June 02, 2015
Three Outstanding Young Farm Families (OYFF) were chosen as finalists in a statewide contest open to farmers 18-35 years old who stand out as agricultural leaders on their farms and in their
Finalists are featured in this edition of Neighbors. Judges will tour their farms this summer and select the overall winner. Each family will be honored at the Alabama Farmers Federation’s 43rd annual Commodity Producers Conference in August, when the winner will be announced.
The OYFF will receive a prize package worth more than $60,000, including a new General Motors pickup truck from Alfa Insurance, an 825i John Deere Gator from Alabama Ag Credit and Alabama Farm Credit and use of a John Deere tractor by local John Deere dealers and John Deere.
The first and second runners-up will each receive $500 courtesy of Alabama Ag Credit and Alabama Farm Credit. All three finalists will receive a YETI cooler from the Federation.
The winning family will represent Alabama in the American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers Achievement Award contest next January in Orlando, Florida.
The vantage point from the rich, loamy soil on Sand Mountain combined with the outspoken nature of Lance and Stephanie Miller breathes life into the phrase, “Go tell it on the mountain.”
Miller Farms originated in 1851 in Blount County (as a reward for military service) and has since grown into a 1,100-acre row crop operation with four broiler poultry houses.
This history, plus a love for agriculture, motivated the Millers to become agriculture advocates.
“If we don’t speak up, somebody else is going to do the talking,” Lance said. “Not everybody shares the same perspective we do. We Do this every day for a living, and when something comes up that affects us and what we do for a living, I take that on a personal level.”
The Millers’ passion helped earn them recognition this year as a finalist for the Alabama Farmers Federation Outstanding Young Farm Family.
Lance farms with his uncle, Jimmy Miller. When Lance came back to the farm in 2006, they needed to grow larger to support two families. So in 2007, they built the chicken houses and, in 2009, began planting peanuts to complement their cotton acreage.
Stephanie, who thought she would never marry a farmer, contributes to the farm in the chicken houses and in the blogosphere.
“I have a blog where I write about life on the farm,” she said. “Due to people discovering us online, we’ve had visitors from as far as Washington and Illinois. I try to explain what we do, why we do it and that we are a family farm.”
The Millers both graduated from Jacksonville State University and have one son, Reed, 3. Stephanie is pregnant with a girl, due in August.
The Millers are active in the Federation, with Lance serving on multiple county commodity committees and as the State Young Farmers vice chairman. Stephanie serves as a county poultry committee member and in multiple capacities on the county Women’s Leadership and Young Farmers committees.
“What I like about being in the Federation are the connections you make,” Lance said. “You get to know one another, and you learn about who grows what and how they grow it. Not only am I getting my voice out to a larger audience with the Federation, but I’m also getting feedback from my friends in farming.”