News Newby Named To Seventh Term; Bentley, Skaggs Applaud Farmers

Newby Named To Seventh Term; Bentley, Skaggs Applaud Farmers

Newby Named To Seventh Term; Bentley, Skaggs Applaud Farmers
December 15, 2010 |

Alabama Farmers Federation
President Jerry Newby was
elected to his seventh straight
two-year term, and Governor-elect
Dr. Robert Bentley and bluegrass
musician Ricky Skaggs applauded
farmers during the organization’s
89th annual meeting in Mobile,
Dec. 5-6.The meeting climaxed with the
naming of Josh and Jessica Turner
of Sylvania in DeKalb County as
Alabama’s Outstanding Young
Farm Family.Newby, a Limestone County
row crop and cattle farmer, who
delivered the annual report to
about 1,200 members on opening
night, presided over the organization’s
business session in which
almost 500 voting delegates elected
new officers and board members.
Officer positions are for two-year
terms, while board members are
elected for three-year terms.Against a backdrop of “Agriculture:
A Growing Story,” opening
night also saw Bentley tell the
state’s farm families “… you live
by faith because you have so little
control over so many things, but
you still continue farming. I want
you to know how much I appreciate
that, and the people of this
state ought to appreciate that.
You’re one of the largest industries
in this state, and that’s
why we can continue to create
jobs. The people of this country
ought to appreciate what you
do every day,
and the hard
work you do.”Bentley
cited the New
Testament Book of James in warning
that Alabama is facing many
“trials” in the coming days. “Trials
can make you stronger,” he said.
“This is the time of trials. So we
need to use it as that; we need to
look at it as that, and we need to
make a stronger state. We need to
look at areas where we can make
government more efficient, where
we can consolidate, where we can
do away with duplication. … The
thing we need to remember in the
government is this: The taxpayer
is the customer, and the customer
is the one we need to
be serving.”Just a few hours
later, Skaggs — a 14-time
Award winner
who just
received three
more nominations
for next month’s Grammy
Awards — also praised farmers.
“God bless you farmers
because we need you!” Skaggs
told the Federation-packed audience
during a rollicking concert
at nearby Saenger Theatre. “We
need farms and folks raising food.
I know we’ve talked about doing
that at my own house, growing a
few little things for us and a few
friends around there. My dad raised
enough for everybody on the creek.
He’d make enough potatoes for
everybody. We could never eat that
many of them. But farmers are
important to all of us.”Dr. John Wheat, founder and
director of the University of
Alabama’s Rural Health Leaders
Pipeline Programs, was presented
the Federation’s highest honor, the
Service to Agriculture Award.Noting that only 9 percent of
the doctors in the U.S. serve in
rural areas where 20 percent of the
population lives, Newby thanked
Wheat “for believing in rural Alabama
Wheat, in turn, thanked the
Federation for its support. He also
thanked the young students in
his charge. “I want to thank the
children of rural Alabama. They’ve
taught me that you don’t need to
look elsewhere to find a doctor for
rural Alabama. Just give them the
bucket and they’ll carry the water,”
said Wheat. “Even the children of
the most impoverished part of the
state, the Black Belt, have shown
that with a nurturing and supportive
context, they will get the
job done. It’s my opinion that it’s a
great opportunity before us today
to help these children do just that,
to help them bring home homegrown
doctors to rural Alabama,
to the Black Belt, to the farmers
and the small towns where they
have not had doctors in such a long
time.”Farmers also attended an Ag
Issues Briefing in which Steve
Flick, board president of the Show
Me Cooperative in Centerview,
Mo., and Dennis Wiese, a consultant
in growth energy, addressed
the opportunities for growing sustainable
bio-mass as an alternative
energy source.Outstanding county Farmers
Federations and individual and
senior farm leaders were recognized
during an awards ceremony with
Jim Cox of the East Lauderdale
News receiving the Federation’s Ag
Communications Award for excellence
in print journalism.Kirk Smith of
Blount County,
winner of the Federation’s
in Agriculture contest,
gave his winning
during the Young
Farmers banquet
and was recognized
during the closing
session, which
also featured the
Discussion Meet
competition on
stage. Katie Hines
of Madison County
took first in that
contest with Allie
Corcoran of Barbour
County named as
first alternate and
Mike Dole of St.
Clair County and
Josh Turner were
third and fourth
alternates. The
Discussion Meet seeks to develop leadership, problemsolving
and consensus-building skills among young
farmers through competitive discussions in a committee
meeting format. Hines will go on to
represent Alabama at the American Farm
Bureau Federation’s 2011 Discussion Meet
in Atlanta this month.In addition to Newby’s re-election during
the voting delegates session, Morgan
County poultry farmer Hal Lee retained his
position as north area vice president. Ricky
Wiggins, a Covington County cattle, cotton
and peanut producer, was unopposed as
vice president of the southeast area.Elections were also held for four district
board positions. Ted Grantland, a soybean
and wheat and feed grain producer who
serves as president of the Morgan County
Farmers Federation, took the District 2
seat. Also new to the board of directors is
Dickie Odom Jr., president of the Greene
County Farmers Federation, who took the
District 8 seat.John E. Walker III, a row crop farmer
who is president of the Tuscaloosa County
Farmers Federation, was elected to his
third term in District 5, and David Bitto,
a peanut, soybean and beef producer who is
president of the Baldwin County Farmers
Federation, was also elected to his third term,
retaining the District 11 seat.Elected to one-year, ex-officio terms on
the state board were Women’s Leadership
Committee Chairman Debbie Freeland of
Mobile County and State Young Farmers
Chairman Ben Haynes of Cullman County.The Women’s Leadership Committee
was kept busy weighing aluminum pop tabs
contributed by counties as part of its ongoing
fundraising effort for Ronald McDonald
House Charities of Alabama. Morgan County
brought in the most pop tabs — 375 pounds’
worth — to raise the Women’s total for the
year to 1,816 pounds. The amount collected
would permit one family to stay at the Ronald
McDonald House for a month. The pop
tabs also help pay for supplies, utilities and
other operations at the house the families
need during their stay.The Young Farmers Committee held a
silent auction to benefit Alabama Ag In The
Classroom, raising $7,635. County Federations
and sponsors — First South Farm
Credit, Alabama Pork Producers, Jackson &
Thornton, Power South Energy, SunSouth and Data
Supply — contributed 100 items for the auction.

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