It’s no secret that Alabama is an agricultural powerhouse. Agriculture and forestry are two of the top industries in the state. As the No. 2 state in the nation for broiler production, and No. 4 for cattle and calves, and aquaculture, the Yellowhammer State makes a large impact in the U.S. livestock industry.
But while livestock is very important, drive across Alabama and you’ll find there’s no shortage of row crops either. Peanuts, cotton, corn, soybeans and wheat all make an appearance on Alabama’s list of top 10 commodities.
Whether you eat them in peanut butter or plain as a snack, peanuts are a major crop for the Yellowhammer State. In fact, approximately half of the peanuts grown in the U.S. are grown within a 100-mile radius of Dothan. They fall in as the No. 4 commodity in the state, coming in behind broilers, cattle and calves, and chicken eggs. Alabama is No. 3 in the country for peanuts.
In 2013, Alabama harvested 138,000 acres of peanuts with a production value of $114 million. Alabamians can celebrate the significant crop each year at the nation’s largest peanut festival in Dothan. Learn more at nationalpeanutfestival.com.
Another major row crop for the state, cotton is grown in 59 of Alabama’s 67 counties, placing it at No. 9 in the country for cotton production. Thank an Alabama farmer next time you pull on your favorite pair of jeans or climb into bed, as fiber from one cotton bale can produce 215 pairs of jeans, 250 single bed sheets and more including 1,200 T-shirts and 4,300 pairs of socks.
Corn, soybeans and wheat round out Alabama’s top row crops, bringing in a combined total of $561 million in 2013.
The more than 43,000 farms, crops and commodities are just one aspect of Alabama agriculture that is driving the state forward. Alabama is also invested in renewable energy, conservation, exports, agricultural education and more.
Champions of Change
Two Alabama farmers made the state proud and represented all of Alabama at the 2014 Champions of Change event, held at the White House on July 29.
Cullman County farmer Lee Haynes and Limestone County farmer Bill Bridgeforth were selected among 13 others from across the U.S. for the program, which recognizes local leaders in the new generation of American agriculture.
Haynes owns and operates Nature’s Best Egg Co. and C&R Haynes Farm with his parents. They raise, process and distribute eggs to retail and institutional customers. Haynes returned to the family farm after college, taking on a key management role, and graduated from the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Agricultural Leaders for Alabama class this past August.
Bridgeforth is a fourth-generation row crop farmer in Tanner. He raises cotton, corn, wheat, soybeans and canola, and uses cutting-edge agronomic techniques and conservation practices. Bridgeforth serves as the chairman of the National Black Growers Council, where he advocates for members in the U.S. and abroad.
For more information on the Champions of Change program, visit whitehouse.gov/champions.
Buy Alabama’s Best
From barbecue sauce to cupcakes, consumers can rest assured they’re eating safe, local and delicious food, thanks to the Buy Alabama’s Best campaign.
The Buy Alabama’s Best campaign and logo indicates products that are grown, produced, manufactured and/ or headquartered in Alabama. Increasing awareness for local companies and helping consumers choose local foods, in turn, helps the state’s economy. In fact, according to Alabama’s Food Manufacturers and Producers, food product sales in the state have a $2 billion impact on Alabama’s economy. Along with the food-service industries, they employ one out of every four Alabamians, making buying local a critical practice.
Retailers that carry Buy Alabama’s Best products are also recognized by the program.
For more information on Buy Alabama’s Best and to learn how you can become a member, visit buyalabamasbest.com.
A New Look
Visitors may notice something a bit different when searching for the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries online.
The department recently launched a new website with several improvements aimed at helping consumers find information more easily.
On the site’s home page, visitors can find the most recent food recalls, news stories, upcoming events and a stream from the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries’ Facebook page. A drop-down menu allows visitors to navigate the site. They can choose the exact division they’re looking for information on, and find important forms and information about the Commissioner of Agriculture and the department’s mission.
Browse the new site for yourself at agi.alabama.gov.