Jefferson County Young Farmers gathered together to spend the leap day weekend in Mobile County, Alabama for the annual Young Farmers Conference. Not only are these conferences informative and allow for great networking opportunities, it also allows many chances for learning while touring several farms within the county. While there are several tour options in Mobile and Baldwin County for groups, our young farmers spent their tour visiting Driskell Farms, Sessions Farm, and Oak Hill Tree Farm in Mobile County.
The first stop, Driskell Farms, consisted of not just 9,300 acres of a cotton operation, but also 8 orchards of peanuts, a sod farm, and about 600 herd of Angus cows. Though a rather large operation, the Driskell's have done well to keep their farm in the hands of family, dating all the way back when the first peanuts were planted in Mobile County. The group got a unique in depth look at how sod was grown and harvested on the farm.
The second stop of the tour was Sessions Farm. Art and his family have their hands in many different commodities across their farm. With about 4,000 trees of pecans, grapefruits, satsumas, and other citrus, they also produce 30 different kinds of vegetables, cotton, and peanuts. And if they didn't have their hands full with all of that, the family also raises cattle. It became clear that their farm was a staple in the community as locals continued to stop by and shop at their quaint market store while the group enjoyed lunch behind the store.
The tour wrapped up the day at nearby Oak Hill Tree Farm where rows and groups of trees could be seen stretching out to the horizon. Not only does this 100 year old farm grow shrub and shade trees, they also produce u-pick blueberries and 3 acres of of other vegetables. Tree varieties of Hollys, Maple, Magnolia, Elm, Oaks, and even Longleaf Pines were grouped together growing.
All three stops on the tour provided insight and inspiration to our Young Farmers. These conferences serve to propel their goals on their own farms while creating a network of contacts and supporting the state leadership in which they can always rely.
You can see more photos of the tours and conference on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jeffcoyoungfarmers/
photography by HL Killian