MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WTOK) - More than 1,300 farmers and guests attended the Alabama Farmers Federation's 96th Annual Meeting Dec. 3-4 in Montgomery.
The Sumter County Farmers Federation and Choctaw County Farmers Federation both received the Award for Excellence, recognizing counties excelling in five sections of the federation: organization, agricultural programs, governmental affairs, and the county’s Women’s Leadership and Young Farmers committees.
The Choctaw County Farmers Federation was represented by president, Leo Allen. Sumter County was represented by its president, Pat Buck.
Gov. Kay Ivey was the keynote speaker.
"Alabama's rural areas are not just about farming, agriculture or timberland; like may of you, I call parts of rural Alabama my home, and I'm sure proud of that," Ivey said. "I believe that the best government is the government that responds to the needs of the people. My cabinet, my staff and I want your input. Responsive government is our goal, and (the federation) is a key component of that effort."
In her remarks, Ivey said reducing the tax burden on American families is a priority, and she promised to "do more than give lip service to the needs of our rural Alabamians."
U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, was honored during the event’s opening session with the federation’s highest honor, the Service to Agriculture Award. Federation President Jimmy Parnell praised Aderholt as a tireless supporter of farmers and forest landowners since first being elected to Congress in 1996.
Aderholt said he understands how low commodity prices, the 2016 drought and over regulation have made farming difficult. While Aderholt admitted he can’t control prices or weather, he pledged to work with President Donald Trump to push back unnecessary regulations. He also promised to support a farm bill that addresses Alabama farmers’ concerns.
“Before we get to the farm bill, we have to pass a spending bill and make sure the tax reform bill gets to the President’s desk,” he said. “I am committed to working with everyone in this state and particularly the farmers. Thank you for honoring me with this award.”