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Annual Farm-City Banquet recognizes local agriculture

About 275 were in attendance Nov. 27 as the Franklin County Extension celebrated farmers and their hard work at the annual Franklin County Farm-City Banquet.

This year’s theme was “Keep Alabama Growing.” Franklin County Extension director Katernia Cole-Coffey said it is important to always remember the men and women who work hard every day to provide for the community.

“I appreciate and I am most grateful for the hard work and sacrifices that are made by farmers and their families in order to sustain our communities with food,” Cole-Coffey said. “To everyone who has a role in making sure Americans have access to a healthy and abundant supply of food, fiber and natural resources, thank you.”

The banquet recognized and awarded some of the top players in agriculture in Franklin County, as well as poster winners from Pre-K through sixth grade and essay winners from seventh through ninth grade.

The Citizen of the Year award went to Bob Rogers for being a charter member of the Russellville Rotary Club, being a founding member of the Industrial Development Authority Board and transforming lives through church mission work.

Chaley Bullington, Mikey Camp, Cade Hall, Madison McKee, Maddie Pearson, Emily Swinney, Cash Thomas and Colt Thomas all received recognition for their outstanding commitment to agriculture education and projects.

The Farm Family of the Year award went to Bob and Jeanee Maggerise. The family has five broiler houses with Pilgrim’s Pride and runs a cow-calf operation with 150 brood cows.

The Century Heritage Farm Recognition went to Galss Brockway Farms. The farm is involved in the production of beef cattle, row crops, hay and more.

The Business of the Year award went to Mar-Jac Poultry. Mar-Jac Poultry has 70 employees at the feed mill to produce necessary feed to supply all Mar-Jac operations in Alabama and 150 poultry growers across the state, as well as some in northeast Mississippi.

Farmer of the Year went to Toby Gray for his efforts to grow healthier poultry and provide high-quality chicken and beef.

The Agriculture Lifetime Achievement Award went to Thomas Wayne Murray for his years of farming and continued production of cotton, corn, peanuts, soybeans and wheat.

In the Pre-K through third grade division of the poster contest, Red Bay’s Bela Terry took first, Tharptown’s Brooklyn Lamkin took second, Phil Campbell’s Saxton Oliver placed third and Red Bay’s Allie Ozbirn received an honorable mention.

In the fourth through sixth grade division, Belgreen’s Lindsay Everett placed first, Red Bay’s Ryder Page came in second, Russellville’s Britle Moshavger placed third and Vina’s Maddox Hoffman and Belgreen’s Alex Gonzalez both received honorable mention.

Phil Campbell’s Colt Thomas won first place in the essay contest.