Alabama Farmers Federation Honors Efforts to Solve Real-Time, On-Farm Problems

Oct 13, 2021

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To recognize researchers and Extension personnel who have a direct impact on Alabama farms, the Alabama Farmers Federation in 2019 created two awards, the Rittenour Award for Production Agriculture & Forestry Research and the Duncan Award for Excellence in Production Agriculture & Forestry Extension. The recipients address problems relevant to Alabama agriculture and forestry, which have a $70 billion state economic impact annually.

According to Brian Hardin, Alfa’s director of governmental and agricultural programs, the awards build on the organization’s strong, long-time connection to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and Auburn University (AU).

“We talk with these professionals almost daily about a variety of issues – production, big picture issues, 4-H and more,” Hardin said. The groups also started gathering in the fall and in the spring for more formal discussions about specific, pressing on-farm issues.

In addition, Alfa began considering what they could do to help support and further research efforts at Extension and AU.

“We realized we needed to recognize and thank the researchers and Extension personnel who were going above and beyond in making a real, practical difference on the farm from the members’ standpoint,” Hardin explained.

Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences

Dr. Brenda Ortiz, professor and Extension specialist in Auburn University's Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences Department, received the 2020 Rittenour Award for Excellence in Production Agriculture & Forestry Research. She was nominated by Jim Lewey. 

 

Named after Alfa’s first president, Charles Rittenour, the Rittenour Award for Excellence in Production Agriculture & Forestry Research recognizes AU faculty or Extension staff for creative and original research. The winner receives up to $10,000 in program support, which can fund graduate students or research operations.

The Duncan Award for Excellence in Production Agriculture & Forestry Extension honors Extension staff developing or implementing solutions for stakeholder-identified problems. The winner receives up to $5,000 for programming costs. The award is named after Luther Duncan, the first director of Alabama Extension.

Award candidates are nominated by Alfa farming families who directly benefited from the candidates’ work.

“This award truly comes from the members. We want to hear from the members how the person they’re nominating has impacted them,” Hardin said.

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