MONTGOMERY — The Alabama Farmers Federation on Sunday evening presented U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02) with the organization’s highest honor — the Service to Agriculture Award.
The presentation occurred at the opening dinner of the federation’s 98th annual meeting amidst a festive atmosphere fused with a combination of Christmas and Alabama bicentennial spirit.
Before a standing room only crowd of approximately 1,000 farmers and allies of the state’s agricultural industry (with hundreds more also attending the “young farmers” dinner in an separate ballroom down the hall at the same time), Alabama Farmers Federation president Jimmy Parnell hailed Roby as “truly a friend to Alabama agriculture and southeast Alabama.”
Parnell added that Roby is very much appreciated and will be dearly missed, as she has chosen to retire from Congress following her current term.
Before she took the stage to address the crowd, a tribute video was played highlighting Roby as “an outspoken proponent of conservative Christian values that mirrored those of her constituents in the Second Congressional District.”
“She admitted up front she didn’t know much about agriculture, but what she did understand was the important role forestry and agriculture play in her district and our entire state,” the video’s narrator says.
After outlining some of her greatest accomplishments in office, the narrator concludes, “Most of all, Martha Roby has been a loyal friend. She may not be a farmer, but she has the same values, morals and beliefs that all good farmers have: hard work, faith and family have been the foundations of her service in Washington.”
— Sean Ross (@sean_yhn) December 8, 2019
Accepting the distinction, Roby remarked, “I am honored to be recognized by an organization that has made such a valuable impact in the lives of my constituents. As you know, agriculture is the largest employer in the Second District; and throughout my time in Congress, I have considered it one of my greatest responsibilities to be a staunch advocate for our farmers and our producers.”
“The success of Alabama’s economy (as a whole) depends on a strong agriculture economy,” she continued. “And I always tried my best to ensure that I do right by our farmers. I have thoroughly enjoyed building a strong relationship, lasting relationships, with my friends in the agriculture industry over the past decade, and I am thankful to share with ALFA a deep care and concern for Alabama’s farmers.”
Roby added, “Although my time in Washington is coming to a close, I look forward to continuing to build relationships with members of Alabama’s agriculture community throughout the state.”
The congresswoman received a warm standing ovation after the conclusion of her remarks.
— Sean Ross (@sean_yhn) December 8, 2019
In a statement released after the presentation, Parnell praised Roby’s role in fighting for fairness in the federal farm bills of 2014 and 2018 and battling budget cuts to farm programs.
“Rep. Roby’s grit and determination ensured farmers weren’t forgotten by other leaders in Washington and earned her the respect of agricultural leaders at home and in Congress,” Parnell said.
Federation national affairs director Mitt Walker also extolled Roby, who currently serves as the chairman of the Congressional Peanut Caucus.
“In working on two farm bills, Congressman Roby was a strong advocate for the peanut program, seed cotton and catfish inspection,” Walker stated. “She was also a staunch supporter of eliminating rules and regulations that hampered farmers and landowners in her district and across the state.
“After her district was ravaged by Hurricane Michael, she insisted that Alabama be treated the same as neighboring states, making sure U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue saw the damage in her district firsthand,” he added. “On a personal note, Rep. Roby is one of the most genuine and compassionate people I have ever had the privilege to work with.”
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn