By Debra Davis
State commodity committee elections were held in conjunction with the Alabama Farmers Federation’s 100th annual meeting in Montgomery Dec. 5.
Elections previously were held at the Commodity Organization Meeting in February. The change should make the election process simpler while improving educational programing opportunities for each commodity, said the Federation’s Brian Hardin.
“The Commodity Organization Meeting has evolved over the years going from a one-day meeting to three to expand educational programing,” said Hardin, director of the Federation’s Governmental and Agricultural Programs Department. “Changes and clarification to policy a few years ago helped provide a written procedure to streamline the process.”
Having elections at the annual meeting and conducting educational programs at different times and locations will best suit most producers, Hardin said. State Catfish Committee members already made the switch, meeting Dec. 2 in west Alabama, where most of the state’s catfish production exists. Likewise, the Alabama Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association held elections for horticulture leaders at its annual conference in November, and the Alabama TREASURE Forest Association leaders were selected after the Alabama Landowners Conference in October. The Alabama Peanut Producers Association also is an affiliate of the Federation and will hold its elections in February.
“Through its agricultural programs, the Federation’s vision is to transform the lives of our members by proactively leading discussions, providing education and implementing public policy to enhance the lives of the farmers we serve,” Hardin said. “The more farmers the Federation connects and engages, the more effective we will be in achieving our mission. The Federation is actively working to enhance and promote existing educational opportunities for farmers, while working with our state commodity committees to develop new ones where needed. We are excited about the new approach and what it will mean for the Federation membership.”
With feedback from the Federation’s commodity committee members, Hardin said staff will continue to evaluate the best delivery methods for educating and electing commodity leaders.
State commodity committee members who rotated off their respective committees were honored during the awards breakfast Dec. 6 at the annual meeting. They are:
Bee & Honey — Terry Martin, Tallapoosa County
Beef — Phil Slay, Chambers County, and Jim Yance, Henry County
Catfish — Brad Brady, Perry County, and Thed Spree, Greene County
Cotton — Andy Thornburg, Mobile County
Forestry — Richard Jones, Covington County, and Charles Whatley, Lee County
Greenhouse, Nursery & Sod — Jon Hegeman, Calhoun County
Hay & Forage — Phyllis Jones, Cherokee County; Neal Kelly, Tallapoosa County; Steve Stroud, Pike County; and Joe Williams, Dale County
Pork — Johnny Miller, Cherokee County
Poultry — Chase Bradley, Monroe County
Sheep & Goat — Sam Abney, Autauga County, and Eugene Blair, Chambers County
Soybean — Charles Butler, Madison County, and Colt Clemmons, Lauderdale County
Wheat & Feed Grain — Scott Saucer, Monroe County
Visit AlfaFarmers.org for a list of new state commodity committee members.