Etowah County earns Farm-City award


A Farm-to-Fork dinner at Cullman’s “Farm Y’all Festival” helped the north Alabama county earn Best Farm-City Committee in the state at the Alabama Farm-City Awards April 3 in Birmingham.

The awards luncheon, held in conjunction with the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Women’s Leadership Conference, recognized the work of students and volunteers across the state in bridging the gap between rural and urban residents. Farm-City Week is observed the week before Thanksgiving each year, but Alabama Farm-City Chairman Jeff Helms said county volunteers promote the interconnectivity of farm and town year-round.

“The theme for Farm-City Week last fall was ‘Alabama Agriculture: Growing for You and Me,’” said Helms. “These words capture the mission that’s driven Farm-City activities since 1955. Although only about 1 percent of the population works on a farm, agriculture is an economic engine that produces jobs, opportunity and security as well as food and fiber.”

An economic impact study released by Auburn University last year showed Alabama agriculture contributes $70.4 billion to the economy annually and accounts for more than 580,000 jobs — or about 20 percent of the workforce.

In addition to being named Best Overall Farm-City Committee, Cullman County also took top honors in Division I (counties with populations of 35,600 or more) and division prizes for Best Innovative Idea and Best Special Activities. Runner-up in Division I was the Houston County Farm-City Committee, which also received the Target Award for best adaptation of the theme and an award for Best Media Coverage and Proclamation. Other Division I winners were Etowah County, Best Farm-City Tour; Lee County, Best Scrapbook; Jackson County, Best Farm-City Dinner; and Lawrence County, Best Civic Club Activities.

The top award for smaller counties went to the Cherokee County Farm-City Committee, which also was honored for Best Farm-City Tour and Best Special Activities in Division II.

Runner-up in the division went to Randolph County, which was judged to have the Best Scrapbook and Best Media Coverage and Proclamation for the division. Other Division II winners were Clay County, Best Innovative Idea; Fayette County, Best Farm-City Dinner; Pike County, Best Civic Club Activities; and Franklin County, Target Award.

The 2013 Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Dr. Joe Yeager of Lee County.

The former head of the Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology Department in Auburn University’s College of Agriculture has served on the county Farm-City committee for 39 years.

He previously served 26 years on the state committee.

Also recognized during the Alabama Farm-City Awards were student winners of the poster, essay and multimedia contests as well as Alabama’s 2014 Farm of Distinction.

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