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Greenhouse, Nursery & Sod
Greenhouse, Nursery & Sod

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A Growing Division of the Alabama Farmers Federation

Mac Higginbotham
(800) 392-5705, ext. 5610

The Greenhouse, Nursery, and Sod Division is composed of growers who produce ornamental plants and sod. Created in 1999, the division seeks to address and meet the unique needs of producers in Alabama's fastest-growing agricultural sector. A recent Auburn University study that shows that Alabama's green industry generates the largest cash crop in the state. It contributes $2.9 billion annually to the state's economy and provides jobs for almost 43,000 Alabamians. The green industry has been one of agriculture's bright spots in Alabama. Production by county and more greenhouse, nursery, and sod statistics can be found through the Alabama Agricultural Statistics Service.

Goals and Issues

Goals of the division are long-term and short-term. Issues and challenges facing producers are evaluated each year. Priority is determined by producers at the annual Commodity Organizational Meeting to determine a focus for the division's efforts.

A state committee, which is elected by other producers throughout the state, serves to oversee the execution of these goals.

Goals include:
  • Promote education and conservation of water usage with our customer base and communicate the need for a reasonable water policy compatible to the green industry.
  • Seek research in the area of alternatives to pine bark as a substrate for plant production and alternatives to MSMA as a herbicide for weed control in sod production.
  • Monitor activities that affect the cost of energy, and assist producers in ways to minimize the effects of increasing energy costs.
  • Acquire baseline data to understand horticulture's role in Greenhouse Gas Emissions to develop best management practices as to positively impact our industry in the event cap-and-trade legislation passes.
  • Monitor and provide input on labor and immigration legislation.
  • Evaluate opportunities to assist farmers with incorporating irrigation through cost-sharing, etc.

Members of the 2013 Alabama Farmers Federation State Greenhouse, Nursery & Sod (GNS) Committee are seated from left, Chairman Philip Hunter of Shelby County, First Vice Chairman Jon Hegeman of Calhoun County, Second Vice Chairman Tommy Odom of Mobile County, Dennis Wiley of Lauderdale County and Hank Richardson of Cherokee County; back row, Federation GNS Division Director Mac Higginbotham, Bob Moore of Macon County, John Newman of Chambers County, John Bailey of Montgomery County, Ed Dennis of Dallas County and Charles Tew of Elmore County.

Alabama Farmers Federation at Work for Alabama's Green Industry

Helping farmers address everyday problems is a key part of our mission. As new challenges appear, Alabama Farmers Federation is poised to address those for the good of its producer members. Other areas of concern to producer members are the availability of adequate tools for pest management, fire ant management, and working to ensure ornamentals and sod are considered in government programs.

Major legislative accomplishments that have helped the green industry include:
  • Greenhouse, nursery and sod production's recognition as "agriculture," thereby receiving sales tax exemptions on input items and lower sales tax on farm machinery and equipment
  • Property is taxed at current use instead of speculative value.
  • We have worked to secure several hundred thousand dollars in the federal budget for greenhouse, nursery and turf research in the state.

The Greenhouse, Nursery and Sod Division supports industry events, such as field days, and hosts a national Horticulture Tour. Alabama Farmers Federation works with other organizations representing Alabama horticulture, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries, as well as other government agencies and other groups to help make farmers profitable.

Concerns of farmers are represented at the state and national levels through departments of Governmental Affairs and National Affairs. The Department of Public Relations provides communications about horticultural news and information provided through this website, in addition to its producer member magazine, Neighbors, and biweekly newsletter, Cultivator.

The Local Connection

The strength of the Alabama Farmers Federation lies in the strength of its county Federations. Each county may establish its own Greenhouse, Nursery, & Sod Committee. There are currently 32 County Greenhouse, Nursery & Sod Committees headed by a chairman who is a grower from the county. Needs and requests from producers in the county are the beginning of policy development and the direction of the Division.

You may contact the county Greenhouse, Nursery & Sod Chairman, or if none currently exists, the Area Organization Director in your region or your county president.

Why Should I be a Member of Alabama Farmers Federation and Alabama Greenhouse, Nursery, & Sod Producers?

The Alabama Farmers Federation brings farmers of all commodities together for a common cause. Together, we can accomplish more for everyone's benefit. The more greenhouse, nursery and sod producers involved in Alabama Farmers Federation, the more effective the organization can be in issues affecting them. The Alabama Farmers Federation maintains a staff working for its members through departments of Commodity Producer Services, Governmental Affairs, National Affairs, Organization, and Communications, among others. With membership in the Alabama Farmers Federation, come many benefits.

Did You Know?

  • The 2007 Economic impact study shows that Alabama's green industry contributes almost $2.9 billion annually to Alabama's economy - an increase of 51.7 percent since 2003 - and provides jobs for more than 43,000 Alabamians.
  • Horticultural retail sales reached $1.3 billion in 2007 an increase of 53.2 percent over 2003 sales.
  • Greenhouse, Nursery and Sod receipts totaled $256 million, ranking Alabama 20th in the nation.
  • 97 Alabama farms harvested over 23,722 acres of sod in 2007.
  • Alabama's producers operate more than 9 million square feet of greenhouse and nursery space.

Related Links

Alabama Pest Management Handbook Vol. IIChristmas Tree Production
Greenhouse ProductionEconomic Impact of Alabama's Green Industry 2009
Landscape HorticultureNursery Production
Turfgrass ManagementTurfgrass-Sod Production in Alabama

For information on greenhouse food crop production, go to Alabama Horticulture Producers.

To contact one of Alabama's extension specialists in a specific area, you can reach them here:
Floriculture & Greenhouse ManagementNursery & Christmas Tree Production
Sod & Turfgrass

Ag Law & You (Chapter 1, Agricultural Labor)Agricultural Labor Management
Migrant and Seasonal Worker Protection Act (MSPA) - U.S. Department of Labor

American NurserymanGreenhouse Grower
Greenhouse Management & ProductionNursery Management & Production
Ornamental Outlook

Trade Organizations
Alabama Turfgrass AssociationAlabama Nursery & Landscape Association
American Nursery & Landscape AssociationSociety of American Florists
Southern Christmas Tree AssociationSouthern Nursery Association
Turfgrass Producers International

Gulf States Horticultural Expo

For more information, contact Mac Higginbotham, Director, Greenhouse, Nursery, & Sod Division, P.O. Box 11000, Montgomery, AL 36191-0001. Phone: (800) 392-5705, ext. 5610.

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