Alabama Farmers Federation Celebrates Centennial Anniversary During Annual Meeting

Charles Whatley of Lee County, right, was recognized for serving the maximum nine years on the State Forestry Committee during the Alabama Farmers Federation’s 100th annual meeting in Montgomery Dec. 6. Whatley is pictured with Federation Forestry Division Director William Green.

Contributors include Marlee Moore, Debra Davis and Mary Wilson

The Alabama Farmers Federation celebrated its 100th anniversary during the group’s annual meeting Dec. 5 and 6 in Montgomery with awards presentations and a salute to a century of serving farmers. Over 1,200 farmers gathered in the Capitol City at the Renaissance Hotel & Convention Center. The event also celebrated the 75th anniversary of Alfa Insurance, founded by the Federation in 1946.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall, a farmer from Georgia, attended the opening banquet. He thanked Alabama farmers for their dedication and praised the Federation for its work supporting rural Alabamians and fighting for conservative values.

“Congratulations on 100 years,” Duvall said. “What an accomplishment. We are just as relevant today as we were 100 years ago. Not many membership organizations can say that.”

Additional awards were handed out Dec. 6 during a morning general session where outstanding county Farmers Federations, dedicated leaders and exemplary individual members were honored. A highlight featured the Federation’s Organization Department Director Mike Tidwell of Marbury receiving the Cultivator Award. Tidwell retired Dec. 1 after more than 30 years with the organization.

The Federation’s yearlong centennial celebration concluded Monday night with a banquet and entertainment tracing the history of agriculture, the organization and music through the past 10 decades.


Leadership elections were held Dec. 6 during the Federation’s business session, where nearly 500 voting delegates from all 67 counties selected officers and directors. Officers serve two-year terms, and directors serve three-year terms. Officers and district directors also serve on the Alfa Insurance Co. board of directors.

Steve Dunn, a Conecuh County row crop and cattle farmer, was re-elected secretary-treasurer. Dunn’s election is statewide and marks his 12th term as secretary-treasurer. 

Calhoun County’s Jon Hegeman was reelected to a second term as Central Area vice president, and Jake Harper of Wilcox County was reelected to hist 10th term as Southwest Area vice president.

New directors were voted in for Federation Board Districts 1, 4 and 10: Walker County poultry, cattle and row crop farmer Dorman Grace; Cullman County poultry and row crop farmer Steve Lake; and Barbour County poultry and cattle farmer Trip Horne, respectively.

Elmore County produce farmer Joe Lambrecht was re-elected to his third term as District 7 director.

Elected to one-year, ex-officio terms on the state board were Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman Lydia Haynes of Cullman County and State Young Farmers Committee Chairman Mitchell Henry of Lawrence County.


Two honorees — the late John W. Morris and James R. Hudson — received the Service to Agriculture Award, the Federation’s highest honor, during the opening session on Dec. 5.

A U.S. Navy veteran and lifelong farmer, Morris invested countless hours spanning decades educating political leaders about issues important to Federation members. Morris was a two-time Jefferson County Farmers Federation president who served on the state board from 1984-2000. In 1997, he was selected to chair ELECT, the Federation’s political action committee. Morris again became Jefferson County Farmers Federation president in 2015, serving until his death earlier this year at age 82.

Service to Agriculture honoree Hudson co-founded the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology to encourage corporations, scientists and nonprofits to cooperatively seek answers to life’s most perplexing challenges through animal and plant DNA. The nonprofit research facility in Huntsville, which opened in 2008, is a world-renowned incubator for innovation. In addition to work on plant and animal research, the company conducts ground-breaking research for diseases that include ALS, Alzheimer’s and cancer.


The Federation also recognized statewide winners of Young Farmers contests Sunday evening. 

Kyle Morris of Cullman County won the Discussion Meet contest earlier today, competing against fellow finalists named during the Federation’s Farm & Land Expo this summer. 

Outstanding Young Farm Family (OYFF) winners Josh and Savannah McCoy were also honored. The Dale County farmers have three sons, Fields, Sutton and Shep, and grow peanuts and cotton. They also operate a state-of-the-art peanut shelling facility, buying point and seed treatment business, which serves farmers nationwide.

Excellence in Agriculture contest winners Lauren and Landon Marks of Cherokee County are, respectively, a veterinarian and Extension agent. 

The McCoys and Markses won their respective contests at the Federation’s Farm & Land Expo in August.  


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here