Up-and-coming agriculturalists showed nerves of steel during State Young Farmers contests in Birmingham Aug. 5. That evening, Outstanding Young Farm Family (OYFF) and Excellence In Ag competition winners and Discussion Meet finalists were announced at the Alabama Farmers Federation’s 45th Commodity Producers Conference closing banquet.
Cleburne County’s Eric and Carrly Lovvorn and their children, 2-year-old Chloe and 3-month-old Landon, are the 2017 OYFF. The Lovvorns live near Ranburne and have a four-house poultry farm and cattle. They also grow hay and own a poultry house clean-out business.
As the OYFF, the Lovvorns won a prize package worth more than $60,000. They will receive $35,000 toward a new Ford vehicle courtesy of Alfa Insurance; a John Deere 825i Gator from Alabama Ag Credit and Alabama Farm Credit; and a lease on a John Deere tractor from John Deere and local dealers.
Runners-up are Beth Hornsby of Auburn in Lee County and Ben and Jessica Johnson of Fyffe in DeKalb County. Alabama Ag Credit and Alabama Farm Credit provide each family $500.
OYFF contestants receive more than half their income from production agriculture. Finalists were named at the Young Farmers Conference in March.
Andrew Brock of Douglas in Marshall County won the Excellence In Ag contest against 10 competitors. Contestants are those involved in agriculture, but receive more than half their income off farm.
As the winner, Brock receives a zero-turn mower courtesy of Dow AgroSciences and a computer package from Valcom/CCS Wireless. First runner-up is Samantha Carpenter of Madison in Limestone County, while Abby and Jay Stewart of Lineville in Clay County are second runner-up.
The Discussion Meet had 17 competitors who reviewed pressing agricultural issues in a committee meeting-like setting. Finalists are Landon Marks of Leesburg in Cherokee County, Kyle Morris of Cullman in Cullman County, Ethan Mobley of Red Bay in Franklin County and Hunter Garnett of Danville in Morgan County. The final Discussion Meet round is in December at the Federation’s annual meeting in Montgomery, where the winner will take home a four-wheeler courtesy of First South Farm Credit.
All contests received Yeti coolers from the Federation. State winners will represent Alabama at the American Farm Bureau Federation annual convention and contests in Nashville, Tennessee, in January 2018.