By Maggie Edwards
Young Farmers secured wins, prizes and experience advocating for agriculture during contests at the Alabama Farmers Federation Farm & Land Expo Aug. 12 in Mobile.
Leaders from Limestone and Winston counties took home wins for the Outstanding Young Farm Family (OYFF) and Excellence in Agriculture competitions, respectively, while four Discussion Meet finalists were announced. The contests are for 18- to 35-year-old members.
Brady and Anna Peek of Limestone County were named Alabama’s OYFF. The Peeks raise row crops and have a newborn son, Ridge.
As the OYFF, they will receive more than $80,000 in prizes, including $40,000 toward a new Ford truck, compliments of Alfa Insurance; a John Deere 835M Gator sponsored by Alabama Ag Credit and Alabama Farm Credit; and a year’s lease on a John Deere tractor, thanks to John Deere, SunSouth and TriGreen.
First and second runners-up in the OYFF competition will receive prize packages from new OYFF sponsors Kubota and Corteva Agriscience.
Whit and Amanda Lovelady of Talladega County were named first runner-up. They receive use of a Kubota M series tractor, courtesy of Kubota. The Loveladys have two children, Annagrace and John Luke, and raise cattle and hay.
Mitchell and Rebecca Henry of Lawrence County were second runner-up and earned a custom chemical package from Corteva. The Henrys also raise cattle and hay, in addition to son Clint.
Additionally, the Loveladys and Henrys will receive $500 from perennial sponsors Alabama Ag Credit and Alabama Farm Credit.
OYFF interviews were held in March, and judges visited the three finalist farms in July to select the OYFF. Families are judged on farm growth, community involvement and Federation and American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) leadership. OYFF competitors must receive more than half their income from production agriculture.
Excellence in Agriculture winner Zack Brannon of Winston County will receive a zero-turn Grasshopper lawn mower, sponsored by Corteva. In this contest, participants showcase the role agriculture plays in their lives and present solutions on agricultural issues. Brannon is an Extension agent.
The first runner-up couple was Josh and Bailey Williams of Tallapoosa County, with Jake and Sheena Gay of Randolph County as second runner-up.
Twenty-two Young Farmers competed in Discussion Meet. The four finalists are Caleb Beason of Franklin County, Miller Bonds of Limestone County, Greyson Lauderdale of Limestone County and Gavin Rankins of Chambers County.
Discussion Meet simulates a committee meeting where participants discuss solutions to agricultural issues. The Final Four will compete during the Federation’s annual meeting in December. The winner will score a four-wheeler from First South Farm Credit.
All finalists received a custom Solo Stove from the Federation and Alfa. Winners will represent Alabama during AFBF national competitions in January in Salt Lake City, Utah.