OYFF: Baker Captures Beef Division
Sponsored each year by the Alabama Farmers Federation, the Outstanding Young Farm Family Awards Program recognizes young farmers between the ages of 17 and 35 who do an outstanding job in farm, home and community activities. Division winners representing 11 commodities were selected in February. Of those, six finalists will compete for the title of overall Outstanding Young Farm Family for 2008. The winner, who will be named at the Federation’s 87th Annual Meeting in December, will receive $500 cash from Dodge, the use of a new vehicle and other prizes and will go on to compete at the national level for a 2009 Dodge Ram 3500. This month, Neighbors profiles five commodity division winners. Look for features on the six finalists in the coming months.
Brooks “Hop” Baker experiences two aspects of life most people don’t. He keeps up his family’s farm while juggling a full-time job.”Hop” and his father own 250 acres, with about 125 in Bermuda and Fescue production. Baker also owns about 50 head of brood cows.Hop says not a lot of people are farmers in Jefferson County, but he is proud to keep up his family’s tradition of farming, while running a landscaping business in Birmingham.”There are not a lot of farmers in Jefferson County,” says Hop with a laugh. “I’m about the only one here.”Hop grew up on the farm his grandfather began in the 1940s and has been farming as long as he can remember. He says that he has been blessed with good circumstances most of his life, but the past year was a tough one. “Last year was dry and we were low on hay,” said “Hop.” “We usually sell bales, but not this year.”Hop also says he will be working this year to build a better beef herd. “It’s already better than last year,” he said. “We are keeping heifers over to try and expand the herd.”He and his father are trying to be more efficient and are investigating other farming options that may be more profitable.