees up to speed
on the latest news related to animal
disease traceability and what sheep
and goat producers should expect.Dr. Deacue Fields, associate
professor and Extension specialist in
agricultural economics from Auburn
University, will also discuss the
Market Maker program and how it
might benefit goat and sheep farmers
in terms of marketing animal and
finished products such
as goat cheese and
soap.Fields will also
discuss the Market
Maker program with
Greenhouse, Nursery
& Sod producers.
Another speaker for
the GNS meeting will
be Bill Weaver, director
of the Alabama
Field Office for the
USDA’s National Agricultural
Statistics Service
(NASS). Weaver
will discuss the 2009
Census of Horticulture
specialties. Plus,
Dr. Joe Touchton and
Dr. Gobi Hiluka of
Auburn University will speak about
the history of Auburn University’s
Soil Testing Laboratory and the Alfa
Agricultural Services & Research
Building and testing technologies.The Horticulture meeting will
be held jointly with Bee and Honey
producers as Dr. Bryan Chin, professor
and chair of Auburn University’s
Detection and Food Safety Center,
discusses possible research opportunities
in tracking queen bees. Dr.
James Tew, apiculture advisor at
Auburn University, will take a look
at the beekeeping outlook for 2011,
and State Apiarist Dennis Barclift
will offer an update on Alabama’s
industry.Other speakers for this combined
session include: Dr. Bill Goff, Extension
specialist and professor with
Auburn University’s Department
of Horticulture, on pecan cultivar
evaluations, grafting techniques and
propagation; Matt Goff, a Lowndesboro
pecan grower, on the value of
exporting pecans to China; and Dr.
Elina Coneva, Extension specialist
and assistant horticulture professor,
on an overview of her research
projects on fruit crops.Forestry producers will hear
from Mac Phillippi of the American
Chestnut Foundation on “Bringing
Back the American Chestnut,”
forester Leh Bass on “The Pine Straw
Industry in Alabama” and Jim Jeter
of the Alabama Forestry Commission
on “EPA Point Source Timber
Harvest Regulations.”
The Wildlife Resources meeting
will feature Allen Andress of
the Alabama Department of Conservation
and Natural Resources
(DCNR) Chief Enforcement Section
on “What Is A ‘Legal’ Dove Field?”Other speakers include wildlife biologist
Adam Pritchett of the Alabama
DCNR on “Coyote Predation On
Whitetail Deer” and Will Ainsworth,
executive director of the Alabama
Deer Association, on “Deer Breeding
In Alabama.”Dairy producers will hear from
Cheryl Hayn of the Southeast United
Dairy Association, Dennis Pate
of <a href= Environmental Services
and Sue Mosley of the USDA Milk
Market. They will also hear updates
from the Natural Resources Conservation
Service on Environmental
Quality Incentives Program funding
for Comprehensive Nutrient Management
Plans.Pork producers
will hear from
Ernie Barnes of
the National Pork
Board, Pate of Validus
Services and Chris
Goodman with the
Alabama Department
of Environmental
on water quality.
Pate and Goodman
will also
address the state’s
poultry producers
as well as hear
a poultry health
update from the Alabama
of Agriculture and
Industries.Cotton growers will hear about
marketing from Jeff Thompson of
the Autauga Quality Cotton Association;
Brad Meyer and George
Huckaby of Agri-AFC will discuss
new varieties for 2011; William Henderson
of the Alabama Farm Service
Agency will provide an FSA update
and Tara Smith of the American
Farm Bureau Federation will offer a
national issues update. In addition,
a panel of consultants and farmers
will address herbicide resistance and
weed management.

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