February 12, 2018
By Marlee Moore
Over 600 farmers representing 16 commodities were in the Capital City Feb. 6-8 to soak up industry insights and elect leaders.
It was Baldwin County farmer Eric Street’s third year attending the Alabama Farmers Federation Commodity Organizational Meeting in Montgomery. The self-proclaimed information junkie said knowledge gleaned at the meeting helps improve his farm, primarily a row crop operation.
“We’re meeting new people, learning different technologies and finding out what’s happening in the world of farming,” said Street, whose farm with brother Toby includes cattle and pecan trees. “The more seasoned farmers I talk to, I always come away with good information. I can pick their brain about things like yields, newer technology, resistant weeds and fertility programs.”
Farmers heard from USDA’s Alabama Farm Service Agency Director David McCurdy, Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s Max Runge and USDA Alabama Rural Development Director Chris Beeker at lunch presentations.
The Federation’s Brian Hardin said the meeting is a great chance for boots-on-the-ground farmers to network with leaders and each other.
“Thanks to our great speakers in the sessions and at lunch, Alabama farmers are learning applicable information to increase yields and performance and the importance of diversification on their farms,” said Hardin, the Federation’s Governmental and Agricultural Programs Department director. “Our goal is for Alabama agriculture to prosper and grow, and this meeting is a way to help achieve that objective.”
Researchers and industry leaders made presentations to the Federation’s Bee & Honey; Beef; Catfish; Cotton; Dairy; Equine; Forestry; Greenhouse, Nursery & Sod; Hay & Forage; Horticulture; Meat Goat & Sheep; Pork; Poultry; Soybeans; Wheat & Feed Grains; and Wildlife Resources divisions. The Alabama TREASURE Forest Association board of directors met Wednesday afternoon, while the Alabama Peanut Producers Association annual meeting and trade show was in Dothan, Feb. 8.
Matt McMichen of Cherokee County received $10,000 during the Feb. 6 meeting for winning Alabama’s 100-Bushel Soybean Challenge. The Alabama Soybean Producers sponsored the contest, where McMichen set an official state record for soybean yield per acre.
State commodity committees elected to three-year terms during the meeting. Outgoing committee members were honored as well. View the full lists of new members and honorees at AlfaFarmers.org.