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franklin county times

Farm-City Banquet announces award winners

The annual Franklin County Farm-City Awards Banquet, presented by the Franklin County Extension and the Farm-City Planning Committee, took place Nov. 14 at the A.W. Todd Centre in Russellville.

“The Farm-City Banquet is an excellent way to celebrate agriculture in Franklin County, and we look forward to it every year,” explained Franklin County Extension Coordinator Katernia Cole Coffey.

Cole Coffey gave the overview and welcoming remarks, as well as presented the awards. Rep. Jamie Kiel led the Pledge of Allegiance. The Rev. Charles Dale gave the invocation. Dinner and the award presentation followed.

LIFETIME AGRICULTURAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

Charles Lesley received a Lifetime Agricultural Achievement Award.

A Franklin County resident for 58 years, Lesley has been in the farming industry for 53 years. He was owner and operator of L&L Propane for 47 years. He has been a member of Franklin West Gideons for 20-plus years and is a current member of the Franklin County Cattlemen’s Association.

From 1969-1995, he owned cattle and row cropped. Since 1995, he has solely owned cattle. At the height of his career, he owned 125 head of cattle.

Barry Pounders also received a Lifetime Agricultural Achievement Award.

Aside from college, Pounders has spent his life living on the family farm. He grew up driving tractors there and on neighboring farms.

When not on the farm, he is working at Phil Campbell Rescue Squad or the St. Paul Relay for Life. He also oversees the Franklin County Cattlemen’s Association scholarships each year.

Pounders and his family were also named a Farm Family of the Year.

There have been seven generations living on the Pounders farm; currently there are three generations. Over the years, the farm has produced timber, row crops, hay, cattle and chickens. The farm operation currently runs two herds of cattle, timber and hay.

Family involvement in the operation includes owners Barry and Joyce Pounders, day-to-day manager Andy Pounders, Michael and Kristan Pounders on operations and Elizabeth Pounders in public relations. They are all members of the Franklin County Cattlemen’s Association.

FARMER OF THE YEAR AWARD

Jeff Glass received the Farmer of the Year award.

Glass was recognized for his efforts improving cattle-working by installing catch pens, creating a better equipment repair environment by constructing a shop and extra equipment storage and implementing rotational grazing by cross-fencing pastures.

He has volunteered with the community, installed new playground equipment for the Cerebral Palsy Center in Tuscumbia and serves on various church committees. He has held board of director seats with local businesses and other organizations.

He produces beef cattle and hay.

AGRI-TOURISM AWARD

Crescent Moon Acres of Phil Campbell received the Agri-Tourism Award.

Five years ago, Tanya Capalla bought 22 acres in Phil Campbell. She and her son, Blake Mason, grow a large selection of produce. From tomatoes to eggs and muscadines from the vineyard, they have a wide variety to choose from. All proceeds made from the farm will be used for construction of a greenhouse in the near future.

“We are honored to be recognized for this award, and we welcome everyone to visit us at the farm,” said Capalla.

FARM FAMILY OF THE YEAR

Tommy Murray and family received a Farm Family of the Year Award.

Murray started farming in 2009. He had 25 acres of cotton and 25 acres of corn. He currently farms 600 acres, where he produces cotton, peanuts, corn and soybeans. He grows his crops using the no-till method to prevent erosion and to maintain soil nutrients.

He participates in NRCS programs to preserve land and promote good practices.

He is married to Lauren Murray, and they have a daughter named Annie. Lauren helps in the field during planting and harvest.

Tommy is a member of the Franklin County Young Farmers federation, where he serves as chairman.

“We were surprised to find out we were being recognized,” said Lauren. “We’re excited and honored to receive this recognition.”

AGRICULTURAL EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR

Jarod Massey, of Red Bay High School, was named Agricultural Educator of the Year. He received the award in recognition for his outstanding professionalism, dedication and teaching skills.

“I feel blessed to be able to do what I do for a living, and I’m honored to receive this recognition,” said Massey.

COOPERATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD

Jimmy Byars received the 2022 Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District Cooperator of the Year Award.

Byars has been farming for more than 60 years. He farms 400 acres and is the owner of 60 cows. He has been in the poultry business for 35 years. He runs a broiler production farm and also has spike roosters.

CITIZEN OF THE YEAR AWARD

Robert “Bob” Seeley received the Citizen of the Year award.

Born March 11, 1944, in Erie, Penn., he lived in Ripley, N.Y., until he was 10 then moved to Punta Gouda, Fla. After graduating from high school in Florida, he moved to Florence and attended college at Florence State on a baseball scholarship. This is where he met his wife, Patsy. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in education in 1967 and later earned a master’s degree in education in 1974.

After graduating from college, the couple moved to Russellville, where they began their teaching careers. They raised three children. He taught junior high math and coached baseball and football at Russellville High School from October 1967 to May 1971.

In September 1971 he started teaching math and computer science at Bradshaw High School. At Bradshaw, he coached football for four years and baseball for approximately 12 years. He also administered the boys soccer program for 15 years and the girls program for 10 years. His team won Bradshaw’s first 5A State Baseball Championship in 1974.

Seeley also officiated high school football and basketball for 20 years.

Seeley has five grandchildren. He raised his family in Russellville, where he was active in the West Elementary PTA, coached Dixie Youth Baseball, was Scout leader in Cub Scouts and treasurer for Russellville Band Parents.

As a member of the Russellville Civitan Club since 2001, he has put in countless hours helping to plan numerous fundraisers and raising funds for causes such as the American Cancer Society through Relay for Life, Russellville Civitan Scholarship Program, Watermelon Festival and the annual chicken stew fundraiser.

He has also volunteered for Meals on Wheels in delivering meals to those in need in the Russellville community. He has been the treasurer for the past 10 years and served on the Board of Directors.

After 30-plus years of teaching, he is enjoying his retirement years traveling, which has included driving more than 10,000 miles on a trip to Alaska and back and several trips out west. He also enjoys spending time with his family and mowing his yard.

YOUTH CONTESTS

Farm-City contest winners were announced in the categories of coloring, poster and essayd.

Coloring, Pre-K:

  • First Place: Ximena Antonio Luna, West Elementary, Teacher Chelsey Puckett and Mary Elizabeth Peters.
  • Second Place: Abigail Pacheco Figueroa, West Elementary, Teacher Libby Scruggs.
  • Third Place: Macy Ergle, West Elementary, Teacher Libby Scruggs.

Poster, Kindergarten through Third Grade:

  • First Place: Freya Cantrell, Belgreen, Teacher Danielle Wilson.
  • Second Place: Cooper Madden, Phil Campbell, Teacher Melissa Stancil.
  • Third Place: Ana Lucas Pascual, Tharptown, Teacher Tracy Elgin.
  • Honorable Mention: Mayko Tomas, Phil Campbell, Teacher Meaghan Reed.

Poster, Fourth through Sixth Grade:

  • First Place: Heidi Madden, Phil Campbell, Teacher Tracy Swinney.
  • Second Place: Silvia Hernandez Pascual, Tharptown, Teacher Kristy Smith.
  • Third Place: Kathleen Sagastume, Tharptown, Teacher Kristy Smith.
  • Honorable Mention: Monserrat Alvarado, Belgreen, Teacher Ina Taylor.
  • Honorable Mention: Alison Perez Marmolejo, Tharptown, Teacher Kristy Smith.
  • Honorable Mention: Scarlet Vela, Tharptown, Teacher Kristy Smith.

Essay, Seventh through Ninth Grade:

  • First Place: Lindsey Everett, Belgreen, Teacher Jody Humphres.

Essay, 10th through 12th Grade:

  • First Place: Justin Wade, Phil Campbell, Teacher Caleb Beason.
  • Second Place: Peyton Bailey, Phil Campbell, Teacher Caleb Beason.
  • Third Place: Jonah Walker, Phil Campbell, Teacher Caleb Beason.
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