February 22, 2024

Taste of Alabama: Good Food with Direct Discussion

The Alabama Farmers Federation Taste of Alabama legislative reception was Feb. 21 at its Montgomery home office. The event allowed farmers to have one-on-one conversations with decision-makers.

Farm-fresh products included items from:

  • Alabama Peanut Producers Association, Houston County
  • Bishop’s Bar-B-Q, Colbert County
  • Blue Ribbon Dairy, Elmore County
  • Consolidated Catfish, Greene County
  • Greene Prairie Shrimp, Greene County
  • HD Farm, Talladega County
  • Priester’s Pecans, Lowndes County
  • Rockin’ U Farm, Clay County
  • State Bee & Honey Producers
  • Venison Provisions, Macon County
Read more.

FarmPAC Meeting Held in Montgomery

The annual Alabama FarmPAC Trustees meeting was Feb. 21 in Montgomery. County Federation leaders, FarmPAC representatives and the Alabama Farmers Federation state board met to discuss policy. Attendees received legislative updates from Federation staff.

Federation Secretary/Treasurer Steve Dunn serves as FarmPAC chairman.

Donate to FarmPAC here.

Alabama Young Farmers Born to Succeed 

Hard work, resiliency and positivity. Those concepts encouraged 445 Young Farmers during the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Young Farmers Conference Feb. 9-11 in Gulf Shores. 

“In life, we face many obstacles, especially as farmers,” said keynote speaker Braxten Nielsen during the opening banquet. “There are many things out of our control, but the first thing you can control every day is your mindset.”

Nielsen, a former bareback rider, inspired the packed room of 18 to 35 year olds by sharing his story of overcoming a life-altering rodeo accident.

The conference also included educational sessions, receptions and a live auction that benefited the Alabama Farmers Agriculture Foundation. Generous Federation Young Farmers helped raise over $30,000 for agricultural literacy projects, scholarships and livestock shows.

Additionally, eight young farm families notched division wins in the Federation’s premier contest for agricultural producers. 

Three are also finalists in the Federation’s Outstanding Young Farm Family (OYFF) competition. They’ll compete for nearly $80,000 in prizes this summer. The OYFF contest is for young farmers ages 18-35 whose primary income is from production agriculture. Contestants completed an in-depth application charting Federation leadership, farm growth and community involvement. 

OYFF Division Winners:

  • Beef — Tyler and KoryAnn Watt, Emelle, Sumter County
  • Catfish — Heath and Christina Clary, Greensboro, Hale County
  • Fruit & Vegetable — Seth and Kaylee Hubert, New Market, Madison County
  • Hay & Forage — Whit and Amanda Lovelady, Alpine, Talladega County
  • Peanut — Garrett and Robin Dixon, Salem, Lee County
  • Poultry — Jacob and Misty Porter, Lineville, Clay County
  • Soybean — Tommy and Lauren Murray, Russellville, Franklin County
  • Wheat & Feed Grain — Drew and Lauren Wendland, Autaugaville, Autauga County

OYFF Finalists: 

  • Drew and Lauren Wendland, Autaugaville, Autauga County
  • Garrett and Robin Dixon, Salem, Lee County
  • Whit and Amanda Lovelady, Alpine, Talladega County

OYFF finalists will welcome a fresh slate of judges to their farms this summer, with the OYFF announced during the Federation’s Farm & Land Conference Aug. 3 in Montgomery.

Read more here.

Cotton and Soybean

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented on the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to allow farmers to use existing stocks of dicamba for the upcoming planting season. Click here to read more.


Submitted by Carla Hornady


Covington County's Ashley Kelley was elected to the Alabama Peanut Producers Association (APPA) board of directors at the APPA annual meeting Feb. 1. Kelley replaces Glen Walters. 

Submitted by Kaye Lynn Hataway of Alabama Peanut Producers Association


Shifts in consumer preferences, health considerations and pricing dynamics are factors contributing to the decline in pork consumption. The pork industry plays a significant role in the economy — impacting agriculture, food processing and retail sectors. Boosting pork consumption could stimulate economic growth and job creation within these industries. Click here to read more.

Submitted by Colton Christjohn

Census of Ag Reflects Reality of Tough Farm Economy

Recently released data is lending extra credence to Alabama farmers’ reality: Times are tough.

High input costs, low profit margins and farm consolidation helped shrink Alabama’s overall farm numbers from 2017 to 2022. Alabama lost 8% of farms in that period, according to U.S.Census of Agriculture data released Feb. 13.

The Yellowhammer State had 37,362 farms as of 2022. The decline follows a national trend. There are 1.9 million farms in the U.S., a 7% loss in just five years. In Alabama, 95% are still family farms or partnerships. Nationally, that number is 91.31%.

Meanwhile in Alabama, average farm size grew to 231 acres, up 20 acres. The number of smaller farms shrank, while larger operations — those with 2,000-plus acres — rose to 684. That’s a 22.58% increase.

The Census of Agriculture surveys U.S. farmers every five years. 2022 data was gathered on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic and devastating hurricanes Michael and Sally in 2018 and 2020, respectively. 

Read more here.

AFVGA Conference Highlights Greatness on the Gulf 

The Alabama Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association’s (AFVGA) annual conference and trade show brought almost 300 specialty crop farmers and industry leaders to Gulf Shores Feb. 14-16. 

The conference included:

  • Farm tours
  • Educational seminars
  • Workshops
  • Family luau
  • Silent auction
  • Trade show
  • AFVGA business session
  • Networking opportunities

The Jimmy Witt Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Savannah Busby. Busby is a Vestavia Hills native and graduate student at Auburn University. Dr. Chip East of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System received the AFVGA Service to Horticulture Award, while Bobby Boozer of Chilton County received the 2024 AFVGA Exceptional Achievement Award. 

Read more here.

Alabama FarmPAC Releases Primary Election Voter Guide

As the polls prepare to open Tuesday, March 5, for the 2024 election season, Alabama Farmers Federation members are encouraged to exercise their right to vote.

To help voters, the Federation’s Alabama FarmPAC endorses candidates who reflect conservative values.  

Alabama FarmPAC candidates are selected through a grassroots endorsement process that begins at the county level and is finalized by the board of directors. Every vote counts at the local, state and federal level to continue fighting for conservative values.

View the guide here.

Receive Federation Legislative Updates

The Alabama Farmers Federation Capitol Connection gives Federation members insight on the current Legislative Session. The publication is updated weekly during the session.

To receive the e-newsletter, email the Federation's Tanner Hood at THood@alfafarmers.org.

Ag Accolades

Autauga County Farmer Receives High Cotton Award

Read more.

With dedication to stewardship, quality production and leadership, along with a generational approach to making it all work, Andy Wendland is the 2024 Farm Press/The Cotton Foundation High Cotton Award winner for the Southeast.

Wendland operates Autauga Farming Co. in Autaugaville with his family.

AU Dean Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

Read more.

Auburn University College of Agriculture Dean and Director of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station Paul Patterson received the Southern Agricultural Economics Association Lifetime Achievement Award this month.

The award recognizes significant and enduring contributions in scholarship or public service to southern agricultural economics.

Extension’s Brodbeck Appointed to USDA Council

Read more.

Beau Brodbeck, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System associate director for field operations, has been appointed to the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Extension Agronomist Named Cotton Researcher of the Year

Read more here.

Alabama Cooperative Extension System Cotton Agronomist Steve Brown was named 2024 Cotton Researcher of the Year at the annual Conservation Systems Cotton and Rice Conference in Arkansas.

His role at Auburn is critical to the evaluation of cotton seed quality, seeding rates, planting patterns and other cotton-related issues. Brown oversees numerous on-farm trials and spends much of his time assisting producers in their fields.

Get Ag-Tive

Federation Forestry and Wildlife Seminar

The Alabama Farmers Federation's Forestry & Wildlife Seminar is March 8 from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Federation home office in Montgomery. There is no cost to attend, but registration is required. To register, call Deborah Long at (334) 613-4216 or email William Green at wmgreen@alfafarmers.org.

Click here for the agenda.

Federation Beef Cattle and Forage Summit

The Federation's Beef Cattle and Forage Summit is March 26 at the Federation home office from 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. in Montgomery.

The agenda is centered on nutrition, feeder calf health and a market outlook. Tickets are limited. The cost is $20 and includes lunch. Click here to register.

This Week on Alabama AgCast

Simply Southern TV Airs Season 10

Simply Southern TV turns 10 this year! Tune in to your local station to see new episodes air during the weekend or watch on RFD-TV on Wednesdays.

To find out where and when the show airs near you, visit simplysoutherntv.net and click “Where To Watch.”

Events & Deadlines

  • Feb. 28 - Calhoun County Beef Cattle Field Day hosted by the Calhoun County Young Farmers. The free event is located in Alexandria and open for anyone to attend. Click here to learn more.

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