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Ag leader goes to Montgomery

Participants in the Agricultural Leaders For Alabama program recently attended a three-day program on state government in Montgomery. The leaders included Kelly Pritchett of Pike County and Monica Carroll of Dale County. From left are Agriculture Leaders For Alabama Program Director Mitt Walker, Pritchett, Carroll and A.L.F.A. Program Director Brandon Moore.

Two leaders in the field of agriculture who are a part of the Pike County community attended in a three-day program on state government in Montgomery last week.

Kelly Pritchett of Pike County and Monica Carroll of Dale County are participants in the Agricultural Leaders For Alabama program, which is sponsored by the Alabama Farmers Federation.

Pritchett is an instructor at the Agriscience and Technology Center Academy at Goshen High School and Carroll is a member of the Pioneer Farmers Market in Troy.

“Monica and I had an opportunity to meet with our area legislators about issues that affect agriculture and the state budget process,” Pritchett said. “We heard the state-of-the-state address by Gov. Robert Bentley and our class had a special meeting with State Treasure Young Boozer.”

Pritchett said other meetings were held with Alabama Agriculture and Industries Commissioner John McMillan and Alabama Department of Environmental Management Director Lance LeFleur.

“Agricultural Leaders For Alabama is a two-year program and each class has about 20 members,” Pritchett said.

“Every two years, each participating county selects an emerging leader in agriculture through an application process. The applicants can be directly or indirectly involved in some field of agriculture. Some of the class members are farmers and others are involved in related fields of agriculture.”

The 2009-11 Agricultural Leaders For Alabama class will graduate in December and Pritchett said the program has been beneficial to her, as a teacher and as an emerging leader in the field of agriculture.

“This program has been a great learning experience because we have learned about issues facing agriculture in the near future, about business in general and we’ve had opportunities to develop our leadership skills,” Pritchett said. “One important issue that we are facing is that of migrant workers. The immigration bill will have a great affect on the workforce that is struggling to plant and harvest crops with a shortage of workers.”

Pritchett said the Forever Wild program will be debated because it is affecting farmland availability because private land is being used for hunting and other forms of recreation.

“The cost of farm land is being driven up and, too, there is less land to farm,” Pritchett said.

“There are many issues that will have an impact on Alabama agriculture in the near future and, as leaders in agriculture, we will have to face them.”