Page 1

ALABAMA’S ‘OIL’ FIELDS Sunflower, Canola Crops Offer Farmers Alternative OYFF Division Winners Launch Annual Series

Alfa Insurance. ®

Saving money has never been easier. Times are tough. Saving money shouldn’t be. With discounted auto rates and superior claims service, AlfaTM always puts you first. Contact a local agent today to find out how we can protect your car and your budget.

Auto • Home • Life

Neighbors A Publication of the Alabama Farmers Federation



Alabama’s ‘Oil’ Fields More and more Alabama farmers are discovering that there’s oil in those fields as they experiment with such oilseed crops as sunflowers and canola. • 16

Young Farmers Series The first in a series of Outstanding Young Farm Family profiles begins with a look at four commodity division winners. • 5

Leadership Learning It was all about leadership when more than 100 students gathered at the 4-H Center in

ON THE COVER Sunny Days Ahead — Yellow flowers, such as those in Ben Looney’s fields in Limestone County, are becoming more prevalent in Alabama’s farmscape as farmers give sunflower and canola a try as alternative crops. Photo By Darryal Ray NEIGHBORS • AUGUST 2010

Columbiana for the annual Alfa Youth Leadership Conference. • 14


President’s Message



Federation Digest

The Alabama TREASURE Forest Association’s


Ag Briefs

annual conference and tour is set for


Alabama Gardener

Sept. 17-18 in Troy. • 20


Country Kitchen




w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

President’s Message F

grant universities. Not only was or almost 150 years land grant the Federation founded at Duncan colleges and universities have Hall on the Auburn campus, but fueled the growth of American agriculture through research, teach- its mission to improve the quality of life for rural Alabamians closely ing and outreach. Today, despite an mirrors the role of these schools. ever-decreasing number of farmers, Over the years, this relationthese institutions continue to play a vital role in ensuring a safe, abun- ship has led to the sponsorship of numerous projects. In addition, dant and affordable food supply. county Federations and the state That’s why the Alabama Farmorganization each year provide ers Federation remains committed scholarships to about 100 deserving to making sure Alabama’s land students — most of whom attend grant universities have the resourcland grant colleges. es they need to not only serve the The Federation also works to state’s farmers, but also to train secure millions of dollars in state future agricultural leaders. and federal funding each year Alabama is the only for agricultural research at state in the nation blessed the three schools. This year, with three land grant state spending included $6.2 schools: Auburn Unimillion for the Alabama Agriversity, Alabama A&M cultural Land Grant Alliance, University and Tuskegee an 11 percent increase over University. Together, last year. The Alliance, which these institutions have unites the research faculty of a legacy of providing Auburn, Tuskegee and A&M research and training to Jerry Newby for the betterment of agrihelp agriculture prosper. culture, was one of the few budget From sweet potatoes and peaitems that was not cut. nuts to catfish and meat goats, the Meanwhile, farmers continue application of science from these to invest their own money in the schools has touched every comwork of land grant universities. modity produced in the state. And In the past four years, six of the as we look to the future, our land producer funded-checkoff programs grant laboratories also are poised to administered by the Federation provide the answers to America’s have invested more than $2.7 milquestions about energy, medicine lion in research, not to mention and conservation. sponsoring dozens of student activiKey to the sustained viabilties, field days and alumni events. ity of these universities will be Unfortunately, some believe their leaders. Among those are Dr. land grant universities are no lonAndrew Hugine Jr., who recently completed his first year as president ger relevant in today’s high-tech, service-oriented society. In reality, of Alabama A&M; Dr. Charlotte P. agricultural research, teaching and Morris, who was tapped this summer to serve as interim president of outreach are needed as much today as ever. Not only must we find Tuskegee, and Dr. William Batchways to feed a growing world popuelor, who began his tenure as dean lation, we must also inspire a new of Auburn’s College of Agriculture generation of agricultural profeslast month. sionals while continuing to conFederation leaders were honserve natural resources and develop ored to be among the stakeholders new uses for farm products. who interviewed candidates for Here in Alabama, we are ready Auburn’s dean, and we are excited to meet those challenges, thanks to about the opportunity of working Auburn University, Alabama A&M with all three schools to better University and Tuskegee Universerve Alabama’s farmers and consity. We look forward to working sumers. with the leaders at these schools to Throughout its history, the help Alabama farmers be more Alabama Farmers Federation has successful. n been closely tied to the state’s land w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g



_________________________________________ Darryal Ray, Editor Debra Davis, Associate Editor Mike Moody, Graphic Designer ALABAMA FARMERS FEDERATION Paul Pinyan, Executive Director Jeff Helms, Director of Communications FEDERATION OFFICERS Jerry A. 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 Steve Tate, Huntsville Donnie Garrett, Centre Darrel Haynes, Cullman John E. Walker III, Berry Marshall Prickett, Wellington Richard Edgar, Deatsville Pat Buck, Emelle Garry Henry, Hope Hull Carl Sanders, Brundidge David Bitto, Elberta Sammy Williams, Columbia Gloria Jeffcoat, Gordon Jeff Maze, Horton Neighbors (ISSN 0162-3974) is published monthly by the Alabama Farmers Federation, 2108 East South Boulevard, Montgomery, Alabama 36116. 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: Paul Hurst, Hurst & Associates, Inc., P.O. Box 6011, Vernon Hills, IL 60061. Phone: 800397-8908; Fax: (847) 438-8105. 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 361910001. A member of American Farm Bureau Federation NEIGHBORS • AUGUST 2010

Sponsored each year by the Alabama Farmers Federation, the Outstanding Young Farm Family Awards Program recognizes young farmers between the ages of 17 and 35 who do an outstanding job in farm, home and community activities. Division winners representing 10 commodities were selected in February. Of those, six finalists will compete for the title of overall Outstanding Young Farm Family for 2010. The winner, who will be named at the Federation’s 89th Annual Meeting in December, will receive a John Deere Gator, courtesy of Alabama Ag Credit, a personal computer package courtesy of ValCom/CCS Wireless, $500 cash from Dodge, use of a new vehicle and other prizes. The winner also will go on to compete at the national level for a new Dodge Ram 3500. This month, Neighbors profiles four commodity division winners. Look for features on the six finalists in the coming months. By Melissa Martin

Justin Hill



ecessity, it is said, is the mother of invention. But for Justin Hill of Calhoun County, invention was a way to keep his horses healthy. That’s because Hill has learned how easily horses purchased on the open market can become sick. To combat the problem, Hill developed a water tank that “mimicks natural running water.” The invention worked so well that the 26-year-old received a patent on the device. It’s not the only time that Hill, winner of the Equine Division of the 2010 Outstanding Young Farm Family competition, has flexed his creative muscle. He also devised a solution for another common problem on horse farms. “We had a problem with an excess amount of horse muck and shavings,” he explained. “So I’ve worked out a deal with a local landscaping


With more than six years as a farm operator and through his position as events coordinator for the Coosa Valley Riding Club, that sense of being grounded is stronger than ever. “I would like to help young people with a passion for horses achieve their goals in the equine industry,” explained Hill. “I’m also trying to get a 4-H Horse Club established in Calhoun County.”

Hill says horses ‘keep you grounded.’

company to trade the shavings and muck for gravel.” Finding solutions is just part of the job description for Hill, whose daily duties include those of trainer, leader, designer, breeder and negotiator. “I like to raise horses,” said Hill. “I feel that they keep you grounded.” 5

• Last year, four horses from Hill’s breeding program took four competitors to the National Team Roping Finals in their first year of full-time competition. • Hill currently has two stallions that he uses to breed 13 American Quarter Horse mares.

w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

The Doles

Meat Goat & Sheep


rowing up on a beef and poultry farm, Mike Dole was well-versed in hard work. But when he started his 55-acre meat goat farm in May 2009, he discovered he had more than a thing or two to learn. “I decided I needed to talk to other farmers about their operations,” said Mike who, along with wife Teresa, son Henry (3) and daughters Katie Sue (8) and Evelyn (1), won the Meat Goat and Sheep Division of the 2010 Outstanding Young Farm Family competition. “To have a successful operation, you need to know all you can about running The Doles have more than 50 goats. a business. Before ever buying Herdsman program and attended an my first goat, I studied everything I artificial insemination class. could.” As the number of meat goat proTo enhance his education, Mike ducers increases in the Southeast, completed the Master Meat Goat Mike recognizes that marketing

The Wilsons

• Long-term plans include adding hair sheep for meat production. • Dole established a breeding herd of Kiko, Spanish and Boer meat goats. • Dole plans to expand his pastures to accommodate a marketable herd to help meet the current demand for meat goats.



f there’s any one lesson that Talladega County soybean farmer Jeremy Wilson has learned in his five years as a farm operator, it’s this — rain or shine, get the most out of every acre. To look at the Wilsons’ farm today, most would The Wilsons just rented another 2,700 acres. never guess that the first years of their farming venture were captured the Soybean Division of so harsh. After suffering through the 2010 Outstanding Young Farm sparse yields and parched soil durFamily competition. ing the first two years of operation, Why soybeans? “Soybeans are the Wilsons’ corn and soybean a relatively cheap crop to grow, yields have increased the last two which minimizes risk, but are years. Their strong-willed nature also one of the most profitable,” has proven fruitful as Jeremy, wife explains Jeremy. They also “have Stephanie and daughter Kinsley (6) multiple uses, which ensures a w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

will be key to their success. To help achieve his goal, he has attended marketing seminars and is licensed by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and USDA to handle meat and poultry to wholesale and retail stores. “I want to lead my commodity in the direction for it to grow and prosper in all aspects of the industry,” he said.


competitive price, and can be used for anything from fuel and glue to plastic and foam for car seats.” Since a farmer’s work is never done, planning for the future is essential. “I just rented another 2,700 acres, which brings on many changes and obstacles,” said Jeremy. “We will probably add another 60,000 bushels of storage or more to keep the combine running rather than have the trucks sitting in line at the elevator.”

• To keep up with advancements in agricultural technology, the Wilsons have purchased two oil extruders and a fuel maker to make their own biodiesel from soybeans. • The Wilsons’ farm includes 2,800 acres of corn and 3,700 acres of soybeans. • In the last three years, 90 percent of land has been soil-tested. The Wilsons plan to become more efficient with their fertilizer use, banding it underneath the rows. NEIGHBORS • AUGUST 2010

The Smiths



ith more than 15 years’ experience as a farm operator, Calhoun County farmer Matthew Smith has seen his share of good and bad harvests. And when his corn crop was devastated by a severe drought in 2007, he was never more excited about being a cotton man. After planting the first seeds of cotton in 2002, Matthew knew this venture would be time consuming. But as any good farmer knows, the rewards reaped from hard work often outweigh the long hours in the sun. To help make 2010 a fruitful year for his family and their farm, Matthew has added new sprayers, planters and a cotton picker to their operation. Of the acreage he is currently responsible for, 260 acres are planted with Bt cotton. “A major innovation for the cotton industry is the better Bt cotton varieties available today,” said Matthew, who along

with wife Stacey and sons Colby (11) and Micheal (8), won the Cotton Division of the Outstanding Young Farm Family competition. In addition to his cotton, Matthew has 225 acres in corn, 165 in wheat and another 250 The Smith family is now looking to in soybeans, and is consider- increase their feed business. ing expanding his operation in the near future. “We may pick up new crops,” he said. “Maybe canola or sunflowers. We’re also looking to increase our feed business by adding horse feed or hog feed to our production, in addition to the cattle feed we currently sell.” n

• Due to the rising cost of fertilizer, the Smiths built their own fertilizer shed so they can buy in advance and store it on their farm. • Long-range plans call for increasing the farm’s corn and soybean acreage.

While waiting for a sales representative at a Birmingham automobile dealership, Lou Ann Allen of Alpine remembered reading about Members Automobile Buying Service (MABS), a free benefit of membership in the Alabama Farmers Federation. Frustrated, Mrs. Allen called MABS from the dealer’s showroom floor, and got the ball rolling. Within days, MABS found her the same vehicle she wanted — a 2009 Honda Odyssey van — at an Atlanta dealership for $2,175.95 LESS than what the Birmingham dealership wanted. She didn’t even have to drive over to pick up the van because the dealer delivered it to their home for a small $100 fee.

Lou Ann Allen

“MABS couldn’t have been nicer!” she says. “I’m very pleased!” — Lou Ann Allen, Alpine, Ala.

For more information about Members Automobile Buying Service call 1-800-849-4811 and provide your Federation membership number or visit To learn about other great Federation benefits, visit w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g



A New Chapter in a Long History The Land Bank — it’s a familiar name around rural Alabama, a name that people have come to know and trust. When you need a rural land loan, people turn to the Land Bank for financing. Now the Federal Land Bank Associations of Alabama have new names — Alabama Farm Credit and Alabama Ag Credit. You might wonder why, after more than 90 years, we’d mess with a good thing. The answer is simple: to make

it better. We’re changing our names because we are expanding our line of loan products to include operating loans, equipment loans and lines of credit. Our customers can now get all their rural and agricultural loans in one place, from the lenders they already know and trust. We’re excited about all the new options we can offer new and existing customers. Contact us today to ask how we can help you.

Alabama Farm Credit

formerly Federal Land Bank Association of North Alabama


Alabama Ag Credit

formerly Federal Land Bank Association of South Alabama


Federation Digest Obituaries Dr. Leonard E. Ensminger, who served as vice president of the Lee County Farmers Federation for 36 years, died June 5. He was 97. Ensminger was head of Auburn University’s Department of Agronomy and Soils from 1966 until his retirement in 1978. Following retirement, he focused on raising polled Hereford cattle and was active in the Auburn University Agricultural Alumni Association, the Lee County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Lee County Extension Service. He served as chairman of the Lee County Farmers Federation Beef Committee for 42 years and was a member of the Auburn United Methodist Church. He was preceded in death by his wife, Isabel, and two sons. Survivors include daughter-in-law, Mrs. Linda B. Ensminger; four grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. n

County Billboard The Pike County Farmers Federation recently purchased a billboard along U.S. Highway 231 north of Troy that promotes agriculture and the county Federation to passing motorists. Pictured in front of the sign are, from left, front row, County Young Farmers Chairman James Jordan and Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman June Flowers; back row, Vice President Frank Talbot, Secretary-Treasurer Don Wambles, Board Member Steve Stroud, President John Dorrill and Area Organization Director David Cole.

Forsythe Promoted To Chief Financial Officer For Alfa Insurance


lfa Insurance has announced the promotion of Ralph Forsythe to chief financial officer. Forsythe, who previously served as senior vice president and chief accounting officer, will direct the financial strategy of the Alfa companies including oversight of accounting, tax, financial planning and reporting functions. In announcing the promotion, Alfa Executive Vice President of Operations Lee Ellis commended Forsythe on his ability to effectively manage the complex, day-to-day financial operations of the company while working to position Alfa for future growth. w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

“Ralph not only brings a wealth of accounting and financial expertise to this position, but he also recently provided leadership Forsythe for the team that developed Alfa’s strategic vision for the next decade,” Ellis said. “This vision capitalizes on our company’s strength as a leader in personal service and helps us identify ways we can better serve our policyholders.” Forsythe said he appreciates the opportunity to build on Alfa’s position as one of the top 75 insurance 10

carriers in the United States, in terms of financial strength. “I am excited to have the opportunity to serve Alfa as its chief financial officer,” said Forsythe. “We have a great company with a strong focus on providing exceptional service to our customers. I look forward to providing leadership for our company in maintaining and growing our financial strength over the coming years.” Forsythe earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in business administration from Middle Tennessee State University. He and wife Barbara have two children, daughter Jocelyn Turnipseed and son Taylor. n NEIGHBORS • AUGUST 2010

County Federation Annual Meetings DATE & TIME






Aug. 2 — 7 p.m.


Dale County AgPlex, 202 Highway 123 South, Ozark

Aug. 18 — 7 p.m.


Ag Center, Autaugaville

Aug. 19 — 6:30 p.m.


Aug. 2 — 4 p.m.


Holiday Inn Express Downtown, Huntsville

Frank J. Green Building, Oneonta (BBQ served at 6 p.m.)

Aug. 19 — 6:30 p.m.


Aug. 2 — 6:30 p.m.


Gates Restaurant, Aliceville

Greenway Sportsman’s Club, 2621 Highway 223, Union Springs

Aug. 19 — 6:30 p.m.


Aug. 3 — 6 p.m.


Ag Center, 175 Ag Science Drive, Brewton

Underwood-Petersville Senior Center, Florence

*Aug. 19 — 7 p.m.


Aug. 3 — 7 p.m.


Wiregrass Research & Experiment Center, 167 E. Highway 134, Headland

Alfa Service Center, 1208 South Brundidge Street, Troy

Aug. 19 — 6:30 p.m.


Aug. 3 — 6:30 p.m.


Federation Office, 23625 John T. Reid Parkway, Scottsboro

Alfa Service Center, 314 East Battle St., Talladega

Aug. 19 — 7 p.m.


Aug. 3 — 6:30 p.m.


Lawrence County Ag Center, Moulton

Leroy McAbee Center, 3801 Loop Road, Tuscaloosa

Aug. 20 — 6:30 p.m.


Aug. 9 — 6:30 p.m.


Russellville Hotel & Suites, Highway 43, Russellville

Alabama Veterans Museum & Archives, 100 Pryor St., Athens

Aug. 20 — 6:30 p.m.


Hamilton Recreation Center, Hamilton

Aug. 9 — 7 p.m.

St. Clair

Alfa Service Center, 32775 U.S. Highway 231, Ashville

Aug. 21 — 5:30 p.m.


Wedowee Kiwanis Park, Antique Tractor Building

Aug. 9 — 7 p.m.


Federation Building, 54 Court Street, Chatom

Aug. 23 — 6:30 p.m.


Alfa Office, Butler

Aug. 10 — 6:30 p.m.


Federation Office, Heflin

Aug. 23 — 7 p.m.


Oakwood Lodge, 13725 Brooklyn Road, Andalusia

Aug. 10 — 6:30 p.m.


Alfa Service Center, 1038 Ross Clark Circle, Dothan

Aug. 24 — 6:30 p.m.


Federation Office, 148 S. Jackson Street, Grove Hill

Aug. 10 — 6:30 p.m.


Lamar County High School Cafeteria, Vernon

Aug. 24 — 6 p.m.


David Burt Building, 102 Liberty Street, Evergreen

Aug. 10 — 6:30 p.m.


Ag Center, 334 Agriculture Drive, Monroeville

Aug. 24 — 7 p.m.


Federation Office, 1333 Blount Avenue, Guntersville

Aug. 12 — 7 p.m.


Federation Building, 21332 Highway 59, Robertsdale

Aug. 24 — 6:30 p.m.


First Baptist Church, Dadeville

Aug. 12 — 7 p.m.


Clayton Dime Store Restaurant, 10 Eufaula Ave., Clayton

Aug. 27 — 10 a.m.


Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham

Aug. 12 — 6 p.m.


Federation Office, 1535 Pelham Road South, Jacksonville

Aug. 30 — 7 p.m.


Federation/Alfa Building, 301 1st Street N., Clanton

Aug. 12 — 6:30 p.m.


Old School Building, Nixburg Road & County Road 18, Rockford

Aug. 30 — 6:30 p.m.


Northwest Shoals Community College, Muscle Shoals

Aug. 12 — 7 p.m.


Cullman County Farmers Federation office, Main Avenue, Cullman

Aug. 31 — 7 p.m.


Walker County Federation Office, 903 Airport Road South, Jasper

Aug. 12 — 7 p.m.


Geneva County Farm Center, 2765 Highway 52, Geneva

Sept. 2 — 1 p.m.


Alfa Office, Greensboro

Aug. 13 — 6:30 p.m.


Health & Rehab/Activity Center, 877 Cedar Bluff Road, Centre

Sept. 7 — 11 a.m.


Alfa Office, Marion

Aug. 13 — 6:30 p.m.


Hartselle Civic Center, Hartselle

Sept. 9 — 6:30 p.m.


E.L. Turner Park, Highway 331 South, Luverne

Aug. 14 — 6 p.m.


Chambers County Federation Building/Alfa Building, Lafayette

Sept. 9 — 7 p.m.


Traders & Farmers Bank, Double Springs

Aug. 16 — 6 p.m.


Pioneer Electric, Conference Room, Greenville

Sept. 14 — 6:30 p.m.


Alfa Service Center, Selma

Aug. 16 — 6:30 p.m.


Federation Office, 125 Broad Street, Gadsden

Sept. 21 — 6:30 p.m.


Alfa Service Center, Linden

Aug. 17 — 6:30 p.m.


Alfa Service Center, 346 McCurdy Ave. South, Rainsville

Oct. 7 — ­ 6 p.m.


Sportman Lodge, Tyler

*Note: Pike County Annual Meeting was rescheduled from July 1 date. w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g



Youth Learn Leadership At Annual Conference

State Young Farmers Committee Member Daniel Hall of Randolph County (far left, front row) discusses the conference agenda with Amber Stallworth of Clarke County and Colby Mansmann of Crenshaw County and, back row, Chelsey Dunn of Dale County and chaperone Ashley Peak of Geneva County.

By Darryal Ray


ore than 100 high school students from 27 counties gathered at the Alabama 4-H Center in Columbiana June 11-13 to learn the characteristics of leadership during the annual Alabama Farmers Federation’s Youth Leadership Conference. The conference, with “A Sign of Leadership” as its theme, was geared toward developing leadership qualities in youth. “The main thing we try to accomplish at this conference is to give them a good idea about agriculture, what it is and why it’s important,” said Federation Young Farmers Director Brandon Moore. “But it’s also a general leadership conference, and we try to teach these kids that regardless of what career field they choose ­— if they choose agriculture or law or medicine — that there are institutions out there who rely on a steady flow of emerging young leaders to take leadership positions in their industries.” Jeff Maze, chairman of the Federation’s State Young Farmers Committee, echoed Moore’s assessment, calling the conference “an excellent w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

opportunity no matter what field you go into.” “Farmers would like for these young folks to pursue ag as their career, but all industries need young people to come on and replace those who retire,” Maze said. “The workshops that we do here are competitive but they really sharpen these kids’ communications and people skills. I think it is sometimes perceived that it’s ‘just for ag,’ but it’s really not. Many of our delegates have never been on a farm.” The annual conference, aimed at high school sophomores and juniors, is sponsored by the Federation’s Young Farmers Division. Delegates are selected by their county Federations and county Young Farmers committees to attend based on previous academic and extra-curricular achievements. The Geneva County Farmers Federation sent the largest contingent with eight delegates, and Bibb County was right behind with seven. Other counties sending delegates were Autauga, Baldwin, Chambers, Cherokee, Chilton, Clarke, Coffee, Crenshaw, Cullman, Dale, Dallas, DeKalb, Etowah, Fayette, Houston, Lamar, Lime14

stone, Marion, Marshall, Montgomery, Randolph, Shelby, St. Clair, Talladega and Winston. “It’s a big commitment to send delegates to this conference,” said Boyd Deal, an area organization director with the Federation. “For a county Federation like Geneva’s, which doesn’t have a large membership, to send that many kids … that’s a real commitment.” Activities during the three-day conference included team-building and problem-solving exercises on the 4-H Center’s low ropes course and a workshop on common misconceptions about agriculture. Auburn University’s College of Agriculture also presented a workshop on career opportunities in agriculture. A special seminar on “Cowboy Values: the Code of the West” dealt with the importance of values, ethics and leadership. n

____________________________________ The Young Farmers program is aimed at helping farmers and other agricultural professionals ages 17-35 achieve success in their businesses and to become leaders in their communities and the Farmers Federation. For more information, visit


By Darryal Ray


hey are not amber waves of grain nor pots of gold at the end of a rainbow. But those billowing seas of yellow across Alabama farmscapes of late could very well be virtual oil fields. That’s because demand is high for those bright yellow oilseed crops — whether the easily identifiable sunflower or the less familiar blooms of the winter canola plant. Either way, both are quickly gaining interest from farmers who are being courted by competing processing plants in search of Alabama growers. Such was the case a couple of months back when Brian Caldbeck and Andrew Moore conducted a canola and sunflower “field day” at Bob and David Rogers’ R3 Farms near Piedmont. “Canola has a huge profit potential for your operation,” Caldbeck, a consultant agronomist, told the farmers. “It’s a natural fit for this area.” “We are excited about what we’re doing,” said Moore whose Georgiabased oilseed processing plant, Resaca Sun Products, is pressing 50 tons of sunflower, canola and soybean oil per day. “We think canola (and sunflowers) are a viable crop for the Southeast. We believe it’s a crop that will make you money. Is it a dream crop? No. Farming is hard work, and we know that. But this is a crop that will add value to your production.” It’s a sales pitch that Billy and Gregory Bridgeforth of Tanner first heard three years ago from Dr. Ernst Cebert, an Alabama A&M University research scientist. “Dr. Cebert gave us a favorable forecast of what the yield would be on canola,” said Billy Bridgeforth. “He was saying 42, 45 or on a real good year, 50 bushels, an acre. And the stuff was selling for the price of soybeans. So we were all for it. Well, instead of 45 bushels, we made 62 bushels!” At around $12 per bushel, it’s no wonder the Bridgeforths have since doubled their canola crop to about 500 acres and plan to double it again to 1,000 acres next year. Above, farmers explore a canola field at R3 Farms in Piedmont during a canola and sunflower field event. Inset, Gregory and Billy Bridgeforth hope to plant 1,000 acres of canola next year. w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g



“We’re cotton farmers,” Greg Bridgeforth said, “but we’re also survivors. We try to see what opportunities there are, and this may be one of those alternative crops that’s an opportunity for growers in north Alabama, especially if we can get a mill.” The push for a processing plant in Alabama is growing stronger each year, and another Georgia processing plant has already set up a receiving station in the Lawrence County town of Leighton to help offset some of the growers’ transportation costs. “That’s the plan,” says Billy Bridgeforth. “They say they need about 14,000 acres of canola and sunflower to have a mill here in north Alabama, and I think they’re pretty close to having it with the growers they have now in northern Alabama and southern Tennessee.” But Charles Burmester, an agronomist with the Tennessee Valley Regional Research and Extension Center, says the lack of a processing plant is a big obstacle to overcome. “It’s a chicken-and-egg deal,” said Burmester. “You’ve got producers who want to produce canola, and you’ve got some buyers who would love to buy the canola, but putting the two together is the hard thing because the buyers are in Georgia and the plants that process it are in Georgia.” In fact, a similar push for canola died out in the late 1980s and early 1990s when a processing plant in Chattanooga closed shop. “If we had known about that, we probably wouldn’t have tried it,” said Billy Bridgeforth with a laugh. Today, however, good market prices, better genetics and a continuing need for new crop rotations have more and more farmers willing to take a chance. “It’s a fun crop to grow,” said Billy Bridgeforth. “You go out there one week and it’s about boot high; come back a week later and it’s about knee high. Three days later, it’s waist high and about the time it starts to bloom, it’s head high. And it just grows so fast! I wish some of these gene splitters could put some of that in these corn and soybeans.” David Rogers had planned to plant 300 acres of canola this year, but an unusually wet fall cut those plans by half. “We lost one crop we planted because the very next night after planting we had four inches of rain,” he said. “Too much rain can happen with any crop, but when you plant and get four inches of rain the very next day that’s just not good for it.” Still, Donnie Garrett of Centre, a board member with the Alabama Farmers Federation, heard enough during the field day at Rogers’ farm that he says he’ll probably give it a try himself. “I think it would be worth giving it a shot because we need some other kind of crop that we can get in our rotation,” he said, adding that he had also tried it in the late 1980s. “I’m not going to go large – just enough to try it and get an idea of what I can do with it.” Likewise, more and more growers are experimenting with sunflowers. Cousins Brad and Brian Laymon planted less than 120 acres on this, their first attempt. NEIGHBORS • AUGUST 2010

Above, Brian and Brad Laymon check their early sunflower crop. At right, David Rogers found canola to be a profitable crop but one not without its challenges.

“We’re just playing with it right now,” said Brad Laymon. “We don’t know if we’re going to be in it or not. … We’ve just cottoned everything to death around here. The cotton went down and the grain market went up. So we changed over and started looking at some alternative crops.” Just a few miles away, Ben Looney is taking his third sunflower crop seriously — all 400 acres of it. “It doesn’t really make me nervous to try new things,” said Looney, adding that he intends to plant 200 acres of canola this fall. “In fact, I sort of like being one of the first to try something. There was a need for it, and we jumped in there to see if we can do something with this, and found out we could make some money off it.” Plus, Looney has seen some other benefits as well. “It’s good for the wildlife, too,” he said. “When you start cutting it, the birds come in droves. There are bumblebees and honeybees everywhere. One of my neighbors, Lionel Evans (a member of the State Bee & Honey Committee), set up some of his hives at the edge of the field.” “The biggest problem with sunflowers are the pests — the people who want to get in your field and take pictures,” Looney said with a laugh. “No, I’m joking. They’re not really pests — we don’t spray for those.” n ______________________________ For more information, contact Brian Caldbeck at (270) 316-4316 or Andrew Moore at Resaca Sun Products LLC at (706) 629-7010, email or visit Also check out and


w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

Good yields take time. T









he roads and highways in Alabama connect us to where we need to go. They may take us to the beach for a well-earned vacation; or to the local supermarket for tonight’s dinner. But some roads and highways take us to where we work. Most of us drive cars, trucks and SUVs, but some choose a different vehicle. They are farmers. The many farmers of Alabama legally use the roads and highways to get from barn to field with their tractors, harvesters and combines. Typically, these vehicles travel well below the speed limit. This is where the sign comes in. On vehicles that can legally share the road but cannot keep up with the flow of traffic, you will find an orange-and-red triangle called a “Slow-Moving Vehicle” sign. This tells you from a distance that the vehicle ahead of you is traveling at a slow rate of speed. Please beScareful you see this sign on a vehicle. Many accidents and U R Vwhen IVE even deaths have occurred as a result of a fast-moving vehicle meeting a farmer tryingAtoSign get to work. Watch out for farmers. Good yields take time. Of Progress

Farmer At Work

A Sign Of Progress

Farmer At Work

A message from the Alabama Department of Public Safety, the Alabama Department of Transportation and the Alabama Farmers Federation.

Pike County Farm Tour To Highlight TREASURE Forest Conference ATFA Executive Director James Malone, left, and ATFA President John Dorrill on an earlier tour of the Renfroe TREASURE Forest.

By Debra Davis

help landowners make the most of their property, focusing on sustainable, multiple-use management of he annual Alabama TREAforest natural resources. SURE Forest Association Workshop sessions include (ATFA) Conference and Tour land management, selling timber, Sept. 17 and 18 in Troy will spotthe role birds of prey play in the light a farm that exemplifies the word “treasure,” according to event forest, feral hog management and self-reliance and sustainability of organizers. forestland. Although owners Gene and “We have some terrific proJana Renfroe say their farm is still grams and speakers lined up for a work in progress, it is home to this conference,” said Dorrill, who thousands of stately hardwoods, also serves towering pines as president and abundant Alabama TREASURE Forest of the Pike wildlife. Association Conference & Tour County FarmThe tour is Sept. 17-18 • Troy, AL ers Federation. just one of the “And the Troy many attractions or call 1-888-240-4694 University expected to bring Rodeo Team nearly 400 people is going to to Pike County provide entertainment during our for the conference. The meeting conference on Friday.” will be at the Pike County CattleThe day’s event will conclude men’s Park on U.S. 231, four miles south of Troy. Registration informa- with the ATFA banquet and auction that night. tion, including fees, schedules and The tour of the Renfroe Family hotel accommodations, is available TREASURE Forest in Pike County at begins with a prayer breakfast at ATFA President John Dorrill 7:30 a.m. Sept. 18. Directions to lives in Pike County. He said the the farm will be available during first day of the conference is dedicated to workshops and seminars to Friday’s workshops.


w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g


Two ponds on the Renfroe farm are home to an abundance of wildlife that includes ducks, geese and herons that glide across water filled with trophy bass, bream and catfish. One pond even has a cypress boardwalk across it so visitors can literally walk among the cypress trees or sit and fish on one of its landings. Turkey, deer and numerous species of birds call the farm home. “I know I spent a lot of time and money trying to get rid of the briars,” Gene Renfroe said. “Now, we’re actually planting briars to provide habitat for quail. Funny sometimes how you have to make mistakes to learn things — hopefully we’ve learned from our mistakes, and we seek a lot of advice from people who can help us.” Dorrill said the conference offers advice for existing landowners or those interested in buying land. “Alabama has 23 million acres of forest lands and 95 percent of that is owned by private landowners,” Dorrill said. “We are blessed in Alabama to have such vast natural resources, and we want to utilize, manage and maintain them for future generations to enjoy.” n NEIGHBORS • AUGUST 2010

Teachers Soak Up Farm Experience With AITC By Debra Davis


espite frequent downpours, nearly 100 Alabama teachers soaked up lots of useful information as they toured farms and learned classroom activities to help introduce their students to agriculture. The teachers were taking part in the annual Agriculture in the Classroom Summer Institute, held June 2-4 in Mobile. The workshop included activities for kindergarten through sixth-grade teachers and field trips to several area farms. “The summer institute provides books and hands-on activities teachers can carry back to their classrooms,” said AITC Chairman Kim Earwood, who also serves as director of the Alabama Farmers Federation Women’s Leadership Division. “The activities teach children about agriculture, while at the same time reinforcing classroom curriculums of history, math, science, reading and writing that complement the Alabama Department of Education’s course of study.” While teachers expressed appreciation for all areas of the summer institute, most said the farm tours were their favorite. “The people have been tremendous,” said Millie Mostella, a sixth-grade science

Jeremy Sessions of Sessions Farms in Grand Bay discusses this year’s sweet corn crop with Millie Mostella, a sixth-grade science teacher from Litchfield Middle School in Gadsden. Sessions Farms was among those teachers visited during the Alabama Agriculture in the Classroom Summer Institute June 2-4 in Mobile.

teacher at Litchfield Middle School in Gadsden. “The farmers have been so nice, and meeting the other teachers has been wonderful. It’s great to share ideas,” Mostella said, adding that, in some ways, teaching is like farming. “You have to love what you do,” she said. “Being here and seeing these farmers makes you appreciate the food we have even more. You want to go to bat for farmers and the plight they have to go through to raise the food we enjoy.”

For many teachers, the farm tours were their first visit to a working farm or meeting a farmer. “The tours gave them first-hand experience and the books, posters, DVDs and other materials sent home with them will help them share that experience with their students when they get back to their classroom,” Earwood said. Proceeds from Ag Tag sales are the primary funding source for AITC. n

Pine Sawtimber

TIMBER STUMPAGE PRICES Statewide Average S e co n d Q u a r t e r 2 0 1 0

Pine Pulpwood

Hardwood Pulpwood

w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g



MBF Scribner












m their po o r f h nds s e fr to your plate.

joey lowery

2010 Arkansas Catfish Farmer of the Year

will pearce

2010 Alabama Catfish Farmer of the Year

Ed pentecost

2010 Mississippi Catfish Farmer of the Year

Sponsored by The Catfish Institute

Celebrate National Catfish Month this August with U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish. It’s home-grown and healthy, raised in pure, freshwater ponds on a strict diet of nutritious grains. With Alabama’s Country-of-Origin Labeling law, you can be assured you are getting U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish in your favorite restaurants. Find the recipe for Sesame Crusted Catfish with Sweet-and-Sour Sauce at USCATFISH.COM

Ag Briefs NASS Seeks Input On Energy Survey


he U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is seeking stakeholder input as it develops an annual program to collect and publish data about agriculture’s production and use of renewable energy. “With growing national interest in energy efficiency and alternative energy sources, there is a need for solid data about how the agriculture sector is generating and using renewable energy,” said Bill Weaver, director of the NASS Alabama Field Office. “In response to this need, we’re expanding our data collection efforts and are hoping that farmers, farm and energy organizations, and other stakeholders will weigh in and tell us exactly what information they want and need.” In the 2007 Census of Agriculture, NASS for the first time included a question about on-farm energy production. Based on the information gathered from the census, NASS is conducting USDA’s first On-Farm Renewable Energy Production Survey, focusing on farms and ranches that produced energy via solar panels, wind turbines and methane digesters. “This initial survey will provide important baseline data, and our plan is to expand our efforts into a broader, annual survey program beginning in 2012,” Weaver said. n

____________________________________ For more info, visit http://edocket. pdf. w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

FFA Wall of Honor

Several leaders in the Alabama Farmers Federation were among those recently inducted into the FFA Wall of Honor. The ceremony was held at the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association Building in Montgomery, June 2. From left are Alabama State Superintendent Dr. Joseph B. Morton with inductees John Sudduth of Winston County, Van Smith of Autauga County and Mahlon Richburg of Lee County.

AU Offering New Online Graduate Courses


rofessionals in the fields of soil, water, agriculture and the environment soon will have the opportunity to earn graduate degrees from Auburn University from their homes and workplaces. An online distance education graduate degree program developed through Auburn’s Department of Agronomy and Soils to help professionals refresh their scientific knowledge and earn master’s or doctoral degrees has officially received final approval, said Dennis Shannon, an agronomy and soils professor who has led the effort to establish the program. Although distance-learning 24

classes already are available through the College of Agriculture’s Poultry Science and Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures departments, agronomy and soils is the first to offer them as part of a full-fledged graduate degree program. Students interested in enrolling for a degree should begin the process soon, although students can take courses for degree credit up to two semesters before enrolling in Auburn’s grad school program. n

____________________________________ For more info, visit agrn/distancelearning or contact Megan Ross at or (334) 844-3201.


Let your lens do the talking — and show us how Alabama’s farm families care in these categories ...

...For Our Animals ...For Our Land ...For Our Food

Win Cash Prizes In EACH Category

$300 — First Place $200 — Second Place $100 — Third Place

RULES • Prizes for each “We Care...” category - For Our Animals, For Our Land, For Our Food - are: 1st Place, $300; 2nd Place, $200; 3rd Place, $100. • All photos must have been taken in Alabama. • Each photographer is limited to three entries per category. • Prints must be 8” by 10” and should be packaged to prevent bending. • The entrant must include his or her name, address, phone number, title of photo, name of category and Federation membership number on a 4” by 5” card. Any persons in the photo must be identified on the card as well. • Entries must be received by Nov. 1, 2010. • Ship entries to: “We Care…” Photo Contest, Neighbors Magazine, 2108 E. South Blvd., Montgomery, AL 36116. The Federation is not responsible for any lost or misdirected materials.

ENTRIES MUST BE RECEIVED NO LATER THAN NOV. 1, 2010 SEND YOUR ENTRIES TO: ‘WE CARE...’ PHOTO CONTEST, Neighbors Magazine 2108 E. South Blvd. Montgomery, AL 36116 • Competition is open to amateur photographers living in Alabama who are members of Alabama Farmers Federation. • Employees of the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance and their immediate families are not eligible. • All entries must be original photography taken between Nov. 1, 2008 and Nov. 1, 2010. • No retouching of photos or digital manipulation of images is permitted. • Entrant acknowledges entry constitutes permission to publish the photo and has the right to grant permission for publication of photo as well as permission of any person or persons depicted in the photograph. • Photos become the property of Neighbors magazine and the Alabama Farmers Federation and will not be returned. • Decision of the judges is final.

Alabama Gardener By Lois Chaplin


t’s hard to imagine fall while summer is still blazing, but toward the end of this month there will be a morning when you open the door and the hot and heavy air has lifted and you get a hint of the relief that is on the way. Take that as a signal: it’s time to start thinking about planting your fall vegetable and herb garden. If you hurry, you can even try a few spring crops again, such as summer squash, early potatoes and bush beans during the first half of the month. Use those leftover seeds from spring. While these spring crops mature quickly enough to give you a good harvest before cold weather ends their life, most of your time should be spent planning for all the delicious greens and other items that like cool weather. They will last for months, maybe even all winter with a little help. Many of these are small enough to work in between existing pepper and tomato plants and underneath them in gardens where space is a premium. The planting window for fall can be tricky because heat can cause some problems at first. For example, if it’s too hot early on, broccoli won’t make a good head. On the other hand, if you wait too late, the shortening days and cooler weather will limit your harvest. So what and when exactly do you plant? The Alabama Cooperative Extension System has several publications with more detail than we have space for here. For help with timing, download: Planting

When space is a premium, there’s still room to work in your fall vegetable and herb garden.

Guide For Home Gardening In Alabama (look at the planting calendar) and Soil Temperature Conditions for Vegetable Seed Germination, from The leafy crops below don’t need quite as much sun as summer fruiting crops, so winter is a good time to stretch the limits of your space if shade keeps you from growing in the summer. Keep in mind, however, that a lot of shade disappears when the leaves fall. Collards — These are very coldhardy yet also tolerate heat. You can plant them now from seeds or transplants as soon as they appear in the stores. Collard leaves get sweeter after being hit by frost. Just pick the leaves a few at a time and leave the center to grow. Kale — This is the most cold-

GET GROWING AT THE CO-OP. w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

hardy of all the winter crops. You may eat kale like collards, or chop it up raw in a salad for a deep green, chewy treat. My mother-in-law was a big fan of kale leaves in a sandwich. Spinach — These leaves are surprisingly cold-hardy, too. Brussels sprouts — If you tried this in spring to no avail, try again. It is a much better fall crop because of the longer season of mild to cool weather. Cilantro — Anyone who watched their cilantro go to seed shortly after spring planting can rest assured that fall will be a longer harvest. The plant stays leafy from now until spring, making this is a great autumn candidate from seed or purchased plants. Leaf lettuce — If there is one crop that makes the most sense to grow in fall, it’s leaf lettuce. You can just keep on harvesting the outer leaves and leave the center to make more. Lettuce is quick to go to seed in the heat. Start it in shade if possible. Some Other Items To Try In Autumn — Mustard greens, turnips, Swiss chard, onion, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, radicchio, endive, nasturtium and pansy (edible flowers), mizuna, cress, and other exotic greens as well as thyme, rosemary and parsley. n

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



Sumiton Teacher Named August’s Teacher of the Month By Melissa Martin


hen Greek history is on the lesson plan, students in Reba Gullion’s classroom at Sumiton Christian School find themselves reliving a scene from Animal House, courtesy of Jim Belushi’s famous chant – “Toga! Toga!” Recognizing that “excellence is never an accident” and that all students learn in different ways — some by seeing, some by listening and others by doing — Gullion employs several outlets to send the message that not only is history important, but it can also be fun. “Her students love her history classes and leave middle school with a thorough understanding of social studies,” said Kathy Davidson, former principal of Sumiton Christian School. “They’ve participated in . . . on-campus mock elec-

tions, ‘toga’ days for Greek history, writing their own Bill of Rights and taking an annual field trip to the Medieval Times in Atlanta.” Gullion It’s for her innovative teaching style and passion for teaching that Gullion earned her place as the first of two private school teachers honored this year in the Alfa Teacher of the Month program. As August’s honoree, she will receive $1,000 from Alfa Insurance. Her school will receive a matching contribution from the Alabama Farmers Federation. Described by Davidson as “a wealth of school spirit,” Gullion is active both in and outside the classroom. “Whether it is working

on cheers and skits for our annual Penny Drop fundraiser, working the gates or concession stands at middle and high school athletic events or being a chaperone at middle school dances, Reba is a true team player.” A graduate of the University of Montevallo, Gullion received her bachelor’s degree in 1977 and was awarded the Highly Qualified Teacher status July 2008. During 2010, Alfa Insurance and the Alabama Farmers Federation are honoring one outstanding teacher from each of Alabama’s eight state board districts, two principals and two private school teachers. Application information is available under Alfa Teacher of the Month in the Ag Links section of n

USDA: Rule To Offer New Protections For Poultry, Livestock Producers


he Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) has proposed a rule to provide new protections for livestock and poultry producers against unfair, fraudulent or retaliatory practices, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. “Concerns about a lack of fairness and common-sense treatment for livestock and poultry producers have gone unaddressed far too long,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This proposed rule will help ensure a level playing field for producers by providing additional protections against unfair practices and addressing new market conditions not covered by existing rules.” Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry Newby said the proposed rules address concerns that have been discussed for many years. “We support an open dialogue between growers and integrators that will result in contracts that are


mutually beneficial for both farm families and the companies that invest in our communities,” Newby said. Some protections in the proposed rule, published June 22 in the Federal Register, include: ­— Establish new protections for producers required to provide expensive capital upgrades to their growing facilities, including protections to ensure producers have the opportunity to recoup 80 percent of the cost of a required capital investment; — Prohibit packers from purchasing, acquiring or receiving livestock from other packers, and communicate prices to competitors; — Enable a fair and equitable process for producers that choose to use arbitration to remedy a dispute. Additionally, clear and conspicuous print in the contract will be required to ensure producers are provided the option to decline the use of arbitration to settle a dispute. 27

— Require that companies paying growers under a tournament system provide the same base pay to growers that raise the same type and kind of poultry, including ensuring that the growers’ pay cannot go below the base pay amount; — Provide poultry growers with a written notice of a company’s intent to suspend the delivery of birds under a poultry growing arrangement at least 90 days prior to the date it intends to suspend the delivery. Comments are due before Aug. 23 and may be emailed to:, or mailed to Tess Butler, GIPSA, USDA, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Room 1643S, Washington, D.C. 20250-3604. n

____________________________________ Copies of the proposed rule and additional information can be found at by clicking on Federal Register.

w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

Country Kitchen By Kellie Henderson


nown to many in Lawrence County as the “Cake Lady,” Lisa Terry says she has always loved cooking for the multitudes. “I’d rather cook for 25 than for two any day,” she says. Her life has given her many opportunities to do just that. While raising her two sons Robert and Casey, she baked birthday, wedding, and baby shower cakes, which earned her the “Cake Lady” moniker. “Even if they don’t remember my name, lots of people recognize me as the lady who made the cake for a special event in their family,” says Lisa. She says she inherited her love of big cooking from her grandmother. “My mother was a good cook too, and let me help her cook just for the fun of it,” she says, “but Grandmother Jones was the one in our family who really cooked everything for everybody.” Now that her sons are grown, Lisa works part-time in the kitchen at Parkway Medical Center in Decatur where she continues to indulge her love of cooking for a crowd. Although her husband Steve works for International Paper on rotating day and night shifts, Lisa says they still make time to have a home-cooked meal together most days. “We both have to work two weekends a month, but we have our schedules worked out so we’re working the same weekends. I cook a real meal for us probably five nights of the week,” she says. Lisa adds that she is blessed to have not only her sons nearby, but her sister and her twin nieces

w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

Lisa Terry is known as the ‘Cake Lady.’

as well. “My sister and I are very close. We’re best friends and talk every day. And we’re very close to the twins, too. In fact, I made both their wedding cakes,” says Lisa. While she doesn’t bake as many cakes as she used to, Lisa says she still makes time to bake the occasional cake for close family and friends, including special birthday cakes for her grandchildren. “Oh, I’ve made Strawberry Shortcake and even a firecrackerthemed birthday cake for the grandbabies, and I thoroughly enjoy it. I can work on a cake for hours when I don’t have the patience for anything else,” she says. When Lisa and Steve aren’t working, they enjoy getting away to their house on Smith Lake, just a short drive away. “It’s 50 minutes from the door at home to the door of the lake house, and we really enjoy swimming and fishing there. Now that we’re older and have most everything paid for, it’s nice to spend time doing what we want to do during our time off,” she says. But that doesn’t mean her stove 28

and oven are retired. “My friends and family have always known all anybody has to say is ‘I’m hungry,’ and I’ve got the skillet out ready to cook,” adds Lisa. While Lisa still loves to bake cakes, she resisted the temptation to include just cake recipes in The Country Kitchen. “These are some of my favorite recipes to cook for friends and family. My husband loves my slaw so much he once told me I needed to write the recipe down so if something happened to me, somebody could still make it. And grilled shrimp and chicken salad are two things I make that almost everyone loves,” says Lisa. BIRTHDAY CAKE

1 package of cake mix White Decorator Icing: 1/2 cup shortening 1/2 cup water, divided 2 pounds powdered sugar, divided 2 teaspoons clear vanilla flavoring 2 teaspoons clear butter flavoring

Bake according to directions on the box. Cool completely — freezing the cake layers will make them easier to ice. Icing: Begin by beating shortening with 1/4 cup water and 1 pound sugar until smooth. Gradually add remaining water, flavorings and sugar a little at a time. If stiff, add a teaspoon of water at a time, beating until very fluffy. This will ice two 8-inch layers with enough for a shell trim. Editor’s Note: Recipes published in the “Country Kitchen” are not kitchen-tested prior to publication. Look for more “Country Kitchen” recipes online at www.AlfaFarmers. org. NEIGHBORS • AUGUST 2010

COLE SLAW 2 (10-ounce) packages finely shredded cabbage 1 carrot, shredded 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup mayonnaise 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar

Mix all ingredients well and chill at least two hours. Makes 8 to 10 servings. CABBAGE AND SAUSAGE ONE-SKILLET MEAL 3 tablespoons bacon grease or oil 1 package polish sausage, cut into 1/2inch pieces 1 medium cabbage head, sliced into strips 1 medium onion, sliced into strips 1/2 cup water, divided

Heat bacon grease or oil in a large, deep-sided skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook through. Remove sausage from pan, and add cabbage, onions and 1/4 cup water. Cover with lid and cook 2 minutes, then stir well to prevent burning. Add remaining water and cook 8 to 10 minutes until cabbage is tender. Add sausage back to skillet and heat through. MICROWAVE BAKED BEANS 1/4 pound sliced bacon 1/4 cup chopped onion 2 (15-ounce) cans pork and beans 1/2 cup ketchup 1/4 cup brown sugar 1 teaspoon mustard

In a large microwave-safe bowl, cook bacon on high for 4 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon; set aside. Add onions to bowl with bacon drippings and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Cook 5 minutes. Carefully add crumbled bacon and remaining ingredients to bowl and stir to combine. Cover and cook on high 5 to 6 minutes or until bubbly. Microwave uncovered 8 to 10 minutes more, stirring as needed. Mixture will thicken as it cooks. Makes 6 servings. NEIGHBORS • AUGUST 2010

CHICKEN SALAD 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast 1 teaspoon black pepper 2 teaspoons salt 1 onion, peeled 1 green apple, chopped 1/2 cup chopped pecans 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 cup halved grapes 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

In a small boiler, cook chicken with pepper, salt, onion and just enough water to cover. This gives the chicken good flavor. Remove cooked chicken to cool. Shred cooled chicken; combine with all remaining ingredients and chill. Makes 8 servings. GRILLED SHRIMP 2 pounds of frozen, raw peeled shrimp (31-count is a good size) 8 tablespoons ketchup 3 tablespoons minced garlic 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 1 stick melted butter 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

Thaw shrimp in a colander and drain well. In a saucepan, heat remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Remove from heat and pour over raw shrimp. Cook shrimp on a hot grill just until they turn pink and begin to curl up, about 6 minutes. Serve warm. Note: Grill will flare because of melted butter. Cook outdoors only. FRESH BROCCOLI SALAD 1 head broccoli, washed and chopped 1 small red onion, chopped 1/2 cup raisins 1/2 pound bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled 1 (8-ounce) package shredded cheese 1/2 cup chopped pecans Dressing: 1 cup mayonnaise 1/4 cup sugar 2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Stir together dressing ingredients until well mixed; set aside. Toss together broccoli, onions and raisins. Pour dressing over salad and refrigerate. Just before serving, toss in bacon, cheese and pecans. 29

GOLDEN POTATO CASSEROLE 6 medium potatoes, cooked in their skins 1 stick butter 1 (10-ounce) can cream of chicken soup 1/2 pint sour cream 2 cups grated cheddar cheese 1 cup crushed corn flakes 2 tablespoons butter 1/3 cup chopped green onions

Cool potatoes. Peel and grate. Heat soup and butter together over low heat. Remove from heat and blend in sour cream. In a large bowl, combine heated mixture with potatoes and cheese. Place mixture in a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish. Dot with butter and sprinkle on crushed corn flakes. Bake 30 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees until bubbly. Garnish with green onions. HONEY BUN CAKE 1 box butter recipe cake mix 2 sticks butter or margarine, softened 4 eggs 1 (8-ounce) container sour cream 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 1/3 cup chopped pecans 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 cup powdered sugar 1 tablespoon milk 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease bottom only of 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan. Remove 1/2 cup dry cake mix, and stir together with brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon; set aside. Beat remaining cake mix, butter, eggs and sour cream in a large bowl on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Spread half the batter in prepared pan. Sprinkle on pecan mixture, and carefully spread remaining batter evenly over pecan mixture. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until cake is golden brown and springs back when touched in the center. Stir together powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla, adding additional tablespoons of milk if needed, until mixture is thin enough to drizzle. Pierce the top of the warm cake several times with a fork and spread glaze over warm cake. Cool 1 hour. Store covered. n w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

Neighbors Classifieds Classifieds Facts For just $2 per work, your classified ad in Neighbors reaches more than 109,000 subscribers. Ads must be received by the first day of the month prior to publication. NO changes after closing. PRE-PAYMENT REQUIRED FOR ALL ADS. Minimum 10 words per ad. No fax, phone orders or credit cards accepted. For questions, call Paula Culver at (334) 613-4410. Send your ad with payment, payable to Alabama Farmers Federation, to: Neighbors Classifieds P.O. Box 11000 Montgomery, AL 36191-0001

VA C AT I O N R E N TA L S GATLINBURG — Elegant 4-bedroom/3bath, back porch over creek, 10-minute walk to aquarium. (800) 435-3972. ALWAYS $65 — Beautiful, furnished mountain cabin near Dollywood. Free brochure. Call (865) 453-7715. PIGEON FORGE, TN — Log cabins in the Smokies, (251) 649-3344 or (251) 649-4049 COZY CABIN — 2-bedroom/2-bath, fully furnished in Collinsville, AL (256) 523-3523. NORTHWEST ALABAMA — WATERFRONT, CEDAR LAKE RENTAL – Sleeps six, fully furnished. (256) 436-0341. WWW.VACATIONSMITHLAKE.COM — Beautiful lake living at an affordable price — $75 a night. (256) 352-5721.

Get your stock on the ball! TM

• High-quality forage • E xcellent reseeding • Tolerates continuous grazing

Limited Quantity – Call today to reserve your seed!

DOWNTOWN GATLINBURG — 2-bedroom/2-bath condo sleeps six. Block from aquarium. (256) 509-8301 or LOG CABIN RENTALS IN MENTONE — Hot-tubs, king beds — (256) 657-4335 or

w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g



*MustbeaFarmBureaumemberforatleast30days.ContactyourlocalFarmBureauofficefordetails. FarmBureau速isafederallyregisteredcollectivemembershipandaregisteredservicemarkofthe AmericanFarmBureauFederation.速CumminsisaregisteredtrademarkofCummins,Inc.


August 2010 issue of Neighbors, a monthly publication of the Alabama Farmers Federation.