August 13, 2020 | News from the Alabama Farmers Federation
Coronavirus + Agriculture
USDA Adds Commodities To CFAP, Extends Deadline To Sept. 11
Catfish and horticulture operations joined the list of commodities eligibly for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) funding, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has announced. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also extended the application deadline to Sept. 11 and expedited full payment for eligible applicants.

State Coronavirus Relief Funds Announced
Gov. Kay Ivey has announced a $26 million relief fund for farmers, ranchers and agricultural operations hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Alabama Agricultural Stabilization Program package includes:
  • Direct Payment Business Stabilization Grants to Cattle Producers — $10.5 million 
  • Meat Processing Plant Reimbursement Program — $1.5 million 
  • Poultry Farmer Stabilization Grant Program — $4 million 
  • Catfish Processor Reimbursement Program — $500,000 
  • Fruit & Vegetable Processor Reimbursement Program — $500,000 
  • State Supplemental Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Grants — $8 million 
  • Nursery Grower Reimbursement Program — $1 million

The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) will administer assistance programs for farmers and agribusinesses.

Young Farmers Win Statewide Contests
Congratulations to Ben and Bethany Johnson, Alabama’s 2020 Outstanding Young Farm Family (OYFF).

They raise cattle, poultry, hay, row crops and their children, Blakely and Brooks, in Randolph County.

As the OYFF, they score more than $60,000 in prizes, including:
  • $35,000 toward a Ford truck from Alfa Insurance
  • A John Deere Gator from Alabama Ag Credit and Alabama Farm Credit
  • A lease on a John Deere tractor from AgPro, SunSouth and Trigreen dealers
Emmanuel Bankston from Henry County won the Excellence in Agriculture competition. He receives a zero-turn mower from Corteva Agriscience and a computer package from Valcom/CCS Wireless.

Events + Deadlines

Pork Division Names Bama's Best Pulled Pork
The Pork Division of the Alabama Farmers Federation sponsored the Bama's Best Pulled Pork contest this summer. JJ's BBQ of Elba scored the top prize, which included a plaque, cash prize and feature in Neighbors magazine.

Commodity Corner
The Alabama Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (AFVGA) board voted Aug. 5 to cancel its Conference and Trade Show Nov. 19-20. The association will stream content that would have been presented at the conference via Facebook and Check the AFVGA Facebook page for webinar schedules this fall.

Sheep & Goat
JBS recently purchased the second-largest lamb processing facility in the country, Mountain States Rosen, and plans to transition the Greeley, Colorado, facility into a beef processing plant. Many western sheep producers and congressional representatives claim this acquisition may irreversibly harm competition in the domestic lamb market and have called for a Department of Justice investigation.

Soybeans and Wheat & Feed Grains
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that growers can continue to use Enlist Duo. This is a positive decision for agriculture, particularly because the court denied almost all of the plaintiff’s petitions claiming the Environmental Protection Agency violated the Federal Insecticide, Rodenticide and Fungicide Act and the Endangered Species Act in its registration processes. Had the decision gone differently, it's likely farmers would have quickly looked for other products that may be challenged on the same grounds.

After a nationwide search, The Dairy Alliance has selected its new CEO. Geri Berdak will begin Sept. 1. She is known for her work delivering strategic growth for nonprofit organizations and her former role as a nutritionist for the St. Louis Dairy Council.

In a referendum conducted July 23, ninety-five percent of peanut farmers who voted said “yes” to continuing the Alabama Peanut Producers Association programs in education, promotion and research. Growers who produced peanuts in 2017, 2018 or 2019 were eligible to vote. 

Forestry and Wildlife
President Donald J. Trump recently signed federal legislation to allocate the full $900 million in annual funding promised for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) when it was enacted more than 50 years ago. The increased funding will enable more grants from the Forest Legacy Program, the primary federal funding for private forest owners to voluntarily protect their forests through conservation easements.
Irrigation Initiative Flows Through Alabama
Water and funds have started flowing for north Alabama farmers approved for financial assistance through the Soil and Water Conservation Committee’s Alabama Irrigation Initiative.

The first payment for new, water- and energy-efficient irrigation systems was made in July to F&W Farms in New Hope. The Madison County row crop operation owned by Jeff Webster and Mike Frazier is among 45 farms currently approved for the program, which will invest a total of $8 million to increase on-farm irrigation.
On The Move In Ag
  • Jimmy Parnell, president of the Alabama Farmers Federation, was named to a national Agricultural Trade Advisory Committee, which provides guidance to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

  • The U.S. Peanut Federation (USPF) was recently formed by peanut industry growers, shellers and buying points. USPF will serve as a unified voice in Washington for all sectors of the peanut industry and advocate for strong agricultural policy.
Partner Profile: Scott Graham
Auburn University recently welcomed new row crop Extension entomologist Scott Graham. 

Graham is one of only four people in the last 96 years to have served in this position. His research centers on integrated pest management practices for row crops in Alabama. 

Graham will develop educational programs, in addition to educating producers on ways to increase yields and economic prosperity.

The Mississippi native earned his bachelor’s degree in agronomy and master’s degree in entomology at Mississippi State University. He holds a doctorate in entomology from the University of Tennessee.
Practical Research Benefits Farmers
This new series from Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station Director Greg Pate will highlight practical research benefiting farmers at 13 regional units.
The Plant Science Research Center (PSRC) at Auburn University provides greenhouse space and supporting facilities and services to research scientists.

Fast facts about the PSRC:

  • Conducts over 180 experiments per year, making it one of the highest volume research AAES sites
  • Contains 12,800 square feet of greenhouse space divided into 12 zones equipped with Wadsworth EnviroStep controllers
  • Has a greenhouse area that's divided into twelve 30-by-36-foot zones equipped with individual temperature, air circulation and shade controls
  • Propagates seed and cuttings for all AAES research projects
  • Contributes to or has three industrial hemp projects in process:
  • Hemp Variety, Fertility, and Pesticide Trial – Dr. Katelyn Kesheimer
  • Hemp Variety Response to Parasitic Nematodes – Dr. Kathy Lawrence
  • Hemp Production for Field and Nematode Work – Dr. Joe Kemble
Safety Suggestions For Agritourism
Questions? Email the Federation's Hunter McBrayer.
Job Opportunities
The Alabama Peanut Producers Association is accepting applications for a communications coordinator.

Alabama Extension has county coordinator positions open in the following counties:
  • Etowah
  • Houston
  • Madison
  • Morgan

The Alabama Forestry Commission is searching for an assistant state forester. Apply by clicking here.
In Memory
Lenn Costner of Alexandria died July 12. Costner, 87, was involved in the Calhoun County Farmers Federation and was an Army veteran. Click here to read more about Costner's legacy.