Many Faces, One Voice—Alabama Farmers Federation 82nd Annual Meeting
Many Faces, One Voice was the theme for the 82nd annual meeting of the Alabama Farmers Federation held Dec. 7-8 in Mobile where nearly 2,000 members attended.”No other annual meeting theme in the Alabama Farmers Federation’s 82-year history more aptly describes our organization,” Newby said. “Our 457,000 members are bound by common beliefs, a common heritage and common goals. In 2003, the Alabama Farmers Federation’s ‘voice’ was especially loud as together we worked to strengthen agriculture and defend all Alabamians against a $1.2 billion tax increase.”Newby’s annual report also reflected on the good harvest experienced by most Alabama farmers in 2003.Alabama’s senior United States senator, Richard Shelby, received the Service to Agriculture Award during the Dec. 7 opening session of the meeting. “Sen. Shelby’s service to Alabama is long and dedicated,” Newby said. “He’s always been a friend to agriculture, and even though he’s not a farmer, he hasn’t forgotten his rural friends in Alabama.”Newby noted that Shelby has long been a defender of property rights and decreased regulation of agriculture.Shelby said the award was one of the highest honors he has received. “I appreciate, over the years, all the support you have given me in every county in the state,” he said. “I firmly believe that the family farm is a valuable part of the American economy, and during my term in Congress and in the Senate I have been a strong supporter of agriculture.”Lance and Dana Byrd of Shelby County were named the 2004 Outstanding Young Farm Family at the conclusion of the Dec. 7 program.The Dec. 8 morning session included the leadership recognition program. Outgoing Southwest Area Vice President James Tolar received a Special Alfa Leadership Award for his 28 years of service. Former Federation Executive Director John Dorrill was honored with a Special Service to Agriculture Award, and media awards were presented to The Decatur Daily for print journalism and Charlie Platt of WDHN-TV for broadcast excellence.During the afternoon business session, Federation members elected five new board members and re-elected four others.During the final general session, Brittany Dannelle Johnson of Dale County was crowned Miss Alabama Agriculture 2004, and the Madison County trio of Austin Smith, Anna Childers and Kelli Posey won the Talent Find Competition.