The St. Clair Farmers Federation held their annual meeting on Saturday August 10 at the Greensport Marina to discuss business plans and community efforts.

In attendance were Tommy Tuberville and John Merrill, contenders for the candidacy in the upcoming United States Senate race vying for the influential endorsement of the Alabama Farmers Federation. According to the Alabama Farmers Federation, they endorsed 163 candidates for political office in Alabama last year, with 161 winning their election. With the influential appearance of such an endorsement it becomes an attractive asset in the political arena.

Members attended the meeting on a green hill overlooking the sparkling Neely Henry Lake on the bright August day. Among the tents and tables, the board of directors discussed business alongside the preparation of a barbecue picnic to accompany the meeting. Discussing the accomplishments of the year, they noted with pride their greatest accomplishment would be their Farm PAC, a direct component of their many successful endorsements last year, as well as the Alabama Farm Center in Clanton. This new Farm Center replaces Montgomery’s outdated Garrett Coliseum and farm complex. The $110 center is expected to bring up to 400 new jobs and $55 million to the region. The Alabama Farmer’s Federation website describes Clanton’s central location and proximity to I-65 as the ideal location for such an impactful development project.

In addition to these projects, the Alabama Farmers Federation also continues efforts to spread agricultural education to young Alabamians and efforts to spread high-speed internet access to the most rural areas of the state.

Following the meeting they held a barbecue picnic during which the candidates mingled with the crowd to answer questions and promote their candidacy. Afterwards, the candidates had the opportunity to address the crowd.

Thomas “Tommy” Tuberville appealed to the crowd with praise for President Donald Trump and disdain for liberals stating, “Those clowns on the left, I watch them on TV every night and I say surely they don’t believe this. Yes, they do.”

Despite admitting that local farmers have begun to feel the negative impact from President Trump’s tariff policy, he supported it, saying, “I think at the end of the day, when this works, it will be better for the farmers.”

He reiterated that he is for free trade but insists that Trump’s strategy will eventually result in a beneficial arrangement which will bring back manufacturing jobs. He also decried the practice of taking out large sums of debt to attend college for degrees which won’t earn them a job.

Prior to this year’s candidacy for the 2020 Republican primary, Tuberville was head football coach at Auburn University from 1999 until 2008 and has since held the same position at Texas Tech University and the University of Cincinnati.

John Merrill, also in attendance, currently serves as the Secretary of State of Alabama and has held that position since 2015. He represented the 62nd district in the Alabama House of Representatives for the 2010-2014 term.

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