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February 12, 2010   Email to Friend 

Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
February 12, 2010

Montgomery County farmer Jeremy Brown feeds cattle this morning as snow blankets his farm.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- As snow blanketed much of Alabama today, many Alabamians enjoyed a day off work. State government was shut down and schools were closed. But for Alabama farmers, a snowstorm demonstrates just how much they care for their animals.

"We didn't issue a memo about a day off," Jeremy Brown said jokingly as he slushed back to his truck after feeding cows. "On days like this, it's more important than ever that we take care of our animals."

Brown, his wife, Lindsey, and their daughter, Ansley, live in south Montgomery County near the Ramer community where they raise chickens and beef cattle. It's always busy on the farm, but today was especially demanding.

"I've been up since about four o'clock watching the weather and checking on the chickens," Jeremy said. "Like all farmers, we watch the weather, and we knew the storm was coming. We've done a lot of preparation over the last few days, wrapping water pipes, making sure everything has feed and is warm. We've been checking our generators for backup power to make sure we can keep our operation continuous."

The Browns have six broiler houses with a total of 132,000 chickens that are about seven weeks old. In addition to taking extra precautions around his poultry farm, he's been spending extra time caring for his herd of beef cows.

"We fed the cows extra feed yesterday, and we're gonna go out in a little while and give them some more to make sure they are warm and taken care of," Jeremy said.

While the heavy snowfall means extra work for Alabama farmers, their greater concern is extremely cold weather and wet conditions. Poultry growers and greenhouse operators already have seen heating bills skyrocket, and the abnormally wet fall and winter has flooded some pastures and wheat fields.

View accompanying video for this story

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