News OYFF Winners: Looneys Win Wheat & Feed Grains Division

OYFF Winners: Looneys Win Wheat & Feed Grains Division

OYFF Winners: Looneys Win Wheat & Feed Grains Division
July 31, 2007 |

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 2007. The winner will be named at the Federation’s
86th annual meeting in December. This month, Neighbors profiles five commodity division winners. Look for features on the six finalists in the coming months.In the nine years he’s been farming, Benjamin Looney has had some good breaks — and some bad ones. In 1997, for example, he was forced to destroy his first crop due to unseasonably cold and wet weather. This year, it’s been an unseasonably cold spring followed by the worst drought in 50 years.But the Looney family — Benjamin, wife Miranda and sons Colby and Clay — have survived the nightmare of 2007 better than most. Even after the Easter weekend freeze that ruined the wheat fields of many farmers, the Looneys’ 80-acre wheat field stands almost waist-high.”I was more worried about my corn after the freeze,” said Benjamin, who also has 100 acres of corn along with 640 acres of cotton and 40 acres of soybeans. “As I was looking at my wheat, I noticed the heads had not yet come out, so I was pretty fortunate. We usually don’t start planting our wheat until about Thanksgiving, and it just paid off.”Benjamin said he usually plants only 40 acres of wheat per year as a cover crop, adding “the more I got to looking at it, it kept looking better and the prices kept looking better.”He booked early at $4.38 a bushel and was pleased, but a recent check showed prices had risen to $5.50. “Now, I wish I hadn’t booked early,” he said with a laugh. “But we’re better off than a lot of folks.”

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