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Farm-City Banquet announces this year’s award winners

The annual Franklin County Farm-City Awards Banquet resumed this year, after skipping this past year in deference to COVID-19 precautions. Presented by the Franklin County Extension and the Farm-City Planning Committee, it took place at the A.W. Todd Centre in Russellville.

“The Farm-City Banquet is a good way to bring members of the community together for fellowship and to recognize Franklin County’s achievements in agriculture,” said Franklin County Extension Director Katernia Cole-Coffey.

Cole-Coffey gave the overview and welcoming remarks, and she and Derek Jackson, president of the Franklin County Farmers Federation, presented the awards.

Jackson said the evening presented a wonderful opportunity for recognizing Franklin County farmers.

Judge Barry Moore lead the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Rev. Charles Dale gave the Farm-City prayer. Afterward, dinner was served, followed by the presentation of the awards.

“The Farm-City Banquet brings out the best Franklin County agriculture has to offer,” said Emily Oliver Mays, vice president of Community Spirit Bank. “Our county’s rich tradition of farming, ranching and row cropping is alive and strong, and this industry has a wonderful legacy with our area’s family farms continuing to grow stronger from one generation to the next.”

David Gaston received a Lifetime Agricultural Achievement Award. He started farming at 10 years old and has been a farmer for more than 45 years. “It’s nice to be chosen,” said Gaston. “I didn’t expect this. It’s a pleasant surprise.”

Jack Hargett also received a Lifetime Agricultural Achievement Award. Hargett has been in the farming industry for 42 years. “It’s an unexpected honor to be recognized in this way,” said Hargett.

Jacob Murray received the Farmer of the Year award. Murray maintains a combined 300 acres, where he raises beef cows and calves and farms row crops, including cotton, corn, soybeans and peanuts.

“It’s a big surprise,” said Murray, “but it’s nice to be selected. I appreciate how this event provides recognition to local farmers.”

The Graham family was named Farm Family of the Year for Golden Farms, which originated in the late 1890s. Martin Golden Jr. carried on row crops until the 1980s, when he decided to raise cattle. It is now a 600-acre cow-and-calf operation.

Caleb Beason, of Phil Campbell High School, received an Agricultural Educator of the Year award. “I really appreciate this,” said Beason. “My heart is for helping youth to see the diversity in agriculture and the many opportunities it provides.”

Kristin Nunley, of Vina High School, also received an Agricultural Educator of the Year award. “I’m proud to be recognized as a contributing member of the agricultural industry in Franklin County,” said Nunley. “I hope to instill the values of agriculture in our students to help improve our future.”

Bragwell Farms received Franklin County Century and Heritage Farm recognition. Owned by Bonnie and Jack Hargett, the farm was recognized as an Alabama Century Farm in 2009. This year, the Hargett family completed the paperwork to add the Heritage designation.

Bragwell Farms has been owned and operated by the same family for more than 100 years. In 1884 Bonnie Hargett’s great-grandfather, William Bragwell, purchased the property.

The Hargetts grow hay and timber on the farm, and there are two historic structures there – a house and a smokehouse, both built between 1934-1935.

“I’m glad farms like ours get recognized,” said Bonnie Hargett. “Our grandsons are the sixth generation to live on the farm. I’m thankful for the generations who came before me and managed to hang on to the land, and I hope the generations to come will continue to put importance on it.”

The Citizen of the Year Award was presented posthumously to Cecil Batchelor, who passed way in August. The award was accepted by his children, Rebecca Reeves and Greg Batchelor.

The Farm-City Banquet extended a special thank you to Alabama Farm Credit, CB&S Bank, Community Spirit Bank, Civitan’s Club, Franklin County Commission, Franklin County Cattlemen’s Association, Franklin County Junior Leadership, Franklin County Farmer’s Federation and the A.W. Todd Centre staff.

The 2021 Farm-City contest winners included the following:

Essay Contest – Seventh Through Ninth Grade

  • First place – Lindsey Everett, Belgreen, eighth grade, teacher Mary Motes.

Essay Contest – 10th Through 12th Grade

  • First place – Jonah Walker, Phil Campbell, 11th grade, teacher Caleb Beason.
  • Second place – Jade Roberson, Phil Campbell, 12th grade, teacher Caleb Beason.
  • Third place – Faith Cook, Phil Campbell; 12th grade, teacher Caleb Beason.

Coloring Contest – Pre-K

  • First place – Kayle Cienfuegos-Luna, West Elementary, teacher Tiffany Terry.
  • Second place – BryLeigh Dinsmore, West Elementary, teacher Lisa Gann.
  • Third place – Aliah D. Mejio Garcia, West Elementary, teacher Tiffany Terry.

Poster Contest – Kindergarten Through Third Grade

  • First place – Logan Everett, Belgreen, third grade, teacher Sheena Johnson.
  • Second place – Lucas Calvert, Tharptown, second grade, teacher Tracy Elgin.

Poster Contest – Fourth Through Sixth Grade

  • First place – Heidi Madden, Phil Campbell, fifth grade, teacher Juliann Riley.
  • Second place – Bella Childers, Tharptown, sixth grade, teacher Kristy Smith.
  • Third place – Sydney Claire Benson, Russellville, fifth grade, teacher Monica Balding.
  • Third place – Madison Fretwell, Tharptown, sixth grade, teacher Connie Byars.
  • Third place – Abigail King, Belgreen, fourth grade, teacher Emily Blanton.

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