August 11, 2021
Highlights From The Farm & Land Expo
The Alabama Farmers Federation continued celebrating its centennial during the Farm & Land Expo Aug. 5-7 in Montgomery.

Farm tours were a highlight of the conference and included stops at research stations, a winery, a dairy, cattle farms, a stockyard, a turf farm, an agritourism operation and more.

Saturday, the Family Farm Fun Day attracted thousands of community members to downtown Montgomery. The event included a petting zoo, antique tractor show, farmers market, artisans market and hayrides, followed by the Farm & Land Expo Trade Show.
Young Farmers Shine
During the event, Josh and Savannah McCoy of Midland City in Dale County were named Alabama’s Outstanding Young Farm Family. They raise peanuts and cotton, in addition to sons Fields and Sutton, on a multigenerational operation that includes a peanut shelling plant and buying point.

Landon and Lauren Marks of Leesburg in Cherokee County earned first place in the Excellence in Agriculture contest.

Additionally, four finalists were named in the Discussion Meet contest and will compete for the state title in December:

  • Kyle Morris of Hanceville in Cullman County
  • Matthew Johnson of Gadsden in Etowah County
  • Leah Mitchell of Geraldine in DeKalb County
  • Levi Noles of Woodland in Randolph County
Additional Award Winners Honored
The Farm & Land Expo also allowed opportunities to honor exceptional researchers, innovators and artists.

For the third year, the Alabama Farmers Federation presented awards to two Auburn University and Alabama Extension staffers for work tangibly affecting producers. Kent Stanford scored the Duncan Award for Excellence in Production Agriculture and Forestry Extension, while Dr. Jeremy Pickens received the Rittenour Award for Excellence in Production Agriculture and Forestry Research.

The inaugural Ag Innovation Challenge winner was Wade Helms and Helms Manufacturing Co. LLC of Houston County. They won $10,000 for developing a system to attach a set of planters to a strip-till machine allowing the implement to complete two tasks at once. Helms will represent Alabama in American Farm Bureau’s national contest.

Additionally, winners were named in Women's Leadership Division contests:

  • Ruby Ness of St. Clair County, Hand-Stitched Quilt Contest
  • Melanie Harville of St. Clair County, Machine-Stitched Quilted Pillow Cover and Machine-Stitched Quilt Contests
  • Marie Slade of Clarke County, Lap Blanket Contest
  • Kim O'Connor of Montgomery County, Commodity Wreath Contest
Whitley Named Head Of Foreign Ag Service
Alabama farmers last month applauded the appointment of Daniel Whitely as Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) administrator. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack elevated Whitley from his role as acting administrator. Whitley has been with FAS for more than 20 years; before his time as acting administrator, he was an associate administrator charged with leading the agency’s trade policy and market analysis teams. 

Two years ago, he visited the Alabama Farmers Federation home office, where he met with board members and President Jimmy Parnell.

Whitley was also a guest on the Alabama AgCast earlier this year. Click here to listen to Season 2, Episode 7.
Wheat, Feed Grain Farmers Hire Research Interpreter
Members of the Alabama Wheat & Feed Grain State Committee met during the Farm and Land Expo Aug. 5 in Montgomery. The meeting introduced Dr. Dewey Lee, a former professor from the University of Georgia who was hired to help Alabama farmers interpret research projects and practical application to farms.

From left are State Wheat & Feed Grain Committee Chair Stanley Walters of Perry County, Lee and Committee Vice Chair Ron Brumley of Colbert County.
McBrayer Tapped To Lead Young Farmers
The Alabama Farmers Federation is welcoming a familiar face as director of its Young Farmers Division. Hunter McBrayer, a commodity director whose roots run deep in the Young Farmers program, will begin his new role Aug. 23.

McBrayer replaces Young Farmers Division Director Jennifer Christenberry. The 9-year Federation veteran is transitioning to a new, part-time role with the Alabama FFA Foundation and leadership development.
Events & Deadlines
  • Aug. 19 — Women's Communications Boot Camp applications due. Register here.

  • September-November — Beef Systems Short Courses across Alabama. Click here for a schedule.

  • Sept. 7 & 30 — Campaign Schools for prospective elected officials. Register here.

  • Sept. 9 — Heritage Cooking Contest in Montgomery

  • Sept. 16 — Alabama Agriculture Hall of Honor banquet in Opelika. Order tickets here.

  • Sept. 25 — Ag Roundup at Auburn University

  • Oct. 1 — Peanut Leadership Academy applications due. Download the application here.
Catch Up On Simply Southern TV
Watch Simply Southern TV every Wednesday at 3 p.m. Central on national cable network RFD-TV. For other ways to watch, click here.  

  • Today’s show: Ten Mile Creek Lotus Nursery, Combat Park, World Livestock Auctioneer Champion Chuck Bradley of Rockford and Southern Bite’s recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes, sponsored by Sweet Grown Alabama

  • Aug. 18: Alabama butterfly farmer John Wahl, That’s My Dog Junior, Ask A Farmer about poultry with Corey Hill and Southern Bite’s recipe for Old School Squash and Onions

  • Aug. 25: Celebrating the Federation’s Centennial with the Brady family of Perry County, Tuskegee Airmen Museum, Outstanding Young Farm Family finalists the Peeks of Limestone County, and Southern Bite’s recipe for Peanut Brittle, sponsored by the Alabama Peanut Producers Association
Quick Reads
In Memory