ALABAMA CELEBRATES FARM CITY WEEK NOV. 22-28
"MONTGOMERY, Ala." Most Alabama farms are still operated by families -- a husband and wife and other family members such as brothers and sisters or their children. "Focus on Family Farms" is the theme for this year's Alabama Farm-City observance which begins Nov. 22 and traditionally ends Thanksgiving Day.
"Most counties in Alabama will participate in this year's Farm-City observance," said J. Paul Till, chairman of the Alabama Farm City Committee that oversees the state program. "Each county Farm-City Committee coordinates the program in their area and activities vary from county to county. Events may include farm tours for school children or a farm-city swap where a city businessman and a farmer swap jobs for a day. Poster and essay contests are held in many counties and local winners are eligible for state contests."
Most Alabama residents can trace their roots back to agriculture, Till said. A century ago, most people in Alabama made their living on a farm. And while the number of farmers has decreased dramatically the past 100 years, agriculture is still vital to the state's economy, he said. Farm-City Week serves as a reminder of how important agriculture is to Alabama, he said.
"There are 47,000 farmers in our state and agriculture is still the state's largest industry, pumping nearly $5 billion into Alabama's economy each year," Till said. "But agriculture reaches far beyond the farm gate. Alabama's agribusiness industries account for 476,000 jobs with annual earnings of more than $9 billion. That's 21 percent of the state's workforce. Eighty-five percent of all jobs created by agriculture are not on the farm. Those jobs include farm equipment dealers, seed and feed suppliers, food processors, exporters and retailers."