Nearly 1,200 farmers joined Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry Newby in welcoming Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley during the organization's 90th annual meeting in Mobile.
Newby, who compared Bentley's work ethic to that of farmers, said the governor served as a calming voice during the storms that devastated Alabama earlier this year.
Bentley addressed many issues facing the state, including the catastrophic tornados in April, the immigration bill, the BP oil spill, Jefferson County's recent bankruptcy and the continuing water wars. However, as Bentley prepares to make decisions to help the state, he promised that taxes will not be increased because the state will live within its means.
"We face many challenges in this state, and we don't have enough money in our budget and we know that," Bentley said. "We are going to live within our means, and however we have to do that, we're going to do it."
During the Sunday afternoon session, Newby also recognized U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., who was awarded the Federation's Service To Agriculture Award. Newby described Rogers as a strong voice for agriculture.
Rogers discussed his continued commitment to agriculture issues even after his time serving on the House Agriculture Committee. With 89 freshmen in the House of Representatives, Rogers has been educating them on the farm bill so the bill is ready to be passed when it leaves the committee.
"We're working hard to make sure we prepare for that eventuality," Rogers said.
Rogers, 54, was sworn in as representative for the 3rd Congressional District in January 2003. A fifth-generation resident of east Alabama, he graduated from Saks High School and earned his undergraduate degree in political science and his Masters of Public Administration at Jacksonville State University. He later graduated from the Birmingham School of Law. His political career includes service as a Calhoun County commissioner, a member of the Alabama House of Representatives and Alabama House minority leader in 1998.
In Congress, Rogers served several years on the House Agriculture Committee. He currently serves as chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security and serves as a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee.
The general session ended Sunday afternoon with the Federation's annual report presented by Newby who said despite the challenges the insurance company and the Federation faced during the past year, both remain strong.
Following the general session Sunday afternoon, Federation members were entertained by grammy-award winning entertainer Charlie Daniels at the Saenger Theater.