By Marlee Moore
Special to the
Seventeen participants were recently selected to cultivate professional and personal development as members of Agricultural Leaders For Alabama (A.L.F.A. Leaders) Class V, including Salem resident Garrett Dixon.
Sponsored by the Alabama Farmers Federation, A.L.F.A. Leaders participants receive training in agricultural policy, industry leadership, effective communication and organizational involvement. The two-year program begins in May.
“We’re proud to offer this agriculture-focused leadership experience for young leaders in our state,” said Federation President Jimmy Parnell. “A.L.F.A. Leaders has the potential to impact this organization for years to come.
Former class members now serve on national boards, as county presidents and are strong leaders in their communities. Investing in the development of our future leaders is critical to sustaining Alabama agriculture.”
Members of Class V include farmers, Extension agents, agriscience educators and industry specialists, who were chosen based on a written application and interview.
Criteria included communication skills, understanding of agricultural issues, leadership skills and an interest in selfless service. Applicants were 25-45 years old.
Those chosen for the program are, alphabetical by county:
- Drew Wendland, Autauga County, row crop farmer
- Grace Ellis, Autauga County, cattle farmer and Alabama FFA Foundation development officer
- Kevin Burkett, Chilton County, regional farm business management Extension agent
- Ryan Cox, Chilton County, Alabama Power
- Will Gotcher, Colbert County, precision agriculture consultant and account manager for TriGreen Equipment
- Bradley Cox, Fayette County, agriscience teacher at Fayette County High School
- Gannon Nunley, Franklin County, poultry and cattle farmer
- Lucy Edwards, Houston County, regional home horticulture extension agent
- Scott Woodall, Jackson County, forester at W.W. Lumber Co. and Sportsman’s Wildlife and Timber
- Anna Murphy, Jefferson County, customer service representative with Alfa Insurance
- Mitchell Henry, Lawrence County, cattle farmer
- Garrett Dixon, Lee County, row crop farmer
- Brady Peek, Limestone County, row crop farmer
- Andrew Brock, Marshall County, agriscience teacher at Marshall Technical School
- Dillon Turk, Mobile County, manager at Martin’s Nursery
- Rachel Chastain, Talladega County, agriscience transition teacher at the Helen Keller School
- Zachery Brannon, Winston County, county Extension coordinator
Participants will enhance their knowledge through six intensive, multi-day seminars revolving around Federation operations, state government, Alabama agriculture, successful leadership and more. An international agriculture experience and national affairs visit to Washington are included.
“This class is an outstanding representation of the talent and potential across Alabama agriculture,” said Jennifer Christenberry, the Federation’s Young Farmers Division director who oversees the premier leadership program. “People across the state recognize the training A.L.F.A. Leaders provides, as class members serve at all levels, strengthening the future of our industry.”
A.L.F.A. Leaders culminates during the Federation’s 101st annual meeting in 2022.
For more information, visit www.alfafarmers.org.