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Serving Alabama's Fruit, Nut & Vegetable Producers

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

The Horticulture Division is composed of growers who produce fruit, nut and vegetable crops. A wide range of horticultural crops is produced in Alabama. We seek to address and meet the unique needs of farmers who produce Alabama's edible horticultural products, including pecans, peaches, strawberries, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, watermelons, blueberries and sweet corn among many others. Fruit, pecan, and vegetable production amounts to around $57 million annually in cash receipts. Production by county and more horticultural crop statistics can be found through the Alabama Agricultural Statistics Service.

The Alabama Farmers Federation has partnered with the Alabama Farmers Market Authority to promote the Buy Fresh, Buy Local campaign. Reminiscent of an antique seed packet, the "Buy Fresh, Buy Local" logo guarantees Alabama consumers are getting the freshest fruits and vegetables possible, and nothing tastes better than fresh.

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:
  • Monitor the Food Safety legislation in Washington and research opportunities in implementing a food safety program on their farms.
  • Increased promotion of the Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign
  • Promote Alabama's produce and value-added products as to educate the many benefits to the public.
  • Research opportunities to increase marketing assistance from the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries and monitor Specialty Crops Fund and potential grants.
  • Continue to provide input and priortize research projects that are important to our producers.
  • Support and expand the Farm to School Program and Farmers Market Nutrition Programs.
  • Maintain faculty fruit positions and refill positions as they are vacated.
  • Monitor liability issues/situations that can negatively affect our producers.
  • Monitor possibilities for alternative energy, and assist producers in ways to minimize the effects of increasing energy costs.
  • Promote the acceptance of crops developed with biotechnology to the public.

Helping farmers address everyday problems is a key part of our mission. New challenges always appear and the Horticulture Division of Alabama Farmers Federation is prepared to address those for the benefit of its members.

Members of the 2013 Alabama Farmers Federation State Horticulture Committee are, from left, front row: Jimmy Witt, Blount County; Second Vice Chairman Jackie Loyd, Jackson County; Chairman Art Sessions, Mobile County; First Vice Chairman Allie Corcoran, Barbour County and Jordan Hamner, Lauderdale County; back row: Rob McHugh, St. Clair County; Jeremy Calvert, Cullman County; Todd Cassebaum, Baldwin County; Frank Benford, Chambers County; Michael Jenkins, Jefferson County and Federation Horticulture Division Director Mac Higginbotham.

Alabama Farmers Federation at Work for Alabama's Fruit, Nut, & Vegetable Producers

The Horticulture Division supports industry events, such as field days, and hosts a national Horticulture Tour every other year. We have worked to secure several hundred thousand dollars in the federal budget for horticulture research including evaluation of Satsuma Mandarin Oranges, which is an opportunity to revive a once-thriving industry into an alternative crop option for farmers in south Alabama.

Alabama Farmers Federation works with other organizations representing Alabama horticulture including the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries, the State of Alabama Farmers Market Authority and other private and government groups who work to make farming more profitable.

Concerns of farmers are represented at the state and national levels through departments of Governmental Affairs and National Affairs. The Department of Communications provides horticultural news 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 Horticulture Committee. There are currently 28 County Horticulture Committees headed by chairmen who are farmers in those respective counties. 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 Horticulture Chairman, or if none currently exists, the Area Organization Director in your region or your county president.

Why Should I be a Member of the Alabama Farmer's Federation?

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 fruit, nut, and vegetable producers are 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, comes many member benefits. Please visit with us about these privileges.

Did You Know?

  • Farmers' return for common horticulture crops are 19 cents for every 91-cent pound of apples, 60 cents for every $3.56 (10-pound) bag of potatoes, 10 cents for every 94-cent pound of frozen French fries, 33 cents for every $1.95 bag of potato chips and 4 cents for every 56-cent can of tomatoes.
  • The average American eats more than 700 pounds of fruits and vegetables each year, including more than 300 pounds of fresh produce.
  • Alabama ranks 5th in sweet potato production, 12th in blueberry production, 16th in fresh-market watermelons and 12th in fresh-market tomatoes.
  • Alabama harvested some 1,200 acres of sweet corn, 1,250 acres of tomatoes, and 3,500 acres of watermelons in 2008 that totaled $17.1 million in production.
  • Alabama pecan production is expected to be about 5 million pounds this year, ranking Alabama 7th in the nation.
  • Alabama peach production totaled 7 million pounds in 2012.

Alabama Cooperative Extension System & Related Links

Budgets for Fruits & VegetablesGrowing Peaches In Alabama
Horticulture TopicsGreenhouse Tomato & Food Production
Peach Information for the Southeast2012 Peach, Nectarine & Plum Guide
Satsuma Mandarin OrangesSoutheastern Vegetable Crop Handbook
Vegetable ProductionVegetable Variety Trials

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

Agencies & Trade Organizations
Alabama Farmers Market AuthoritySouthern Region Small Fruit Consortium
Alabama Fruit & Vegetable Growers AssociationThe North American Raspberry & Blackberry Association
Alabama Pecan Growers AssociationUnited Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association

American Fruit Grower
American Vegetable Grower
Alabama Vegetable IPM Program
Alabama IPM Communicator Newsletter
Alabama SARE Program
The Fruit Growers News
The Vegetable Growers News

Market Prices

Wholesale Market Price Reports, USDA

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

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