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In This Issue A Publication of the Alabama Farmers Federation APRIL 2012

One Year Later Tornadoes that devastated the state a year ago left wounds that continue to heal, but memories of that day are still vivid among the victims. • 16

Stormy March Areas in north Alabama were damaged by tornadoes that tore through the state March 2 leaving a path of destruction behind. • 5

Capital Ideas More than 100 Alabama Farmers Federation members met with federal leaders during the

ON THE COVER U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., left, and U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., right, join Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry Newby on the steps of the nation’s capitol during the Federation’s annual Washington Legislative Conference. Photo by Debra Davis

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annual Washington Legislative Conference. • 6

Outstanding Young Farmers Outstanding young farm families have been selected, and one lucky couple will win a new pickup truck and other prizes in December. • 18



President’s Message


Alabama Gardener


Country Kitchen

30 Classifieds

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Our career technology programs arlier this year, Yahoo stirred also must be equipped to prepare up some dust in farm country students for jobs in ag-related fields by listing agriculture, animal ranging from farm management science and horticulture as three of to mechanics. Meanwhile, the its top five “College Majors That growing complexity of production Are Useless.” agriculture will require farmers Within days, the Internet was to study chemistry, economics, flooded with blogs, editorials and meteorology, biology and even pubfact-based articles challenging lic relations. Yahoo’s conclusions. A Facebook In Alabama, we are blessed to page titled “I Studied Agriculture & I Have A Job” was even created and have three land grant universities whose graduates are improving the today has more than 5,000 “likes.” quality of life for millions of people The thousands of agriculture around the world. Students who professionals who took on the earn ag-related degrees from search-engine giant accuAuburn University, Alabama rately argued that its A&M University and Tuskeanalysis of the National gee University have a higher Association of Colleges job placement rate than many and Employers’ 2012 Job majors not on Yahoo’s list. Outlook study and DepartBut the college graduates ment of Labor statistics working in agriculture are was flawed. They pointed only part of the story. Agriout that the report focused Jerry Newby culture accounts for one in on large employers who aren’t likely to hire those with agri- every five jobs in Alabama and is culture degrees and that projections the lifeblood of many of our communities. on future employment needs were At the Alabama Farmers Federalimited to narrowly defined careers. tion, we recognize the importance Still, the fact that Yahoo ranked of training the next generation agriculture as the most useless of farmers, scientists and skilled degree and placed animal science technicians. That’s why we not and horticulture at numbers 4 and only provide college scholarships to 5, respectively, demonstrates a bigstudents studying agriculture and ger problem than one writer’s lazy forestry, but we also are working to research. increase funding for career technolIt reveals a disturbing lack of ogy through our representative on understanding by some Americans the State Department of Educaabout the importance of our food tion’s Career and Technical Eduand fiber system to the nation’s security and prosperity. In addition, cation Commission. Meanwhile, we continue to educate children it highlights the need to educate about the importance of agriculture the public about the world’s growing need for food and, consequently, through programs like Ag in the professionals to work in the agricul- Classroom and National Farm-City Week. ture field. Agriculture degrees are not Scientists predict that farmers will have to double food production “useless.” They are essential. For America to be able to feed by 2050 to feed an estimated world population of 9 billion people. That itself and others around the world, we must invest in agricultural edumeans our colleges and universication. While not all employers are ties will have to train agronomists, looking to hire a farm manager or nutritionists, engineers and a host animal scientist, there will always of other professionals who can be a job market for the type of develop better varieties, improved smart, resourceful leaders agriculgenetics and more advanced cropping systems. ture produces. n w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g


Debra Davis, Editor Mike Moody, Graphic Designer ALABAMA FARMERS FEDERATION Paul Pinyan, Executive Director Jeff Helms, Director of Communications FEDERATION OFFICERS Jerry Newby, President, Athens Hal Lee, Vice President/North, Hartselle Dean Wysner, Vice President/Central, Woodland Ricky Wiggins, Vice President/Southeast, Andalusia Jake Harper, Vice President/Southwest, Camden Steve Dunn, Secretary-Treasurer, Evergreen DIRECTORS Joe Dickerson, Lexington Ted Grantland, Somerville Waymon Buttram, Geraldine Darrel Haynes, Cullman John E. Walker III, Berry Dell Hill, Alpine Richard Edgar, Deatsville Dickie Odom, Boligee Garry Henry, Hope Hull Carl Sanders, Brundidge David Bitto, Elberta S. Steve Dunn, Samson Rita Garrett, Centre John Bitto, Elberta Neighbors (ISSN 0162-3974) is published monthly by the Alabama Farmers Federation, 2108 East South Boulevard, Montgomery, Alabama 36116 or (334) 288-3900. For information about member benefits of the Alabama Farmers Federation, visit the Web site Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and additional mailing offices. Printed in the U.S.A. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Neighbors, P.O. Box 11000, Montgomery, Alabama 36191-0001. ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE: Wendy McFarland, McFarland AdVantage, 133 Bridlewood Lane, Hope Hull, AL 36043. Phone: (334) 652-9080. Email: Classified ad and editorial inquiries should be directed to the editor at (334) 613-4410. ADVERTISING DISCLAIMER: Ad­vertise­­­­­­­ ments contained in Neighbors do not represent an endorsement by the magazine or the Alabama Farmers Federation. EDITORIAL MATTER from sources outside of the Alabama Farmers Federation is sometimes presented for the information and interest of our members. Such material may, or may not, coincide with official Alabama Farmers Federation policies. Publication of material does not necessarily imply its endorsement by the Alabama Farmers Federation. ADDRESS editorial, advertising and change of address correspondence to Neighbors, P.O. Box 11000, Montgomery, Alabama 36191-0001. A member of American Farm Bureau Federation APRIL 2012

March Tornadoes Tear Through Alabama

By Debra Davis


ornadoes tore through Alabama March 2, leaving behind an all too familiar path of destruction. Becky Hubert of New Market, just north of Huntsville, said she had been listening to weather Bentley Walls of Meridianville alerts that day and had a said his farm took a direct hit. “gut feeling” it was going to hit her house. “I just got in the truck and went to the storm cellar, and several people were down there,” she said. “When I got in, we shut the door, and it just hit. It was over in a matter of minutes.” When she walked out of the cellar, Hubert said she knew her intuition was right. The storm had hit her house. The storm cellar, located a short distance from her home, also provided shelter for many of her neighbors, some random motorists driving by and several members of TV news crews who were in the area. “I can’t say enough kind things about the people in this community,” Hubert said the next day. “They have worked and got their hands dirty and just jumped in to help. You didn’t even have to ask. The majority of the stuff has been cleaned up out of the yards.” Billy Harbin, also of New Market, recalled huddling in the hall of his brick ranch-style home during the storm with his invalid wife and her nurse. “There was a lot of noise before it got here, and then when the glass broke out of the windows, it really got loud,” he said. “Then the frequency of the sound changed, and it was scary as everything. But we survived.” Harbin said he didn’t call anyone for help, but volunteers began showing up only minutes after the storm. He said when he tried to call Alfa’s toll-free claims number, an Alfa official interrupted his call to

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Grain bins filled with corn were obliterated in the March 2 tornadoes.

see if he needed help. “I just don’t see how you can beat that,” he said of the company’s service. The Meridianville farm owned by Buddy Darwin, Bart Darwin and Bentley Walls was especially hard hit during the storm. Their equipment barn took a direct hit. Giant tractors were tossed like toys. Huge grain bins were obliterated. “We actually were able to see both tornadoes form and this one took a direct hit on our tractor shed, our combines and our storage barns and it pretty much devastated most of our equipment fleet,” Walls said. “We’re just thankful no one was hurt.” An overwhelming theme among the residents in the area was a sense of thankfulness. “When I came back to my house and saw all this destruction, I was just grateful that lives were saved,” Hubert said. “Structures and material things can be replaced; they make it every day.” n 5

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Federation Washington Legislative Conference Focuses On Farm Bill By Debra Davis and Melissa Martin


he farm bill, immigration and environmental issues dominated conversations between farmers and federal leaders during the Alabama Farmers Federation’s annual Washington Legislative Conference Feb. 28-March 2. While farmers expect the farm bill being crafted by Congress to contain cuts to agricultural spending, Sen. Pat Roberts, the ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, told Federation members they should remind legislators of the sacrifices and cuts that agriculture has already made in terms of the budget. “When you’re doing the cutting, you don’t have to do it with a Lizzie Borden meat ax,” said Roberts, a Kansas Republican. “You can use a scalpel, and then take a look at it and see what you’ve done and what you’ve done to policy. But a meat ax-approach is really very counterproductive.” Roberts also reminded farmers that their job is vital to national security. Farmers are the best at sharing their own stories, he said. “I am committed to spreading the word about the good work you all are doing, but the fact of the matter is there is no better spokesperson for agriculture than you, and we’re going to need your help,” Roberts said. “Show me a country that can’t sustain its food supply and I’ll show you a country in chaos. Just look at the Middle East if you don’t believe it’s true.” Other speakers included Washington attorney Gary Baise, who discussed the overreaching power of the Environmental Protection Agency,

Above, members of the Federation’s Farm Bill Committee meet with U.S. Rep. Martha Roby at the capitol. Left, U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions talks with Federation District Director Joe Dickerson of Lauderdale County. w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g


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and John Anderson, senior economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), who discussed the general budget proposals in the farm bill. Farmers also heard from speakers about AFBF public policy and conservation programs. Federation members enjoyed breakfast breakout sessions with their respective U.S. Representatives that included many one-on-one conversations about issues specific to their district. U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., serves on the House Agriculture Committee. She said meeting with farmers is important as the farm bill is being drafted. “I really am grateful for all of the time that our farmers have spent with my staff and with me making sure we understand all the issues so we can be the best advocates possible for them,” Roby said. “I encourage all of our farmers to continue to reach out to us to make sure we are equipped with all the information we need to make good decisions on the things that affect them.” U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., also serves on the House Agriculture Committee and thanked farmers for their visit. “During our visit I heard the concerns, challenges and issues facing the agriculture community in Alabama as well as priorities for the 2012 farm bill,” Sewell said. “Agriculture is a bipartisan issue. It plays a significant role in Alabama and the U.S. economy and is essential to ensuring that all Americans have access to healthy, quality and affordable food. Maintaining a strong and vibrant agricultural sector is not only critical to our economic recovery but is vital to the overall nutrition and well-being of families across this nation.” Roby said despite being from different political parties, she and Sewell put party differences aside and work together for what’s best for their state and the country. “We believe we have a responsibility to work together in order to make good decisions,” Roby said. APRIL 2012

Above, Federation President Jerry Newby, left, shares the podium with Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., as he addresses members who attended the annual Washington Legislative Conference. Left, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., talks to Houston County Board Member Doug Sinquefield and Houston County Farmers Federation President George Jeffcoat during a barbecue reception. Bottom left, Newby visits with U.S. Re. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., and Colbert County Farmers Federation President L.O. Bishop.

U.S. Sens. Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions, both Republicans from Alabama, joined Federation members for lunch, where they continued further dialogue about the nation’s deficit spending. Sessions said Americans are victims of a government that has refused to live within its means. “Forty cents of every dollar the U.S. spends is borrowed,” Sessions said. “It’s not the high cost of living, but the cost of living too high,” that has created the deficit. Federation State Board Member Darrel Haynes echoed politicians who emphasized the importance of farmers meeting face-to-face with policymakers, noting that while there are many obstacles farmers face that they have no control over, establishing a worthwhile relationship with their representatives shouldn’t be one of them. “There are 2 percent of us (farmers), and it becomes increasingly difficult to convince the other 98 percent that agriculture and agricultural programs are vitally important... not just to us and our existence, but to their existence as well,” said Haynes. “It’s always encouraging to know that we have people in Washington that share our passion for agriculture and the agricultural industry that we love.” n 7

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Alfa Announces New Term Life Insurance Policy

By Miranda Mattheis


lfa is making life simpler. A new life insurance policy, Rapid Issue Term Life, gives families affordable protection, and the application process is quick and easy. This new insurance policy differs from Alfa’s other available life policies because of the speed of which it can be issued. After a simple application process, most qualifying customers are able to secure coverage without a medical test, blood test or urinalysis. Families can secure life insurance protection in as few as four days. In addition, the policy allows for a period of conversion to a permanent plan of insurance. “This new product allows customers to select between 10-, 20- or 30-year terms, with volumes between $25,000 and $75,000,” said Allen Foster, vice president of Life Underwriting. “The application process is thorough, yet simple. This product is underwritten, but typically does not require a medical exam. One of the primary objectives of this product for Alfa Life is speed to issue. We’re confident that Alfa’s agents can help our customers find the plan that best fits their needs and budget.” According to industry statistics, 68 million adult Americans do not have life insurance. Among those who do, many do not have adequate coverage.

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“With Alfa’s new policy, customers can buy peace of mind for themselves and their families,” Foster said. “For just a few dollars a month, life insurance protection offers financial security for years to come.” Life insurance is one of the best gifts a family can receive, and Alfa offers a wide range of policies to suit many needs. Alfa’s local agents can conduct a financial needs analysis to determine the amount of coverage best suited for each family. For more information on Alfa’s new Rapid Issue Term Life insurance, call an Alfa agent or visit n 8

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APRIL 2012

By Melissa Martin


rowing up, Birmingham-native Kent Houlditch never expected his path in life would take him down a dirt road. When he looks back on things now, this year’s Catfish Farmer of the Year said he’s glad to be far removed from that city grit. “If I looked at the roads in my life, there wasn’t a dirt road around that was gonna put me in Greene County, and yet here I am today,” said 35-year-old Houlditch, who has managed Partlow Catfish, LLC in Boligee since 2003. “You never know where life’s gonna take you.” Situated on 1,100 acres, Partlow Catfish Farm produces channel catfish in 250 acres of water, with a small percentage of hybrid catfish production mixed in. The rest of the land is used as wildlife habitat. Though the farm began with only seven ponds and a few hundred acres in the mid-90s, it quickly grew to a successful operation, yielding more than 2 million pounds of catfish per year. It isn’t

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the success of the operation that Houlditch said was the reason he thinks he was selected as this year’s Catfish Farmer of the Year, however. “I think the other farmers out there understand the hard work I put into the farm every day, handling everything by myself without hiring anything out,” he said. “Either that, or they just ran out of options.” Houlditch is chairman of the Greene County Young Farmers Committee. He was selected as the nominee by the Alabama Catfish Producers, a division of the Alabama Farmers Federation, during the annual Commodity Producers Organizational Conference in February. The nomination was confirmed by the Catfish Farmers of America. As Alabama’s Catfish Farmer of the Year, Houlditch represented the state March 11-13 at the International Boston Seafood Show, the nation’s largest seafood event. He will also appear in promotional advertising for the Catfish Farmers 11

of America. While Houlditch is humbled by being recognized as this year’s honoree, he said the greatest reward has been doing what he loves and producing a healthy product. “As a producer, it’s important to me to make sure that what we’re putting on dinner tables is safe to eat and affordable,” he said. “I know first-hand what goes into a grain-fed catfish, and I know the quality of water our fish are raised in. At the end of the day, I can hang my hat knowing that I’m raising the best fish I can.” Houlditch and his wife, Amanda, have two children - Lorali, 9, and Roper, 5. Alabama has about 200 catfish farmers who grow fish in 19,200 acres of water. The state ranks second in the nation in catfish production. For more information on the Alabama Catfish Producers, visit n

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State Commodity Committees Elect New Leaders By Melissa Martin


labama Farmers Federation commodity leaders met in Birmingham Feb. 7-9 to elect leaders and discuss goals and issues for the year. Nearly 700 farmers representing 16 commodities attended the Annual Commodity Organizational Conference. The new director of Alabama’s Cooperative Extension System, Dr. Gary Lemme, spoke to farmers during the luncheon meeting Feb. 7-8. The Feb. 7 luncheon recognized Tim Whitley of Blount County for his service on the State Beef Committee. Bill Easterling of Barbour County and John Farrow of Tallapoosa County were honored for their service on the State Catfish Committee; and Charlie Speake of Russell County and Tim Mullek of Baldwin County were honored for their service on the State Cotton Committee. On Feb. 8, Laird Cole of Hale County and George Rankin of Marengo County were honored for their work on the State Dairy Committee. David Rogers of Cherokee County, Steve Bradley of Jefferson County and Don Allison of Winston County were honored for their service on the State Hay and Forage Committee. Jimmie Fidler of Baldwin County was honored for his work on the State Horticulture Committee, and Sam Abney of Autauga County and Eugene Blair of Chambers County were honored for their service on the State Meat Goat and Sheep Committee. On behalf of the State Meat Goat and Sheep Committee, Sam Abney presented an award at the end of the luncheon to National Legislative Programs Director Mitt Walker for his service. Walker served as director of the Meat Goat and Sheep Division from 2005 to 2012. During the Feb. 9 luncheon, Steve Thomas of Chambers County was honored for his service on the State Greenhouse Nursery and Sod w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

Rodolfo Alvarez, second from right, was among the speakers present at the annual Commodity Organizational Conference in Birmingham. Alvarez, CEO of Guest Worker Specialists of Phoenix, Ariz., spoke to conference attendees about guest worker options for farmers. From left are Blake Nichols and Tommy Odom of Mobile County, Alvarez and Mac Higginbotham, Federation director of the Bee & Honey, Horticulture and Greenhouse, Nursery and Sod Divisions.

Committee; Mike Dee of Pickens County was recognized for his service on the State Soybean Committee; and Shep Morris of Macon County and Wayne Woodham of Dale County were honored for their work on the State Wheat and Feed Grains Committee. State committee members elected during the meetings will serve three-year terms (unless otherwise noted). Newly elected members and officers are:
 Bee and Honey – Chairman Billy Mullins of Madison County; First Vice Chairman Joe Lambrecht, Elmore; Second Vice Chairman Lionel Evans, Limestone; Andy Webb, Washington, and Gerald Whitaker, Coffee. Beef – Chairman Clay Kennamer of Jackson County; First Vice Chairman Meador Jones, Marengo; Second Vice Chairman Mike Henry, Montgomery; Bill Lipscomb, Autauga; Keith Glover, Hale; Gerry Holmes, Morgan, and Wendell Wilson, Calhoun. 14

Catfish – Chairman Will Pearce of Dallas County; First Vice Chairman Butch Wilson, Dallas; Second Vice Chairman Paul Wheeler, Perry; Randy Hollingsworth, Hale; Sid Nelson, Sumter, and Harold Smith, Barbour.

 Cotton – Chairman Jimmy Miller of Blount County; First Vice Chairman Phil Vandiver, Madison; Second Vice Chairman Richard Edgar, Elmore; Tom Ingram, Lee; Thomas Kirkland, Dale; Joe Mullek, Baldwin, and Lance Whitehead, Fayette. Dairy – Chairman Will Gilmer of Lamar County; First Vice Chairman Joe Ching, Mobile; Second Vice Chairman Richie Traylor, Randolph; Wayne Bearden, Macon; Trey Martin, Coffee; James “Buck” Shand, Dallas, and James Waite, Covington. Equine – Chairman Jamie McConnell of Chilton County; First Vice Chairman Charles Kelly, Talladega; Second Vice Chairman Bonnie Shanholtzer, Autauga; Gean APRIL 2012

Harris, Cleburne; Cindy Fitts, Tuscaloosa, Jo Ann B. Laney, Russell, and Scotty Noles, Randolph. Forestry – Chairman John Dorrill of Pike County; First Vice Chairman Emory Mosley, Washington; John Farrow, Tallapoosa; Jake Harper, Wilcox; James Malone, Mobile, and Russ Runyan, Walker. Greenhouse, Nursery and Sod – Chairman Jason Powell of Chilton County; Bob Moore, Macon; Bethany O’Rear, Blount; Tommy Odom, Mobile, and Dennis Wiley, Lauderdale. Hay and Forage – Chairman Winford Parmer of Autauga County; First Vice Chairman Wade Hill, Lawrence; Second Vice Chairman Joe Potter, Colbert; Alvin Anderson, Jefferson; Roger Brumbeloe, Blount, and Stanley Newton, Chambers. Horticulture – Chairman Art Sessions of Mobile County; First Vice Chairman Frank Benford, Chambers; Todd Cassebaum, Baldwin; Joe Adams, Bullock; Jeremy

Calvert; Cullman, and Jordan Hamner, Lauderdale. Meat Goat and Sheep – Chairman Wess Hallman of Blount County; First Vice Chairman Drexel Johnson, Coffee; Second Vice Chairman Clay Mims, Chilton; Tammy Doughty, Pickens; Michael Letlow, Shelby, and Melvin Price, Henry. Pork – Chairman Mark Pennington of Calhoun County; First Vice Chairman Frank Morris, St. Clair; Second Vice Chairman Jon Petree, Franklin; Luther Bishop, Colbert; Greg Buttram, DeKalb, and Tim Donaldson, Cullman. Poultry – Chairman Joe Roberts of Fayette County; First Vice Chairman Dennis Maze, Blount; Second Vice Chairman Tom Duncan, Butler; Tommy Thompson, Covington; Jan Woodham, Dale, and Joe Murphy, Pike. Soybean – Chairman Jeff Webster of Madison County; First Vice Chairman Pat Buck, Sumter; Secretary/Treasurer Don Glenn,

Lawrence; Robert Acker, Cherokee; Johnny Bryant, Calhoun, and Annie Dee, Pickens. Wheat and Feed Grains – Chairman Stanley Walters of Marengo County; First Vice Chairman Andy Wendland, Autauga; Second Vice Chairman Dan Rhyne, Lowndes; Mack Hughes, Jackson, and Paul Looney, Limestone. Wildlife – Chairman Will Ainsworth of Marshall County; First Vice Chairman Dell Hill, Talladega; Grady Bobo Jr., Tuscaloosa; Jimmy Fetner, Randolph; Henry Fuqua, Bullock, and Randy Gilmore, Jefferson. Members of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association met and elected members Feb. 9 in Dothan. Those elected were Carl Sanders of Coffee County; Ed White, Henry; Thomas Murphy, Henry; Mark Kaiser, Baldwin, and Joel Sirmon, Baldwin. For more information on Alabama’s 17 commodities, visit n

Winford Parmer

Hay & Forage Committee Chairman

Autauga County farmer Winford Parmer likes to tell people he’s ‘in the food business.’ “I tell them, ‘every steak you eat, I try to make delicious and juicy so you’ll want to eat another one’,” said Parmer. Though primarily a cattleman, he also raises hay and corn for silage at the Win Parmer Ranch in Statesville. Experience in those areas made him a prime choice for chairman of the Federation’s Hay & Forage State Committee. Parmer, 64, said although he loves everything about being a farmer, it’s the spontaneity of not knowing what each day will bring that he looks forward to most. “There’s always something new to do,” he said. “It’s not a seven-to-five job.” Parmer and his wife, Joan, have been married 43 years and are members of First Baptist Church in Prattville. They have a son, Michael, and four grandchildren. APRIL 2012


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of optimism bloomed as residents banned together to rebuild their communities and put their lives back together. Today, traces of the storm remain, but rebuilding is in full swing. Alfa President Jerry Newby said the company’s advanced planning, conservative financial management and dedicated employees helped Alfa weather the worst storm in the state’s history. “We were able to pay more than 25,000 claims totaling more than $435 million,” Newby said. “Our claims adjusters, agents and customer service representatives began serving our policyholders’ needs even before the storms had passed. Although this was the largest storm in our history, Alfa was able to deliver on its promise to policyholders and, today, has a financial strength rating of ‘Excellent’ from A.M. Best.” Perhaps no community suffered more than the tiny town of Hackleburg in Marion County, population 1,500. A tattered American flag recovered by workers after the storm hangs on the wall at City Hall. “We had Alfa Agent Buddy Kelley stands nearly 200 homes outside the new Busy Bee Cafe under construction in downtown destroyed, and 32 Cullman. The new cafe is being businesses were rebuilt on the site where it was lost,” said Marion demolished by County Farmers the tornado Federation Board last year. Member Warren Williford. “It was total destruction almost everywhere you looked.” Williford lost three commercial buildings and another was damaged during the tornado outbreak. He’s back at work now, on a limited basis. Thankfully, his home was spared. He’s spent a lot of time since focusing on rebuilding the town, but the loss of life remains at the

By Debra Davis


uch of Alabama’s landscape changed forever following the tornadoes that ripped through the state April 27, 2011, leaving a wake of devastation and a hole in the hearts of many who lost loved ones. Despite the overwhelming destruction, a sense

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Below, left, Alabama Farmers Federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan, left, talks with Warren Williford of Hackleburg shortly after the tornado. At right, Williford stands among the concrete slabs that mark the tornado’s trail through the town.

forefront of his memory. “We lost 18 lives right here in Hackleburg – a total of 25 in our county,” he said. “If it hadn’t been for the weather forecasters, there’s no telling how many lives would have been lost.” Trees estimated at more than 200 years old that served as landmarks for the town are gone, and concrete slabs dot the landscape. In light of the storm, Hackleburg is starting anew. The medical center has reopened, a pharmacy is being built, and plans for Hackleburg School are finalized. Town officials hope for a grocery store to replace the Piggly Wiggly that was obliterated. “In one way, this is an opportunity,” Williford said. “The Wrangler Distribution Center that was destroyed is being rebuilt, and instead of 150 employees, the new automated plant will have 200 employees. Hackleburg is coming back bigger and better than ever.” Kenneth Neal, a cattleman and former president of the Cullman County Farmers Federation, shares Williford’s optimism. The storm destroyed

his home, totaled his SUV and heavily damaged his truck. In December, he moved into a new house built only a few feet from where his home was leveled. Neal survived the storm huddled alone in his basement. Some of his personal items were discovered hundreds of miles away, including an old canceled check recovered in Chattanooga, Tenn., and a feed bill found in Knoxville. Neal said the storm changed more than just material things in his life. “If I had to pick what has changed the most about me, it’s that I appreciate life more,” he said. “Be thankful for what you have, and try to make life as good as you can. I found out that I am really blessed.” Alfa Agent Buddy Kelley of Cullman said he drove by Neal’s home moments before the storm hit and almost stopped there to take shelter. Instead, he drove on to his office in Cullman, barely missing the storm. “I missed the tornado by about five minutes,” Kelley said. “No matter how prepared you are, you just can’t be ready for something of this magnitude. I have to take my hat off to Alfa’s adjusters – they went to work immediately and began helping our policyholders.” Kelley said the storm taught him not to take things for granted, including the weather. “I was never a person who was afraid of storms,” he said, “but I have a much higher respect for them now.” n

Above, left, Kenneth Neal of Cullman County walks from the rubble of his home that took a direct hit in the April 27, 2011 tornado. Left, he and Federation Area Organization Director Matthew Durdin stand outside his new home built only a few feet from his former home site. APRIL 2012


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Outstanding Young Farm Families Honored In Mobile

By Jeff Helms


oung farmers representing 10 agricultural commodities were honored as division winners in the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Outstanding Young Farm Family (OYFF) competition Feb. 25 during the Young Farmers Leadership Conference in Mobile. Six finalists also were selected from the group to compete for the title of overall OYFF at the Federation’s 91st annual meeting to be held this December in Montgomery. The winner will receive a 2013 Chevrolet or GMC pickup truck, courtesy of Alfa Insurance and Alabama Farmers Federation; a John Deere Gator XUV, courtesy of Alabama Farm Credit and Alabama Ag FIN


The Morrisons Peanuts w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g AlabamaFarmersFed



The Armbresters Wheat & Feed Grains FIN

Credit; lease of a John Deere tracCounty, Greenhouse, Nursery and tor, courtesy of SunSouth, TriGreen Sod Division; Matt and Mandy Equipment and Snead Ag dealers; Armbrester of Talladega County, and a personal computer system Wheat and Feed Grains Division; from Valcom/CTS Wireless. Paul and Vicki Morrison of Dale Alabama’s top young farm famCounty, Peanut Division; Lance ily will represent the state in the and Stephanie Miller of Blount American Farm Bureau Federation’s County, Cotton Division; Josh Achievement Award competition at and Amanda Simpson of Monroe its January 2013 County, Beef annual meeting Division; Daniel CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO AT in Nashville. and Jessica White The OYFF of Randolph commodity County, Meat division winners Goat and Sheep were: Ben and Division; Chase and Noelle BradMiranda Looney ley of Monroe of Limestone County, Poultry County, SoyDivision; Jamie bean Division; and Amy Griffin of Shelby County, Jon and Amy Hegeman of Calhoun

The Bradleys Poultry AL

The Simpsons Beef 18


The Hegemans (John Bitto, right) Greenhouse, Nursery & Sod FIN





Jeff Whitaker (John Bitto, left) Hay & Forage APRIL 2012

Equine Division; and Jeff Whitaker of DeKalb County, Hay and Forage Division. The six finalists that will compete for the overall OYFF title are the Looneys, the Hegemans, the Armbresters, the Morrisons, the Millers and the Simpsons. In addition to the OYFF competition, the Young Farmers Leadership Conference included educational workshops and inspirational seminars on leadership, estate planning, farm management and agricultural advocacy. The opening keynote speaker was Retired U.S. Army Chaplain Jeff Struecker. An Iowa native with more than 22 years of active federal service, Struecker served for 10 years in the 75th Ranger Regiment. Other speakers included agricultural education specialist Betty Wolanyck, who spoke on agricultural advocacy. Custom Ag Solutions hosted a workshop on risk management and crop insurance; and Brooke Poague, an attorney with Wetumpka-based firm Bailey and Poague, led a workshop on wills and estate planning. n





The Looneys Soybean

The Millers Cotton

The Whites Meat Goat & Sheep

The Griffins Equine



Alabama Agriculture Hall of Honor Five Alabama agriculture leaders were inducted into the Alabama Agriculture Hall of Honor Feb. 23 following the Auburn University Ag Alumni Association Annual Meeting. The inductees were Ben Bowden for production agriculture, Herman McElrath for agribusiness and Rudy Schmittou for education. Also honored were Pioneer Award winners George Henry Blake Jr. and William M. Warren. From left are Auburn Ag Alumni President Bill Gilley, Schmittou, McElrath, Bowden, and AU College of Agriculture Associate Dean Paul Patterson.

APRIL 2012


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Alabama Farmers Host ‘Taste Of Alabama’ Legislative Reception


he Alabama Farmers Federation hosted its annual “Taste of Alabama” legislative reception Feb. 15, giving state legislators, constitutional officers and judges a sampling of what state farmers have to offer The reception also gave Federation leaders from across the state a chance to visit with legislators and other elected officials and discuss agricultural issues that affect rural Alabama. About 100 farmers, representing every commodity produced in the state, attended the event. “The legislative reception is one of the most popular events of the year” said Federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan. “This event not only gives our governmental leaders a chance to see the role that agriculture plays in our state, but it also gives our farmers a chance to meet with their elected officials.”

Pinyan added that it’s good for farmers to build personal relationships with lawmakers and decision-makers. “During an election year, especially one in which there are so many critical issues facing agriculture, it’s essential that lawmakers remain mindful of the agricultural community,” said Pinyan. This year’s gathering drew 16 state senators, 71 state representatives and a host of other elected officials, who mingled with Federation leaders and state board members.

From left, Montgomery County farmers Denise and Mike Henry serve delicious Alabama-raised beef tenderloin to Alabama Farmers Federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan; State Rep. Chad Fincher, R-Semmes, who is chairman of the House Agriculture and Forestry Committee; and Federation President Jerry Newby.

Others in attendance included Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan, Attorney General Luther Strange, State Auditor Sam Shaw and Public Service Commissioner Twinkle Cavanaugh, who commented on the reception’s benefits. “I’ve been coming to this event for years,” said Cavanaugh. “I love the food, but better than that, I love the company. It’s important for us to get to know the farmers and learn what they do for Alabama.” 
Judges in attendance included Supreme Court Chief Justice

From left, Federation District Director Darrel Haynes of Cullman County, Alabama Appeals Court Justice Tommy Bryan, Lydia Haynes of Cullman County and Laslie Hall of Montgomery County at the Taste of Alabama Legislative Reception.

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Charles Malone; Justices Mike Bolin, Jim Main, Greg Shaw and Kelli Wise; Civil Appeals Court Judge Tommy Bryan; and Criminal Appeals Court Judges Mike Joiner, Beth Kellum and Mary Windom and husband, Steve. During the evening, guests moved about the room, sampling beef tenderloin, pork barbecue, grits from Joe and Patty Lambrecht’s Oakview Farms Granary in Wetumpka and shrimp from Dickie Odom of Greene County. Honey was provided by the Alabama Beekeepers Association, along with grilled peanut butter sandwiches from the Alabama Peanut Producers Association. In addition to catfish, fried chicken, turnip greens, fried green tomatoes, sweet potato fries, ice cream and fruit cobblers, attendees sampled pecans, goat and wildlife dishes. A video of the event is available online through the Federation’s Facebook and YouTube pages. To view the footage, visit YouTube. com/AlabamaFarmersFed. n

APRIL 2012


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Auburn’s New Aquaculture, Fisheries Institute Aims For Job Creation By Jamie Creamer


labama catfish farmers have been battling a flood of foreign imports and soaring input costs, but a new research and outreach institute within the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station may help them rise above those obstacles. Focused on stimulating economic growth in the Southeast by expanding the region’s domestic aquatic and fisheries industries, the Aquaculture and Fisheries Business Institute is under the leadership of Auburn University’s Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures. The center’s mission is to find efficient solutions to the production, economic, quality, logistical and marketing problems standing between the region’s aquatic enterprises— including freshwater, saltwater and recreational fisheries—and growth. Alabama Farmers Federation Catfish Division Director Rick Oates said it’s important to look at any way farmers can improve efficiency and reduce

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costs. “Alabama ranks second in the nation in terms of catfish sales and has an economic impact of $223 million to our state each year,” Oates said. “However, increased imports and the high cost of feed and fuel are making it increasingly difficult for our farmers to remain profitable.” The institute will bring together experts from within the College of Agriculture and five other colleges and schools on campus, as well as from other universities and the private sector, to tackle the needs and explore the opportunities that exist for aquaculture and fisheries businesses statewide and regionally. The institute initially will be led by three fisheries and allied aquacultures faculty members at Auburn: Professor Emeritus John Jensen and associate professors and Extension specialists Jesse Chappell and Terry Hanson. They will serve as part-time co-directors until a permanent part-time director is found. In essence, the new entity is

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an expansion of “Pond to Plate,” a project the College of Agriculture’s fisheries and allied aquacultures department, working with the Auburn Technical Assistance Center in the College of Business, initiated in 2009 to improve the efficiency and profitability of Alabama’s catfish industry by reducing waste at every level of the value stream using a management approach that has been labeled “lean manufacturing.” “Lean manufacturing is about eliminating waste to reduce costs, improve quality and deliver to consumers the products they want at competitive prices, all with minimal environmental impact,” Jensen said. The Alabama Ag Experiment Station is funding the institute for its first three years, during which the three co-directors will focus on securing backing from private clients, commodity groups, stakeholders and state and federal research and education programs. The institute ultimately will be supported 100 percent by extramural dollars. n

APRIL 2012 APRIL 2012

Jamie McConnell

Equine Committee Chairman

Jamie McConnell of Chilton County says being a farmer is about more than just working hard — it’s about enjoying what Mother Nature provides. McConnell, 32, grew up riding horses and rodeoing. Today, he’s chairman of the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Equine State Committee. As a manager at Sunshine Farms, he raises horses, cattle, timber, peaches, tomatoes and strawberries. A graduate of Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in Animal and Dairy Sciences, McConnell said some of his best days on the farm are spent showing kids how things work. “It’s great having them come out and see where their food comes from,” he said. McConnell and his wife, Davidica, are members of Bethsalem Baptist Church. They have three children, twins Colt and Claire, 8, and Cullen James, 1.

FIRST SOUTH FARM CREDIT PAYS $9 MILLION CASH PATRONAGE Ridgeland, MS – In April, member-borrowers of First South Farm Credit will receive patronage refund checks for 2011, according to Roger F. Chappell, CEO. The amount of patronage declared for borrowers of First South Farm Credit will total $20 million from 2011 earnings. The cash portion of the refund to be paid in April will total $9 million, or approximately 13 percent of the interest that accrued on their loans in 2011. The remainder will be placed in allocated capital accounts for future revolvement. “First South Farm Credit had another successful year in 2011. We are pleased to be able to share our success with our borrowers by putting our profits in their pockets,” said Ray Makamson, Chairman of the First South board of directors.“This is the 17th consecutive year we’ve paid a patronage refund. Over that period of time, First South has declared patronage totaling over $209 million to be paid to its member-borrowers through patronage refunds and retirements of allocated surplus.” APRIL 2012

“When we distribute our profits to our borrowers it reduces their effective cost of borrowing,” Chappell stated, “and it proves there are distinct financial benefits in doing business on a cooperative basis. We give you a competitive interest rate up front, then return a portion of our profits back to you through the patronage program.” First South Farm Credit is a farmer-owned cooperative providing short, intermediate and long-term financing and related services to full and part-time farmers, agricultural-related businesses and rural residents in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. First South serves 5,000 members with loans outstanding totaling over $1.4 billion through its network of over 40 branch offices in its three state territory.


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Egg Heads Research Project Cracks The Competition By Mary Johnson


any elementary school students only think about eggs as a breakfast staple or an item of pursuit during Easter. But students on the Jones Valley Elementary School robotics team in Huntsville have had eggs on their brains since last September. That’s when the group started a research project focused on preventing egg contamination. Teacher and team coach Kristy Dunn said the students were extremely dedicated to the research, so much so that the group has deemed itself “Egg Heads.” “I’m here for the meetings, and I guide them,” Dunn said. “But they do all the work. It’s great to have these kids who really get into it and Egg Heads team coach Kristy Dunn helps team co-captain Daniel Ceci set up the robot. go the extra mile. That’s why our team has always been successful.” would lower eggs’ internal temperature to less than 45 The Egg Heads’ research focused degrees, without harming the egg, at a cost of just 2-5 on finding a way to cool eggs faster, which could lead cents per dozen. to fewer cases of salmonella contamination. After In December, the team took their research to the months of study and research, the team proposed addregional competition of the FIRST LEGO League ing a dry ice (CO2) chamber to a conveyor belt system. Robotics Challenge and won the Champion’s Award, According to the Egg Heads’ findings, such an addition

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APRIL 2012

first place overall, out of 17 teams. Along with the research project, groups were judged on a robotics challenge and a group activity. At the state level, the Egg Heads brought home second place in research out of 35 teams. As part of the research process, the students took a field trip to Warren Farms in Union Grove to see egg processing first-hand. Egg Heads co-captain and fifth-grader Daniel Ceci said the experience taught him about agriculture in general. “We learned that agriculture does a lot of things and goes all around the world,” Ceci said. “It is very important that nothing has bacteria in it because it could make people sick.” Ceci hopes to continue as a member of the robotics team and looks forward to the future challenges. Although Ceci and other students show extraordinary creativity, his career goal may be somewhat more typical of most boys his age. When asked if the project inspired him to become a poultry farmer, he said his career inspirations are in a different field. “I kinda want to play football…for Alabama,” he said. As part of the competition requirements, the Egg Heads shared their research with various elected officials and research groups. To view the group’s skit, search for JV Food Factor Presentation on YouTube. n

Ceci prepares to send the robot on a “mission.”

Members Save On Talladega Superspeedway Discounts


• Fastest Race Speed: 188.354 mph – Mark Martin on May 10, 1997 • Most Wins: 10 – Dale Earnhardt • The grandstands seating capacity is 143,231. The 212-acre all-reserved infield holds thousands more. • The O.V. Hill grandstand (where AFF members will get discounted seats) is named after the father of Alabama Farmers Federation State Board Member Dell Hill. n

ederation members, start your engines! A new partnership with Talladega Superspeedway now provides discounted race tickets at the world’s largest superspeedway during the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Discounted tickets can be purchased online for the May 6 Aaron’s 499 and the Good Sam Club 500 set for Oct. 7. The seats will be in the O.V. Hill grandstand, and members save $10 per ticket off the normal price. To receive the discounted tickets, members will need to purchase tickets through the following website: “For many Alabamians, the bi-annual trip to Talladega for race weekend is a family tradition now generations deep,” said Marc Pearson, Alabama Farmers Federation director of membership. “We are excited to offer our members a discount this year to attend these exhilarating races. There’s simply nothing like experiencing a race at this track, and we’re very appreciative of Talladega Superspeedway for offering this benefit to our members.” Quick facts about Talladega Superspeedway: • 2.66 mile tri-oval with turns banked at 33 degrees at highest point • Built in 1969, Talladega Superspeedway property covers approximately 3,000 acres. APRIL 2012

Order early to ensure advance ticket pricing. Supplies are limited and based upon availability. Ticket prices are subject to change. 25

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By Lois Chaplin


ome of today’s most talked about tomatoes have names like Cherokee Purple, Black Krim, Pink Brandywine, Chocolate Cherry and Golden Jubilee. The names hint one thing: a color other than bright red. Gardeners especially like their rich, deep, old-fashioned flavor. That’s because most are heirlooms; they’ve not been hybridized for great yield, disease tolerance, nematode resistance and other qualities that often trade off some flavor. The exceptional and unadulterated flavor of many heirlooms comes at a price: reduced productivity. A number of gardeners have expressed disappointment with heirlooms, noting “they just didn’t do like the other tomatoes.” They didn’t bear well or didn’t withstand diseases. Alabama’s humid climate is not always kind to tomatoes. Thankfully, with good garden practices, the heirloom fruit is usually ready before the plants fade out. However, to be happy with heirlooms, gardeners should adjust performance expectations. These aren’t hybrids, so there will be less fruit to harvest. Growers can compensate by setting out more plants. In addition to heirlooms, it’s important to add hybrids to a garden to help ensure a steady supply of fruit. Most gardeners plant tried-and-true varieties and add something new each year to expand their horizons. Sun Gold and Sun Sugar are among the popular new hybrid cherry tomatoes. They are exceptionally sweet and productive. (Traditional hybrids are not the muchread-about GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. Traditional hybrids are created by simple cross-pollination.) Well-known hybrids include very popular and good tasting tomatoes such as Better Boy, Big Beef (big slicers) and Sweet 100 (a cherry). So what about the heirlooms mentioned earlier? “Black” tomatoes are purplish to mahogany red, not really black. These often appear near the top of the list for flavor in contests and surveys. Chocolate Cherry is a dark, flavorful cherry type. In the Deep South, Cherokee Purple is a popular variety believed to have been passed down from the Cherokee Indians in Tennessee. It holds up to produce delicious, big, purplish-red fruit. Black Prince and Black Krim, both mahogany colored, originated in the former Soviet Bloc. Smaller than Cherokee Purple, they’re likely to bear slightly more

_______________________________________ Lois Chaplin is an accomplished gardener and author. Her work appears here courtesy of Alabama Farmers Cooperative.



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fruit than larger types. How do you succeed with heirlooms? Keep the foliage dry to minimize disease by giving them lots of space and cages for upright support and good air circulation. Water the plants using a soaker hose to reduce how often the leaves get wet and water to keep the soil consistently moist. At planting, mulch the area with clean straw to prevent soil from splashing up on the plants in a rain. Remove lower leaves as plants grow to create a 1-foot space between the plant and the ground. If soil-borne problems such as wilts and nematodes develop, plant them in large containers or a deep, raised bed filled with bagged potting soil. (In other words, keep roots out of the ground.) Finally, plant deeply (in a pot or the ground), burying two-thirds of the plant, so it can develop a good, strong root system. Fertilize, but don’t overdo it. In a normal year, this should be all that’s needed to get plenty of tomatoes. n


APRIL 2012

Keeping your loved ones and your pond environment safe!




Today’s lesson: The A B C’s of pond health

Aeration Bacteria Colorant


APRIL 2012

27 Call 888-986-9995

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By Kellie Henderson

1 (9-inch) pi e crust 4 tablespoon s flour 1 cup sugar 2 tablespoon s cocoa 3 eggs, sepa rated 2 tablespoon s butter 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 cups milk 1 pinch crea m of tartar


eye is their great-grandson, Briar, who spends a few days a week with Delores and elores Mount of Crenshaw Oliver. County says she grew up “He’s not quite two (years helping her mother and old) so he tires us out somesisters in the kitchen, so cooking In top of a double boil times, but it is such a pleasure has always been a part of her life. flour, suga er, combin r, cocoa, eg e to keep our little Briar-bug,” “It was a different era then. g yolks, bu vanilla and tter, milk. Cook she says. We just did things together, so and stir un thickened. til Meanwhile When she isn’t in the kitchwe girls were cleaning up and , bake pie c according to rust package dir en, Delores can often be found setting out things for mama all ections for 1-crust pie a until light quilting, either at home with the time as she cooked, and brown. Pou late mixtu r chocore into cru Briar playing in the buttons gradually you helped more and st. Heat oven to 325 F. In nearby or with her quilting club, more,” she says of her early combine eg a mixing b g whites an owl whose sewing projects are often kitchen memories. dc Beat until stiff, then sp ream of tartar. sold to benefit local volunteer “We loved to make cookies read over c filling. Bro hocolate wn in oven fire departments. and French fries especially,” . “We try to stay busy and not she recalls. sit around too much,” she adds. “And now my husband together. Even with her on-the-go helps me with the cooking some,” “I’m so thankful for schedule, Delores still says makDelores says. my life with my wonderful family ing the time to cook for her chilShe and husband Oliver have and friends. I thank God every day dren and grandchildren is imporbeen married 50 years, and she says for every one of them,” she adds. tant. This month, Delores shares she is grateful for the life they have The current apple of her family’s


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APRIL 2012

some of their favorite recipes, like her Chicken and Cornbread Dressing. “I know a lot of folks only have dressing a few times a year, and that seems a shame to me. It is so good, and my family loves it, so I make it a lot. Mamas like to cook what their families like to eat,” she says.

a fork. Add shortening, cheese and buttermilk and combine with fork. Drop biscuits from a spoon onto a well-greased baking sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes at 350 F. Meanwhile, melt butter with garlic powder over medium heat. Brush warm biscuits with garlic butter.

Lime Jello Salad 1 (6-ounce) package lime Jello 1 (12-ounce) carton Cool Whip 1 (16-ounce) container cottage cheese 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained

Carrot Raisin Salad 6 large carrots, chopped fine 1 ½ cups raisins 1 apple, chopped (optional) 2 tablespoons sugar ½ cup mayonnaise

Sugared Pecans 1/3 cup butter ¼ cup sugar ½ teaspoon cinnamon ¼ teaspoon nutmeg 1 pound pecans, halves or pieces

In a small saucepan, melt butter, stir in sugar and spices and mix well. Pour over pecans in a large roasting pan and mix well. Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes at 275 F. Stir every 5 minutes during baking time. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Cheese Biscuits 2 cups self-rising flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon sugar 1/3 cup shortening ¾ cup grated cheddar cheese 1 cup buttermilk 1/2 cup butter 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

In a mixing bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and sugar with

Syrup Tea Cakes

½ cup sugar

1 cup golden breakfast syrup 1 egg 1½ teaspoons ginger ½ cup lard or butter 1 ½ teaspoons soda 2 ½ cups flour ½ teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients well. Turn out onto a floured surface and roll to a 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch rounds. Place cookies 1 ½ inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 F for 10 to 15 minutes or until cookies are puffed and appear dry around edges. Cooled cookies will be crisp. Note: Delores says her mother-in-law always put a pat of butter on these cookies warm from the oven, and she says that’s still her favorite way to eat them.

In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients. Cover bowl and refrigerate until set.

In a salad bowl, stir together all ingredients and refrigerate until serving.

well. Add water until pitchers are near full. Refrigerate until serving. Keeps well when made in advance.

Quick and Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken and Cornbread Dressing

4 chicken breasts boiled until tender, cut into small pieces 2 (15-ounce) cans Veg-all 2 (10¾-ounce) cans cream of chicken soup 1 cup flour 1 cup milk ½ cup butter

2 cups self-rising corn meal 2 teaspoons baking powder 1½ cups buttermilk 6 eggs 3 tablespoons oil ½ sleeve saltine crackers, broken in pieces 1 (10¾-ounce) can cream of chicken soup Additional canned chicken broth, if desired 5 chicken breasts, cooked until tender and cut into pieces (reserve broth) 1 stick butter, cut into small pieces

Coat a 9-x13-inch baking dish with non-stick spray. Put all ingredients except butter directly in casserole dish and combine. Dot mixture with butter. Bake 20 to 25 minutes at 350 F until golden brown and bubbly. Delicious Fruit Punch 4 packages lemon-lime Kool-aid 2 cups sugar 2 cups hot water 1 (46-ounce) can pineapple juice 1 (46-ounce) can orange juice

Fill 2 one-gallon pitchers with 2 packs Kool-aid and 1 cup sugar each. Add 1 cup hot water to each pitcher, and stir to dissolve. Halve juices between pitchers and stir

Mix cornmeal and next four ingredients together, put in greased and heated cast iron skillet and bake at 425 F until lightly browned. Break cornbread into small pieces in a 9-x13-inch casserole dish coated with non-stick spray. Add crackers and condensed soup. Stir in broth to reach desired consistency, and add cooked chicken to mixture. Top with butter. Place in oven on middle rack and bake at 425 F until browned. Serve with cranberry sauce if desired. n

Editor’s Note: Recipes published in the “Country Kitchen” are not kitchen-tested prior to publication. Visit for more recipes. APRIL 2012


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VA C AT I O N R E N TA L S Pigeon Forge, TN — Cabins, peaceful,

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APRIL 2012

April 2012 Neighbors  

April, 2012 issue of Neighbors magazine; an official magazine of Alabama Farmers Federation

April 2012 Neighbors  

April, 2012 issue of Neighbors magazine; an official magazine of Alabama Farmers Federation