January 20, 2006
TFB's star shines
Texas Farm Bureau's star shone bright on the Nashville stage as the organization and its members placed strong in a number of award categories at the American Farm Bureau Federation 87th annual convention.
Texas Farm Bureau member Dale Alvarez of Kirbyville was named grand prize winner in the Farmer Idea Exchange competition with an inno-vatively modified piece of hay baling equipment that saves time and money.
Alvarez's "Baler-Mate" was selected because it eliminates the need for a second person, tractor or rake before baling hay. The invention saves fuel by eliminating a trip across each field and moving a rake from field to field. Three rake wheels on each side of the baler are held in place by stabilizer arms, and they windrow an 18-foot swath of hay into the baler. The rake wheels can be raised with hydraulic cylinders and moved to the sides of the baler for transport.
Alvarez won a year's use of a New Holland TV-145 bidirectional tractor for his efforts.
Also participating in the Farmer Idea Exchange was John W. "Pete" Gipson of Gilmer with his fence post driver. Look for features on both Alvarez's and Gipson's ideas in future issues of Texas Agriculture.
Named runners-up in the Young Farmer and Rancher Achievement Award were Douglas and Carol Lathem of Texas. The Lathems, winners of Texas Farm Bureau's Outstanding Young Farmer & Rancher competition, grow seed milo, corn, wheat, cotton and cattle near Dalhart. As runners-up, the Lathems received a Case IH DX compact tractor, courtesy of Case IH. In addition, they received a $1,500 voucher toward the cost of crop protection products from Syngenta. The Achievement Award recognizes young farmers and ranchers who have farming and ranching operations and exhibited superior leadership abilities.
Texas Farm Bureau Excellence in Agriculture winner July Danley was honored as one of the top ten in AFBF's Excellence in Agriculture Award. Danley communicates the message of agriculture by serving as executive director of the Tri-County Agribusiness Association, a non-profit group that promotes agri-business in three Central Texas counties. The Excellence in Agriculture award recognizes young farmers and ranchers who do not derive the majority of their income from their agricultural operation, but who actively contribute and grow through their involvement in Farm Bureau and the agriculture community.
Texas Farm Bureau Discussion Meet winner Jay Davis, who farms and ranches near Grandview, represented Texas in the AFBF Discussion Meet. The Discussion Meet simulates a committee meeting in which active discussion and participation are expected. Participants are evaluated on their ability to exchange ideas and information on a predetermined topic.
Organization-wise, the TFB Public Relations Division won a Presidential Award for its public relations achievements.
"This is a real honor for Farm Bureau and its Public Relations Division," said TFB Public Relations Director Gene Hall. "I'd like to give credit where credit is due: to our dedicated county Farm Bureaus and their public outreach programs. Their efforts were recognized as being `the best of the best' with this outstanding achievement."
Texas Farm Bureau was also recognized for outstanding membership achievement and for implementing stellar programs serving its members the past year. Awards for Excellence were presented to the state's largest farm organization for ag education and promotion, leadership development and public relations.