Alabama Young Farmers vie for top titles
Alabama Young Farmers secured wins, prizes and experience advocating for agriculture during contests at the Alabama Farmers Federation Farm & Land Expo Aug. 12 in Mobile. Families from Limestone and Winston counties took home wins for Outstanding Young Farm Family and Excellence in Agriculture competition, respectively, while four Discussion Meet finalists were announced – one from Franklin County.
During the conference, 22 Young Farmers competed in Discussion Meet. The four finalists are Miller Bonds of Limestone County, Caleb Beason of Franklin County, Gavin Rankins of Chambers County and Greyson Lauderdale of Limestone County.
Discussion Meet simulates a committee meeting where participants discuss solutions to agricultural issues. The Final Four will compete during the Federation’s annual meeting in December.
The contest simulates a committee meeting where participants discuss practical solutions to pressing agricultural issues. Discussion Meet is for Federation members ages 18-35. Final Four members receive a Solo Stove from the Federation and will compete in the final round of competition during the December annual meeting.
The Discussion Meet winner receives a four-wheeler from First South Farm Credit and represents Alabama during the national Achievement Award contest in January in Utah. Local Young Farmers compete during Farm & Land Expo, named for discussion meet final four. The contests are for 18-35-year-old members.
Brady and Anna Peek of Limestone County were named Alabama’s OYFF. The Peeks raise row crops in Limestone and Lauderdale counties and have one son, Ridge. Since beginning their farm in 2010, the Peeks have increased yields and efficiency; expanded to include custom farming and a trucking business; and diversified into raising flowers and sweet corn they sell to local customers. Brady is the State Soybean Committee chair and chaired the State Young Farmers Committee in 2021.
As the OYFF winner, they receive more than $80,000 in prizes, including $40,000 toward a new Ford truck, compliments of Alfa Insurance; a John Deere 825i Gator sponsored by Alabama Farm Credit and Alabama Ag Credit; and a year’s lease on a John Deere tractor, thanks to John Deere, TriGreen and SunSouth.
First and second runners-up in the OYFF competition receive prize packages from new OYFF sponsors, Kubota and Corteva Agriscience.
Whit and Amanda Lovelady of Talladega County were named first runner-up. They receive use of a Kubota M series tractor, courtesy of Kubota. The Loveladys raise cattle and hay.
Mitchell and Rebecca Henry of Lawrence County were named second runner-up and will receive a prize package from Corteva Agriscience. The Henrys raise cattle and hay.
First and second runners-up also receive $500 from perennial sponsors Alabama Ag Credit and Alabama Farm Credit.
OYFF interviews were held in March, resulting in the top finalists. Judges visited all three farms in July to select the champion. Families are judged on farm growth, community involvement and Federation and American Farm Bureau Federation leadership. OYFF competitors receive the majority of their income from production agriculture.
Excellence in Agriculture winner Zack Brannon of Winston County received a zero-turn Grasshopper lawn mower, also sponsored by Corteva Agriscience. This competition allows participants to showcase the role agriculture plays in their lives and present solutions on agricultural issues. The first runner-up was Josh and Bailey Williams of Tallapoosa County, with Jake and Sheena Gay of Randolph County as second runner-up.