Nearly 400 young farmers from throughout Alabama gathered at Point Clear Jan. 30-Feb. 1 for the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Young Farmers Leadership Conference.”Preserving Our Past, Protecting Our Future” was the theme for this year’s conference which featured seminars and workshops on legislative issues, farm management, landowner liability and estate planning. During the event, young farmers from throughout the state vied for a chance to compete for the title of Outstanding Young Farm Family (OYFF) for 2004. Division winners were selected for 10 commodities, and six finalists were chosen to compete for the overall OYFF title.The OYFF program honors young farmers who exhibit good stewardship and farm management. Division winners each received a plaque and $200. The overall winner will be named at the Federation’s annual meeting in December. The winner will receive a home computer system and the use of a new Chevrolet TrailBlazer for one year.Federation Young Farmers Director Brandon Moore said the annual conference has changed in recent years to better meet the needs of today’s young farmers.”When I was growing up on the farm, many farmers provided for their families with farm income alone. Now, we are seeing a lot of young farm families where both the mother and father have off-farm jobs,” Moore said. “Because of that, we’ve tried to provide workshops at the conference where young farmers–who have limited time and resources–can gain knowledge that will help them make better management decisions.”This year’s speakers included attorney Randy Lyons, who spoke on hunting lease liability; Gene Vonderau of the Alabama Trucking Association, who discussed hazardous materials regulations; Dr. George Young of Auburn University, who spoke on the Alabama Farm Analysis program; and 2003 Outstanding Young Farm Family Lance and Dana Byrd of Shelby County.
Outstanding Young Farm Families Honored