Patriotic Setting Greets Members At Annual Meeting
A patriotic setting greeted more than 2,000 Alabama farmers who attended the Alabama Farmers Federation’s 80th annual meeting in Mobile. Federation President Jerry Newby said the organization chose “Agriculture: America’s Homeland Security,” as the theme for the meeting to remind members that an abundant food supply is just one of the many blessings Americans enjoy.”In light of the events that have occurred in America since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, we have all taken a long look at the freedoms we enjoy and sometimes take for granted,” Newby said. “We believe that as our country concentrates on homeland security, farmers play an important role by providing food and fiber for our country and many other countries around the world.” In keeping with the theme, the first general session included the presentation of colors by the Alabama Army National Guard as well as patriotic singing by Shelia Jackson of Troy and Federation Women’s Director Ashley Davis. Newby’s annual report video, created by Federation Broadcast Director Kevin Worthington, also included a tribute to the victims and heroes of the war on terrorism.During the second general session, Newby presented the Service to Agriculture Award–the organization’s highest honor–to Alabama Speaker of the House of Representatives Seth Hammett. He also presented Special Service to Agriculture Awards to the Alabama National Guard, rural fire fire fighters and rural law enforcement officers.”Alabamians have a long history of rising to the call of duty in times of peace and in times of turmoil,” Newby said. “We are indeed fortunate to live in a state where service to country and community isn’t considered a duty at all–it’s considered an honor. Today, we honor those men and women who serve our state and this nation as fire fighters, law enforcement officers and members of the Alabama National Guard.”During the organization’s business session, Federation members elected four new state board members and re-elected five others.Federation officers re-elected to two-year terms included Randolph County cattle and poultry farmer Dean Wysner, who serves as vice president for the central region. James A. Tolar Jr. of Perry County was re-elected vice president for the southwest region, and Conecuh County row crop and dairy farmer Steve Dunn was re-elected to a second term as secretary-treasurer. In the Federation’s district board elections, Morgan County row crop farmer Ted Grantland was elected to represent Limestone, Madison and Morgan counties on the state board. Pickens County poultry farmer Harold McCool will represent Choctaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Marengo, Perry, Pickens and Sumter counties. Jon Miller, a Tuscaloosa County poultry farmer, was re-elected as the board member for Bibb, Fayette, Jefferson, Lamar and Tuscaloosa counties. Mobile County cotton and peanut farmer Bert Driskell was re-elected by the farmers in Baldwin, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia, Mobile, Monroe and Washington counties. Each Farmers Federation district director will serve three years. Elected to one-year, ex-officio terms on the state board were Women’s Committee Chairman Debbie Freeland of Mobile County and State Young Farmers Chairman Chris Carroll of Dale County.