Madison County Young Farmers Stewart and Kasey McGill were selected as one of four finalists for the national Achievement Award during the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Annual Meeting Jan. 9 in Phoenix, Arizona.
The McGills, who were named Alabama’s Outstanding Young Farm Family in August, said they are humbled by the recognition.
“What a huge honor it is for us to be here representing the state of Alabama, to be on this stage and to be one of the national finalists,” Stewart said. “We want to thank everyone in Alabama for all the help. It’s a huge accomplishment for us as a family, but it’s also a huge honor for the state — for all those who helped us along the way.”
Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell was among the first to congratulate the McGills.
“We are very proud of Stewart and Kasey. They show what can be achieved through faith, hard work and service,” Parnell said. “The McGills and all of our Young Farmers competitors give us hope for the future of Alabama agriculture.”
As a national finalist, the McGills received a Case IH Farmall tractor valued at $25,000, $500 in merchandise from Stihl and a $2,500 cash prize.
Alabama was represented in the Young Farmers Discussion Meet by Lauren Cline of Lee County, while Ben and Heather Maples of Limestone County competed in the Excellence in Agriculture contest.
About 5,000 people attended the convention, which included educational seminars, a trade show, agricultural tours and keynote addresses by AFBF President Zippy Duvall and football legends Archie and Peyton Manning.
While the Mannings talked mostly about family and football, Archie, who grew up in rural Mississippi, said he deeply respects farmers.
“I’ve always admired farmers and thought there was a certain kind of toughness there — because of the tough times you go through,” he said.
The Federation’s new Farming Feeds Alabama video was played at the closing general session on a 100-foot screen and was featured on digital marquees outside meeting rooms throughout the convention.
The convention wraps up Tuesday with a voting delegate session where leaders from across the country will hold elections and consider policy changes.