Alfa Building Dub Webster

SPECIAL THANKS—W.B. “Dub” Webster, center, who served as superintendent of the Tennessee Valley Research and Extension Center in Belle Mina from 1977 until his retirement in 1995, was honored recently for his 30-plus years of service to Auburn University and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station in support of Alabama agriculture. Webster was presented a plaque during the April 6 ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Alabama Farmers Federation Administrative Building at the TVREC. The plaque will be displayed in the new building. Congratulating Webster on the honor are Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry Newby, left, and TVREC Director Chet Norris.

BELLE MINA—A new, 4,000-square-foot administrative building made possible by a $1 million donation from the Alabama Farmers Federation officially opened for business at the Tennessee Valley Research and Extension Center in Belle Mina during an April 6 ribbon-cutting ceremony, with those participating in the dedication of the Alabama Farmers Federation Administrative Building calling the facility a major asset to area farmers, TVREC personnel, agricultural researchers and local citizens.

“The center houses both research and Extension personnel, which allows us to do timely research and deliver that information to our growers to help them be more productive and efficient every day, every year,” said Chet Norris, TVREC director.  “This new building will help us continue to serve area farmers and also provide a place where those farmers and others in the community can come together and share information and needs.”

The administrative facility includes 12 offices, an administrative lobby area and a small conference room with video-conferencing capabilities.

Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance Companies President Jerry Newby pledged the $1 million for construction of the much-needed administrative building in 2007, saying that renovations and upgrades at the TVREC would benefit Alabama farmers both now and in the future, and he emphasized that point again in remarks at the grand-opening event.

“The research center at Belle Mina has been serving the farmers of Alabama for more than 80 years,” Newby said. “The work that has been done here has been vitally important to the health of the agricultural community in the Tennessee Valley. The addition of this facility will help sustain agriculture in this area and throughout the state as this center continues its mission to improve the profitability of farmers.”

The 755-acre Tennessee Valley Research and Extension Center, one of 15 Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station research stations across the state, was established in Belle Mina in 1927 as a place for scientific research aimed at helping area farmers increase their profitability. The TVREC, nationally recognized for its cotton research program, also is home to extensive research on precision agriculture and irrigation as well as livestock, soybeans, grain crops and ornamentals.        

In their remarks at the ceremony, AAES Director and Auburn University College of Agriculture Dean Bill Batchelor and Alabama Cooperative Extension System Director Gary Lemme expressed gratitude to the Federation, not only for funding the new TVREC facility—“There’s no way on earth this would have happened without the support of Alfa,” Batchelor said—but also for its strong support of research and Extension at Auburn through the decades.

“This is really a reflection of the relationship that exists here in the Tennessee Valley between the Experiment Station, Extension System, our producers and industry and the Alabama Farmers Federation, which represents that industry and those farmers,” Lemme said.

During the celebration, W.B. “Dub” Webster, who retired as TVREC superintendent in 1995 after more than 30 years of service to Auburn and the AAES, was recognized for his many contributions to Tennessee Valley agriculture. He was cited for his cooperative spirit that brought research and Extension personnel together and laid the groundwork for the cooperative work that continues at TVREC.