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

New Beginnings

After 14 years as president of the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance, Jerry Newby is returning home to his family and farm. • 16

Welder’s Wonderland

A Dallas County craftsman gives new life to old farm equipment by welding them into works of art. • 8

ON THE COVER Jerry Newby is retiring after 14 years as president of Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance Co. Photo by Jeff Otto

Drilling Deeper

Deep drilling teams are making their way South to Alabama, where rich fuel deposits could mean wealth for landowners. • 10

Win A New Truck

The Alabama Farmers Federation is seeking entries for the 2013 Outstanding Young Farm Family. The winner will receive a new GM pickup truck and a load of other prizes. • 14 DECEMBER 2012



President’s Message


Alabama Gardener


Country Kitchen

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s we prepare to celebrate the Savior’s birth counting our blessings and spending time with family, I am thankful for the opportunity to serve as president of the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance for the past 14 years and even more grateful to be returning home to my family and farm. Among my greatest blessings is having a mother and father who modeled faith, hard work and service. Although Daddy went home to be with the Lord in October, his example of public service had a tremendous influence when I was asked to run for president. Now, I am looking forward to spending more time with Momma and sharing some of Daddy’s wisdom with my children and grandchildren. I’m also thankful for Dianne. When I was elected in 1998, we planned to Jerry Newby move our family to Montgomery. But by May of the following year, we knew the children wanted to stay near the farm and their friends. Even with me in Montgomery often five nights a week, Dianne made sure our home was filled with light and warmth. She is a faithful Christian, wonderful mother, loving daughter-in-law, supportive mother-in-law, doting grandmother and the love of my life. I’m thankful for my brother, Jimmy, and our family for keeping the farm growing. I’m especially proud of our children, Elizabeth and Jerry Allen, for the way they’ve provided leadership on the farm — albeit different from the way I would have done it — and for our daughter Mary Anna whose servant heart is a reminder to all of us of what’s most important. To the members, customers and employees of the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance, I can only say I am appreciative of your support and humbled by your trust. During the last 14 years, we have witnessed major accomplishments. Our re-affiliation with the American Farm Bureau Federation; defeat of the Amendment 1 tax increase; privatization of the Alfa stock company; expansion of Alfa into eight w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

VOLUME 37, NUMBER 12 _____________________________________

Debra Davis, Editor Mike Moody, Graphic Designer

additional states with the acquisition of two subsidiaries; and major advancements in technology have made our organization stronger. But we’ve also had challenges. Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina and the April 27 tornadoes were just three of about 80 catastrophic weather events that struck Alfa’s coverage area since 2000. Through it all, Alfa remained financially strong and delivered its promise to policyholders with customer service that’s second to none. This should give us all reason to be optimistic about the future. Alfa is an A-rated company with more than 1 million policies in force. Our life insurance company has grown to become number one in market share in Alabama, and our management team is launching new innovations almost monthly to better serve customers. Meanwhile, the Federation’s voice is stronger than ever since rejoining Farm Bureau, and our members have more opportunities to develop their leadership potential. We also are able to communicate more quickly and efficiently with members, and the Federation is winning legislative victories while earning the respect of lawmakers for the integrity of our leaders and staff. All this gives me confidence in the future of our organization. As I go home to spend more time on my faith, family and farm, I know the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance are in capable hands. We are blessed with leaders, employees and a management team who work hard every day to make our organization better. Thank you for allowing me to work alongside you to strengthen agriculture, protect our policyholders and stand up for what’s right. This Christmas, I am thankful for all the ways God has blessed our family, and I’m looking forward to being home for the holidays. I pray you find peace and joy this holiday season and that God continues to bless Alfa and the Alabama Farmers Federation. n 4

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: 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 DECEMBER 2012

Outstanding Young Farm Family Hauls Home Truckload Of Prizes By Mary Johnson


labama’s Outstanding Young Farm Family will take home a truckload of prizes from the Alabama Farmers Federation’s 91st annual meeting this year – literally. The 2012 winner will receive a new GM model truck valued at $35,000, courtesy of Alfa Insurance. Winners also will be selected for the Young Farmers Discussion Meet and the Excellence in Agriculture program during the annual meeting, which takes place in Montgomery Dec. 2-3. “We’re thrilled to have Alfa Insurance offering a brand new GM vehicle to this year’s Outstanding Young Farm Family for the first time in the history of the competition,” said Young Farmers Director Jennifer Himburg. “Along with the new 825i John Deere Gator courtesy of Alabama Ag Credit and Alabama Farm Credit, the winning family will go home with more than $50,000 worth of prizes in recognition of their determination and hard work.” Other prizes for the 2012 OYFF, which is nationally referred to as the Achievement Award, include the lease of a John Deere Tractor from TriGreen, SunSouth and Snead Ag; a computer package from Valcom/CCS Wireless; and an expense-paid trip to the Ameri-

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can Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) annual meeting in Nashville in Jan 13-16. Discussion Meet and Excellence in AgriKarl Rove culture winners receive $1,000 each, an expense-paid trip to the AFBF annual meeting in Nashville and a plaque. The runner-up in the Discussion Meet receives $500 and a plaque. First South Farm Credit and the Alabama Farmers Federation are furnishing the prizes for those contests. National winners in each of the competitions receive free registration to the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Conference in Phoenix, Feb. 8-11 and their choice of a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado or a 2013 GMC Sierra pickup, valued at $35,000. Runners-up in each event will win $2,500, a 65A Farmall Tractor from Case IH, and a STIHL Farm Boss chainsaw from STIHL. Also during the state annual


meeting, the Geneva County Reaper will be honored with the Federation’s 2012 Communications Award for its coverage of agriculture news. Geneva County Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman Sharon Turner and Geneva County Farmers Federation President Charles Turner nominated the newspaper’s editor, Jay Felsberg. More than 1,200 members of the Alabama Farmers Federation are expected to participate in the annual meeting at the Renaissance Hotel and Montgomery Convention Center. Gov. Robert Bentley will give remarks at the opening session Dec. 2. Members have the opportunity to attend a concert by Grammyaward winner Dwight Yoakam that evening. Five hundred voting delegates will discuss policy and elect leaders, including president of the 380,000-member Federation, during the final business session, Dec. 3. President Jerry Newby announced earlier he would not seek re-election this year. Political strategist Karl Rove is the keynote speaker for the closing session. Known as the architect of George W. Bush’s 2000 and 2004 campaigns, Rove is a columnist for The Wall Street Journal, a Fox News commentator and best-selling author. n

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Only DeLoney Artist closes studio, continues painting

By Miranda Mattheis


ince 1988, Jack DeLoney has been delighting Alabama with his art that depicts life in the South, drawing inspiration from agriculture and his days of growing up across the road from his grandfather’s farm. That was the year DeLoney took a leap of faith, quitting his job at Fort Rucker Army Base and making the decision to pursue art full time after years of touring at weekend shows. He opened the Jack DeLoney Art Gallery in Ozark, and this month, he will be closing its doors for good. “The gallery has been really great for us and wellsupported by the community,” DeLoney said. “I have been blessed to paint and create art that people appreciate enough to put in their homes. I’m delighted that not only do the agriculture people like my work, but the general population, having never been exposed to agriculture, collect my work because it’s nostalgic.” Most noted for his farm scenes, DeLoney said he also enjoys floral and wildlife paintings. As his fans know, his preferred medium is watercolor. “I enjoy painting with oils, but watercolor is my love,” he said. “I like to start loose and fluid — I don’t fill in the lines. Sometimes (watercolors) set their own direction.” While DeLoney plans to close up shop the end of this year, he will continue to paint commissioned work. In addition to painting, he plans to travel to the Midwest to visit friends and find new subject matter for his work.

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“I’ve been in the business now for 28 years,” DeLoney said. “It’s time. I couldn’t have gotten where I am without my staff, now and in the past. It’s certainly not a journey you on down alone. You can produce a fine piece of art, but if you don’t have a vehicle to market it, you can’t make a living. I’ve been blessed with the best of both worlds.” DeLoney said he realizes it was his upbringing, the faith of his family and friends and supporters throughout the years who helped him succeed. He has been commissioned twice by the Alabama Farmers Federation to create nostalgic farm scenes that almost immediately became collectors’ items. The Federation will honor him with its Image of Agriculture Award at the organization’s 91st Annual Meeting during the second general session, Dec. 3. “Alfa has been a big supporter throughout my career of painting life in rural Alabama,” DeLoney said. “As I reflect back on the past years, I am appreciative of all Alfa has done for me.” n 6


Trey Culpepper gives new life to old farm equipment.

Dallas County Artist Creates A Welder’s Wonderland By Melissa Martin

cattle and hay to Oyster Ridge ­— a wildlife preserve with 1,300 acres of loblolly and longleaf pines. It wasn’t the only transition in Culpepper’s life, though. After he fully developed his craft, welding became a way he could preserve childhood memories. Rusted parts or busted axles were unique elements he could incorporate into useful things he’d never have to part with. Over time, his hobby became his passion — though it wasn’t until he and his wife, Elizabeth, started dating that the creative side of his welding projects began to take root. “She’s from Mountain Brook, bless her heart,” Culpepper said of his wife of five years, cracking a smile. “We’d be in the area and find something we’d like, and I could look at it and figure out how to recreate it. I could just see it all come together before I even started.” Envisioning the finished project is the easy part, he says. The most time-consuming part is cutting the materials and getting them exactly like he wants. The selfproclaimed perfectionist cuts each piece by hand. Culpepper’s pieces aren’t all ornamental, although his Christmas ornaments are admired this time of year. Meat flippers, made with welded hooks and wooden handles turned from cedar harvested from his family’s farm, are among his most popular pieces. While the function of the piece is simple, the originality of design rests primarily with the handle. Each has different grain marks and structure — from heavily grained colorations to fluctuations in the shape. Culpepper also has made a grill, fire pits, stools and beverage tubs. He even welded a bottle tree for his mom. While a majority of pieces are made for family and friends or sold by word of mouth, Culpepper’s art is also sold in stores near his home. Black Belt Treasures in


parks are sure to fly when Trey Culpepper of Pleasant Hill spots an old piece of farm equipment or rusty tin. Items usually tossed out as trash or unfixable junk are repurposed into furniture, home decor, sculptures and more by the Dallas County resident who says his talent stemmed from pure curiosity. Culpepper, an Auburn University graduate and Black Belt native, is quite an anomaly. Though his degree in agricultural economics and business implies he’d be a left-brained, inside-the-box type of guy, he’s really an artist. “My dad always had hobbies, from hot rods and boats to row-crop farming,” said Culpepper, 30. “He farmed practically his entire life. When equipment broke down, he was his own mechanic and welder. I was always intrigued by the welding.” One day, that intrigue found a voice, and Culpepper told his dad he wanted to try his hand at the trade. “He gave me the leads and a piece of metal and said, ‘Here, play with it.’ So, I did,” he recalled. “Welding quickly became something I really enjoyed.” While welding is a big part of his life today, Culpepper says his first love was for the land. “Farming is near and dear to my heart,” he said. “Growing up, I watched my grandfather and my dad farm, and I loved being around it. I was fortunate enough to be able to see Dad farm when everything was in its prime. Unfortunately, by the time Dad started slowing down, I was too young to take over.” After he returned home from college, the family transitioned Culpepper Farms from a land of row crops, w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g



Camden, Mustard Seed in Demopolis and Four Seasons Garden Center in Selma carry his work, and he’s sold pieces at a few craft shows. Finding time to expand his craft is a challenge. Culpepper serves as estate manager for Belvoir Plantation in Dallas County, an antebellum cotton plantation built in 1825, and welds for local farmers. His priority, he said, is making sure he spends ample time around Oyster Ridge with his family — especially his 16-month-old son, Ford. “I’m fortunate that I have some flexibility with my jobs,” he said. “Elizabeth and I are able to spend a good bit of time together, even at craft fairs, and I get to stop in and see Ford more than I ever could if I had an eightto-five job. I’m blessed.” To buy one of Culpepper’s designs or discuss a custom piece, contact him at (334) 375-2784 or treyculp@ For about Oyster Ridge, visit OysterRidge. com. n DECEMBER 2012


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Hydraulic Fracturing Expands Energy Exploration in Alabama

By Debra Davis


he quest for energy to supply a world dependent on fossil fuel has found its way to Alabama’s mainland. Drilling off the state’s coastline years ago resulted in prosperous oil and gas wells that have been producing for years, but more recently companies specializing in hydraulic fracturing have located here. Michael Irvin, director of the Kansas Farm Bureau Legal Foundation for Agriculture, spoke at the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Commodity Producers Conference in August. He is supportive of hydraulic fracturing (sometimes referred to as fracking), but cautioned landowners that while the wells carry hefty profit potential, they also carry risks and responsibilities. Fracking has been practiced in the U.S. since 1946, but Irvin urges landowners to study the drilling process, ask questions and hire an attorney familiar with mineral rights and hydraulic fracturing before signing a contract. “These companies have multiple attorneys on staff, and contracts they may ask you to sign are not to your benefit,” he said. “They are written to benefit the company. A contract is a partnership, and both you and the company want to make money.” Landowners may be compensated in a lump sum, annual payments or a percentage of the production royalties. If payment is based on production, ensure the company is contractually obligated to share production records Irvin cautioned that the most important part of the contract is an indemnification

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clause to protect the landowner from liability. “There is risk,” Irvin said. “Companies will tell you there is no risk, but if that’s the case, make them put in the indemnification clause.” Irvin said the indemnification clause should cover damages to crops and farmland, loss of life for drill workers and water table damage. Fracking captures natural gas or oil from the ground by creating cracks in coal beds, tight sand or shale formations. The process requires vertical wells, drilled hundreds or thousands of feet deep through dirt, water tables and rock. The horizontal fractures are filled with fluids pumped under high-pressure through the wells, releasing the trapped gas or oil. The fracking fluid is 90 percent water, 9.5 percent sand and pellets and .5 percent chemical additives. Some of the chemicals used are known carcinogens. Over its lifetime, one well requires between 50,000 and 5 million gallons of water, which means 75,000 to 320,000 pounds of chemicals are used. Three main basins where fracturing hold greatest potential in Alabama are the TexasLouisiana-Mississippi Salt Basin in far southwest Alabama; the Black Warrior Basin in west Alabama; and the Valley and Ridge Province Basin in the northeast corner of the state. Irvin said drilling might not be appealing to some landowners, even if the potential for profit is there. “If you don’t want it, you can say no,” he said. For an in-depth look at hydraulic fracturing, visit n



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Cherokee County Native Elected To National FFA Officer Team By Melissa Martin


herokee County is known for its waterfalls and Native American heritage. Aside from beautiful scenery, the county has a new claim to fame — Sand Rock graduate Wiley Bailey was elected National FFA Southern Region vice president during the 85th National FFA Convention, Oct. 24-27 in Indianapolis. Bailey, an agricultural communications student at Auburn University, said he’s always had a love of agriculture and can’t wait to share his enthusiasm on a national platform. “I am overjoyed and excited to have the opportunity to listen to others and genuinely care about their concerns,” said Bailey, the 14th national officer from Alabama since the organization was founded in 1928. “It is my goal to advocate for agricultural education and be a voice for members and production agriculturalists throughout the year.” Bailey, 20, is no stranger to leadership positions in FFA. He served as state secretary, North District Vice President, North District treasurer and chapter president for Sand

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From left, front row: Western Region Vice President Lindsey Anderson, California; President Clay Sapp, Florida; Secretary Kalie Hall, Georgia; Eastern Region Vice President Joenelle Futrell, Kentucky; back row, from left: Southern Region Vice President Wiley Bailey, Alabama; and Central Region Vice President Brennan Costello, Nebraska.

Rock High School’s FFA chapter — all under the leadership of Sand Rock FFA advisors Christina Richardson and his father, Barry Bailey. Alabama Farmers Federation Young Farmers Director Jennifer Himburg said Bailey’s selection is a testament to the state’s emphasis on agricultural and educational excellence. “Wiley is a tremendous asset to Alabama agriculture, and we are excited to know he will represent both our state and more than a halfmillion FFA members next year,” said Himburg, who was a national FFA officer from Alabama in 2006. “His love and concern for others will help him connect with students and leave an impact long after his year of service.” Joining Bailey on the 2012-13 National FFA Officer Team are President Clay Sapp of Florida, National Secretary Kalie Hall of Georgia, Eastern Region Vice President Joenelle Futrell of Kentucky, Western Region Vice President Lindsey Anderson of California and Central Region Vice President Brennan Costello of Nebraska. The officers will travel more than 100,000 miles across the country to engage top leaders in 12

business, government and education. They lead personal growth and leadership training seminars for FFA members, and help set policies to guide the future of FFA and promote agricultural literacy. In his spare time, Bailey said he enjoys playing the banjo in a family band called “The Baileys”, which often entertains at churches in north Alabama. “Each time I pick up my banjo, I remember what it takes to make beautiful music and discover more about how I can use these principles to better every other aspect of my life,” explained Bailey. “When I play, I never think about my imperfections or how big the audience is. I simply love playing, and I put everything I have into each moment on stage.” The National FFA Organization is a national youth organization of 557,318 student members as part of 7,498 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. n DECEMBER 2012

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Sibley Named Horticulture Department Head At Auburn University


to December 2009, he eff Sibley, an took on an additional, Auburn Univeruniversity-wide role sity alumnus and when he served as faculty member, has acting associate dean been named head of the of Auburn’s Graduate Department of HortiSchool. In 2010, he culture at Auburn Uniwas named the Barbara versity. The appointand Charles Bohmann ment was effective Endowed Professor of Nov. 1. Jeff Sibley Horticulture at Auburn Sibley, who grew up University. in northwest Alabama’s In addition to his research, Mount Hope community and was teaching and advising programs, a part of a family nursery and turf business in Muscle Shoals, received Sibley is a longtime member of the College of Agriculture Scholhis bachelor’s degree in horticularship Committee, chair of the ture from Auburn in 1984 and his Horticulture Department’s scholarmaster’s degree in 1994. He joined ship committee and director of the the Horticulture Department as a research assistant in 1994, and after Horticulture Department’s studyabroad program in England. completing his Ph.D. in horticulCollege of Agriculture Dean ture from the University of Georgia Bill Batchelor said Sibley has a in 1997, was hired as an assistant deep passion for the Department professor at Auburn. of Horticulture, its students and He was promoted to associate stakeholder industries the departprofessor in 2001 and to full proment serves. fessor in 2006. From August 2008

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“He is a leader and mentor and is highly respected in the industry,” Batchelor said. “I am confident that Dr. Sibley will provide the vision and leadership needed to continue shaping the outstanding teaching, research and outreach programs the department is known for.” Sibley said he is looking forward to the opportunities and challenges ahead. “The Horticulture Department at Auburn is one of the largest in the country and has a history of strong leadership and faculty commitment to our students,” Sibley said. “I look forward to continuing that tradition.” Sibley and his wife, Brigitte, have five children, ranging from an Auburn University senior to a firstgrader. Sibley succeeds Dave Williams, who led the department since 2006 and will return to his position on the faculty. n

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Retirement Leads Newby B w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g



By Debra Davis


erry Newby’s love of farming brought him to Montgomery as president of the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance in 1998. This month, that love is taking him back home as he retires as president. The Limestone County native says he’s excited about seeing more of his family, studying his Bible and being more active at Sardis Springs Baptist Church. “I’m looking forward to spending more time with my mama and my wife and being with my grandchildren,” said Newby, whose face lights up when he talks about his grandchildren, Madalyn and “Newby” (Jerry Allen III). “My family has done a good job of farming while I was gone, and I’m going to try to stay out of their way. I see this as a real opportunity to change gears and unwind.” Newby Farms operates in north Alabama and southern-middle Tennessee. The diversified farm includes cotton, corn, wheat, soybeans and stocker calves and enjoyed a good harvest in 2012. The recent death of his father, perhaps, heightened Newby’s desire for home and family. When he came to Montgomery, Newby said he intended to move his family with him, but it became apparent that it was better to uproot himself than his entire family. “My children were able to finish high school with their friends and be near the farm and family,” Newby said. “Our oldest daughter, Elizabeth, is married to Justin Crow. Our son, Jerry Allen, is married to Ashley, and they have our two grandchildren. Elizabeth and Jerry Allen are both partners in Newby

At left; Dianne and Jerry Newby in a cotton field on their farm; above, Newby with his grandchildren, Madalyn and “Newby”; and, right, AFBF President Bob Stallman with Newby at a national Farm Bureau meeting.

Farms. Our youngest daughter, Mary Anna, lives in Boulder, Colo., where she does marketing using social media and volunteers for charity. All three are involved in their churches. I am so proud of our children, their spouses and our grandchildren.” Newby said he looks forward to spending more time with his wife, Dianne, whom he describes as “the love of my life.” The Newbys serve on the Limestone County Farmers Federation Board of Directors and plan to come back to many Alabama Farmers Federation meetings as members. “I am going to miss being with

my Federation friends around the state and the people I’ve worked with in Montgomery and throughout the country,” Newby said. “God has blessed me with being around good people all my life, and that’s certainly true when I think about my time as president of the Federation and Alfa. But, I won’t miss the storms.” During Newby’s 14 years as

Back To Farm And Family DECEMBER 2012


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

of its board of directors. He was president of the Limestone County Farmers Federation for 14 years. He began his involvement in the organization as a member of the Young Farmers, serving as Limestone County’s chairman, and then as chairman of the State Young Farmers Committee. He also served on the AFBF Young Farmer & Ranchers Committee. Limestone County Farmers Federation Board Member Billy Maples nominated Newby for Federation president 14 years ago and for each re-election since then. “I watched Jerry’s progression through Federation leadership roles for years, and I knew Newby, left, is known for his servant leadership style, as shown in this photo where he joined members of he was honest and straightthe Crenshaw County Farmers Federation at the organization’s annual camp stew supper. forward,” Maples said. “He’s always been very tenacious and president of Alfa, Alabama had and respected member of the AFBF worked hard. He was the right permore catastrophic storms than in Board of Directors. He has always son for the job at the right time.” the previous 50 years. Newby said been a strong advocate, not only for Looking back on his term as he has a greater appreciation for farmers in Alabama, but also for president, Newby said he’s pleased how powerful weather can be. the whole of American agriculture. with the expansion of the Federa“I’ve always known how imporJerry’s broad, strategic vision, his tion’s commodity department that tant the weather is to farmers, but insightful business acumen and his grew to include new divisions for it can also mean everything to our expertise in the area of cotton polhay and forage; wildlife; bee and company,” he said. “The storms we icy have been invaluable. We will honey; greenhouse, nursery and sod; had were unprecedented in frequen- miss his leadership and his fellowequine; and meat goats and sheep. cy and severity, but Alfa took care ship, and we wish Jerry and Dianne Growth in the Agriculture in the of its policyholders. Alfa is a strona long and happy retirement.” Classroom program, development of ger company today because of those Among Newby’s closest associthe Ag Tag, creation of the Alabama storms and the steps we’ve taken ates at Alfa is Al Scott, who serves to prepare for them and service our as chief legal counsel for the compa- Farmers Agricultural Foundation, passage of the Family Farm Presercustomers. I hope our members and ny. He describes Newby as compasvation Act and defeating Amendpolicyholders never have to face sionate, caring and benevolent. storms like that again.” “Mr. Newby is a servant leader,” ment 1 in 2003 all occurred under his leadership. But in his usual selfReflecting on his years as Scott said. “It’s the same leadership less manner, Newby is quick to give president, Newby said the bigstyle you see in the Bible. He leads gest highlight would be Alabama’s with humility, and he leads by serv- credit to others. “The Federation’s success comes re-affiliation with the American ing others. He has an abiding regard from the fact that it is a true grassFarm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and concern for people. He not only roots organization,” Newby said. in 2006. He said he believes Farm insists that people be treated fairly, “The Alabama Farmers Federation Bureau gives Alabama farmers but that they also be treated with has great leaders all over the state. greater opportunities to develop respect.” I want to thank everyone for doing their leadership skills, pointing to Scott said he admires Newby’s their part in making and keeping the election of Townsend Kyser of Christian faith. our organization strong.” Hale County (2008) and Will Gilmer “He loves his family, he loves Newby said he’s excited about of Lamar County (2010) as AFBF farming, and he loves people,” going home. Young Farmers & Ranchers CommScott said. “If he ever took time “Time just flew by,” he said. ittee chairmen. away from Alfa, or if he ever had a “Life is short. It can seem long AFBF President Bob Stallman spare moment, you could be pretty when you’re living it, but looking said Newby stands out in a long line sure that he was doing something back, it’s very short. I’m excited of distinguished agricultural leaders pertaining to those four things: his about working outside again, and from Alabama. faith, his family, farming or other hopefully they’ll still let me pick “Because of Jerry, not only is the people.” Alabama Farmers Federation stronPrior to his election as president, some cotton.” n ger, but so is the AFBF,” Stallman Newby served as a vice president of said. “He has been an influential the organization and as a member w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g



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35 Years of Experience

Auburn University Feed Mill To Hatch New Industry Leaders By Debra Davis


uburn University is taking advantage of its strategic location in the U.S. Broiler Belt by offering a program unlike any other in the region. The university held a ribbon cutting ceremony at its new Poultry and Animal Nutrition Center Nov. 16. Poultry contributes more than $10 billion annually to Alabama’s economy and is the leading agriculture revenue segment in the state. The state ranks third nationally in broiler production and 14th in eggs. All those chickens have one thing in common — they eat…a lot. “If you look at the cost of raising an animal and producing protein from it, 60-70 percent of the cost is really the feed that goes into that animal,” said Dr. Don Conner, Auburn’s Poultry Department head. “So, it’s imperative that we are cost effective when it comes to that feed, and a lot is achieved through quality control. If we are more efficient in feed production by using better manufacturing techniques, that makes the animal agriculture industry a lot more efficient and productive.” The $7-million feed mill is located north of Auburn, just off Auburn Lakes Road. Ground was broken in May 2010, but the idea for the feed mill hatched two years earlier when an AU staffer saw video of an academic feed mill from California Polytechnic State University at the International Poultry Expo/International Feed Expo. Auburn graduate Mitchell Pate, director of the AU Poultry Research Unit, returned to the university in 2006 to head up Auburn’s Poultry Research and Extension Center. One of his primary duties was to spearhead relocation of the university’s poultry farm to the north Auburn campus. That was to be accomplished in three phases: first, the feed mill; second, broiler houses; and third, a processing plant. DECEMBER 2012

From left, Dr. Don Conner, Auburn’s Poultry Department head; Mitchell Pate, director of the AU Poultry Research Unit; and Alabama Farmers Federation Poultry Division Director Guy Hall tour the new feed mill.

While phase two and three are still being planned, it’s obvious Pate is excited about what the new feed mill can bring to the future of the poultry industry and to Auburn students. “This facility will provide hands-on training, and we hope it will be run by students,” he said. “There is no other place in the Southeast that can offer that experience.” Alabama Farmers Federation Poultry Division Director Guy Hall said improving feed efficiency and industry profitability by training 23

feed mill personnel and students with state-of-the-art feed mill technology will help secure the poultry industry as an economic engine for Southern agriculture. Pate said he expects grain farmers to benefit from the new mill, too. He said by touring the facility, farmers see how what they’ve grown is converted into a complete feed. “We are hopeful that students will start using the Poultry and Animal Nutrition Center for course work in the spring semester of 2013,” Pate said. n w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

G R A I N S 0f T R U T H Alabama Wheat and Feed Grain Farmers grow food, fuel and freedom. The state’s livestock, poultry and catfish rely on a healthy diet of corn and other grains for energy and nutrition. Grain farmers are proud partners in helping Alabama’s $4 billion animal agriculture industry provide safe, delicious beef, pork, poultry and fish for America’s dinner tables.


House Ag Committee Chair Brings Farm Bill Debate To Alabama By Melissa Martin and Mary Johnson


ouse Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., recently spoke with farmers in Cullman and Pike counties about the future of the farm bill. At Stone Bridge Farms in Cullman, Lucas was the special guest of U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., and both addressed a crowded room of farmers and legislators. Aderholt said hosting the lunch session with Lucas was a good way for farmers to voice their concerns in an informal setting. “Farmers need to know what to expect and how to plan, and having a farm bill is so important,” Aderholt said. “The greatest mistake we as Americans can make is looking to the rest of the world for our agricultural products. Chairman Lucas is committed to making sure farmers have a voice in Washington.” Lucas, the U.S. Representative for Oklahoma’s 3rd District, is a fifth-generation farmer and said he understands the worries and problems farmers face everyday. Addressing concerns of the tabled farm bill, Lucas said the House has to make sure the 2012 farm bill represents all commodities, not just farmers who raise energy crops. “When we get it wrong, the effect is dramatic. Getting farm bill policy right is so important to the future of American agriculture,” he said. “We can’t make it rain, but we can provide crop insurance and other safety nets for rural America.” Lucas said fixing the problems with the food stamps program is a requirement before consensus will be achieved. The food stamp program makes up 80 percent of the farm bill budget. “We want to help those who


From left; House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla.; Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry Newby; and U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala.

need help, but let’s first make sure the people who are receiving this help actually qualify for it,” Lucas said. “The language in the bill needs to reflect that before we pass a bill that will negatively impact who it’s supposed to protect.” Prior to his Cullman trip, Lucas joined U.S. Rep Martha Roby, R-Ala., for a meeting with south Alabama farmers at the Talbot farm in the Tarentum Community between Troy and Brundidge. Roby, who serves on the House Agriculture Committee, said Lucas has been a tremendous advocate for 25

agriculture. She said he is doing all he can to address the concerns of American farmers. “Everything you have brought to me, I have delivered those messages to our chairman, and he has honored that to the best of his ability,” Roby told farmers. “As a result, we have a farm bill that we have voted out of committee.” The 2008 Farm Bill expired Sept. 30. The House Agriculture Committee passed a 2012 farm bill, but it has yet to be voted on in the House. The Senate passed its version in June. n w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

By Lois Chaplin


he holidays come at a good time for gardeners — between gardening seasons — when all the regrouping, restocking, and planning happens and when wish lists are made. So, this is a chance to give the gardener on your Christmas list something to be excited about. Perhaps you already know what they want or need. Good for you. You can turn the page. However, if you need ideas, there are many options — from almost diamond-studded stainless steel digging tools to a truckload of manure. Here are a few to get you started. The first is an experience — a couple of days at the 27th Annual Southern Gardening Symposium at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga. It takes place Jan. 25-27, 2013, and brings together gardeners from the region to hear interesting speakers on a variety of gardening topics. The times between programs are always lots of fun, too. Your gardener will love the silent auction, which is a great opportunity to pick up a special plant. Learn more about it by checking educational programs at This is the priciest of the ideas, but it can also double as a weekend getaway, especially if there is another party who enjoys gardening, golf or bicycling. Gardeners love to get “big”

useful items that they might not buy or install for themselves. These make good family gifts to share among several givers. Some possibilities include a big-wheeled garden cart, a large and colorful glazed garden container, a raised bed, a garden fountain, a compost tumbler, a blueberry hedge or an assortment of fruit trees (planting labor included), a drip irrigation system, or a gazebo or nice swing to enjoy a view of the garden. If watering is a chore that limits gardening success for your gardener, seriously consider the drip irrigation option, especially for lots of containers. It will take some time to set up, but you’ll certainly have an early start. You can buy kits for a few pots or a-la-carte components to create a customized system for flowers, shrubs and the vegetable garden. Smaller things that fit under the tree include last-a-lifetime Felco pruners (mine are 35 years old), rubber-tipped gardening gloves, elbow length gloves for pruning thorny plants, a gift certificate to a favorite garden center, a new trowel, a classic Haws watering can designed for

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

balance and ease, or a durable bird feeder such as the Droll Yankee brand. Folks who like to challenge the weather will appreciate season extenders such as a pop-up cold frame or minigreenhouse, and frost protection items such as Wall-OWater or frost tunnels. Our frost cloths allow us to harvest lettuce and greens all winter long. It’s amazing how much difference just a few degrees of extra warmth can make to the growth of cool-weather greens through winter. Season extender tools such as shade cloth will also make salad greens last a little longer in spring by keeping them cooler. If you know someone new to gardening or a first-time homeowner, start with a good basic book, such as the Southern Living Garden Book. Finally, there are always houseplants and a beautiful cachepot for just about anyone, even those who don’t do a lot of digging outdoors. If you are a gardener reading this, there may still be time to make your own wish list to share with loved ones unless, of course, you really do need a new tie or set of dish towels. n _________________________________

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



ALABAMA Just in time for the


A collection of recipes from Alabama’s A collection of recipes from Alabama’s farmfarm families and country cooks families and country cooks.


s d e e F g n i m r a F A M A ALAB F a v o ri te

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shipping address: name: ______________________________________________________ address: ____________________________________________________ City: ________________________________________________________ State: _______________________________________________________ ZiP: _________________________________________________________ Daytime phone #: _________________________________________ Federation membership number: _______________________

Fruit Salsa, p. 10

Lasagna, p. 134

Alabama Farmers Federation

Red Velvet Cake, p. 162

mail order form and check to: Journal Communications c/o retail Fulfillment Center 725 Cool Springs blvd., Suite 400, Franklin, tn 37067 Make check payable to Journal Communications all orders are shipped via Media Mail (10-14 business days upon receipt of your order). if you need faster shipping (Priority Mail for 5-7 business days), add $5 to your order for the first book and $2 for any additional copies.

Banana Nut Bread ½ cup shortening 1 2/3 cup sugar 3 ripe bananas, chopped 2 eggs 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 1 cup chopped pecans ½ cup sour cream Powdered sugar

In a mixing bowl, mix together shortening, sugar and bananas. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt, then add to the banana mixture. Stir in the pecans. Fold in sour cream. Grease 3 small (8-X 3¼-inch) loaf pans, and dust with powdered sugar. Bake at 345 F for 30 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. By Kellie Henderson


ora Rider of Monroe County loves Christmas and says the cooking and decorating of the season are some of her favorite pastimes. “I can remember making things to go on our tree when I was a little girl, and going to get our Christmas tree was such a big event. Of course, now I just go get it out of the box,” she said with a joyful giggle. “Now my granddaughter Hannah Grace is old enough to help me make Christmas cookies, and we’re both looking forward to that. She sets up the Christmas village decorations for me every year,” Rider said. While the holidays mean she has the opportunity to cook for her family, Rider doesn’t wait for special occasions to share her cooking with others. Her husband, C.C. (Rusty) Rider, Jr., is a truck driver, and she often packs home-baked treats when he leaves for the road. “I have sent banana bread to more places than I could count. I just tell Rusty to take it with him, and give it to somebody who might enjoy it or anybody he thinks could w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

use some kindness,” she explains. Raised by her grandmother, Vernon Dunagan, Rider said she learned to cook for her family at an early age. “I had one sister and four brothers, and my grandma’s freezers were always full of food. She kept me home from school when it was time for a hog killing, and she took her own corn to have it ground into meal. My memories of growing up and cooking with her are so good,” says Dora. Likewise, Rider said her motherin-law, Opal Rider, has been a big influence on her cooking. “She is just a God-send. Rusty and I have been married 28 years, and she has been my mama all that time. She is a wonderful cook, too,” Rider said. In fact, Rider says one of her most-requested cakes is a recipe she got from her mother-in-law: Blackberry Wine Cake. “It is the moistest, best-tasting cake, and I make a lot of them around the holidays,” she said. Also perfect for December are two of Rider’s favorite food gifts, her well-traveled Banana Bread and her Fruit Cake Cookies. 28

Chili Cornbread Salad 2007 Heritage Cooking Contest winner

1 (8 ½-ounce) package Mexican cornbread muffin mix 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies, drained 1 cup mayonnaise 1 cup sour cream 1 envelope ranch dressing mix 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained 2 (15 ¼-ounce) cans whole kernel corn, drained 3 medium tomatoes, chopped 1 cup chopped green bell pepper 1 cup chopped green onion 10 slices crisply cooked bacon, crumbled 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

Prepare cornbread batter according to the package directions. Stir in chilies. Spread in a greased 8-inch square baking pan. Bake at 400 F for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean; cool. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream and dressing mix; set aside. Crumble half of the cornbread into a 9-x13-inch baking dish or a tall glass bowl. Layer on half of the beans, mayonnaise mixture, corn, tomatoes, green pepper, onions, bacon and cheese. Repeat layers (dish will be very full.) Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving. DECEMBER 2012

Blackberry Wine Cake Powdered sugar and flour for dusting ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts ½ cup oil 1 box white cake mix 1 (3-ounce) box blackberry Jell-O 4 eggs ¼ cup blackberry wine

Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease a Bundt pan and coat with powdered sugar, then flour. Sprinkle nuts in the bottom of prepared pan. Mix remaining together and pour in pan over pecans. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until cake tests done. Glaze: ½ cup butter or margarine ½ box powdered sugar ½ cup blackberry wine

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Mix in the powdered sugar and wine. Stir mixture and bring to a boil. Boil 30 seconds then remove from heat. When the cake is done, remove from the oven and leave in the pan. Using a toothpick, poke holes all around the top of the cake so the glaze will seep in. Stir glaze and pour about ½ of glaze over the cake. Let it sit for about 30 minutes then remove the cake from the pan and slowly spoon the remaining glaze over the cake. Cake is best if made a few days before serving. Chicken Pot Pie 4 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped Salt and pepper to taste 2 (16-ounce) cans Veg-All mixed vegetables, drained 3 boiled eggs (optional) 2 (10-ounce) cans cream of chicken soup 3 cups chicken broth ½ cup melted butter 1 cup self-rising flour 1 cup milk

Place cooked chicken in the bottom of a greased 9-x13-inch baking dish. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Place mixed vegetables over chicken and top with slices of egg, if desired. Combine soup and broth and pour over chicken mixture. Pour on melted butter. Stir together milk and flour and pour over all. Bake at 350 F for 1 hour.

Fruit Cake Cookies ½ cup margarine, softened 1 cup brown sugar 1/8 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 egg ½ cup quick-cook oats ½ cup chopped nuts ½ cup raisins 1 cup chopped candied cherries (1/2 cup each red and green) 1 cup self-rising flour

In a mixing bowl, cream together margarine and sugar. Add salt, vanilla and egg and mix well. Stir in oats, nuts, raisins and cherries, then add flour and stir to combine. Drop by teaspoon onto a lightly-greased cookie sheet or cover with parchment paper to save time and cleanup. Bake at 300 F until light brown. Cool slightly on cookie sheet before removing to cooling rack. Makes 5 dozen. Cheese Ball 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened 1 envelope ranch dressing mix 2 cups chopped pecans

In a mixing bowl, thoroughly combine cream cheese and ranch mix. Cover and refrigerate until mixture is firm enough to shape. Half the chilled mixture and form into 2 balls or logs and coat with chopped pecans. Wrap in waxed paper and chill until ready to serve with your favorite crackers. Best Carrot Sheet Cake 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking soda 2 teaspoons cinnamon ½ teaspoon salt 3 eggs 2 cups sugar ¾ cup vegetable oil ¾ cup buttermilk 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 2 cups grated carrot (about 3 large carrots) 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained 1 (3 ½-ounce) package sweetened flaked coconut 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts Buttermilk Glaze Cream Cheese Frosting

Stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Beat eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk and vanilla at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Fold in carrots, pineapple, coconut and pecans. Pour batter into a greased and floured 9-x13-inch pan. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. Cover pan loosely with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning, and bake 13 more minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Drizzle Buttermilk Glaze evenly over cake; cool completely in pan. Spread cream cheese frosting evenly over cake. Makes 10 to 12 servings. Buttermilk Glaze 1 cup sugar 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda ½ cup butter or margarine ½ cup buttermilk 1 tablespoon light corn syrup 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bring sugar, baking soda, butter, buttermilk and corn syrup to a boil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Stirring often, boil 4 minutes or until mixture is golden brown. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Cream Cheese Frosting ½ cup butter or margarine, softened 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened 1 (3-ounce) cream cheese, softened 1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract; beat at high speed 10 seconds or until smooth. n

Recommend a favorite cook who is a member of the Alabama Farmers Federation, by emailing

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


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December 2012 Neighbors  
December 2012 Neighbors  

The Dec. 2012 issue of Neighbors magazine; an official publication of the Alabama Farmers Federation.