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November 17, 2010   Email to Friend 

Debra Davis
(334) 613-4212
November 17, 2010

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- As Alabama families prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, Gov. Bob Riley honored the partnerships that make the bounty of the season possible by proclaiming Nov. 19-25 National Farm-City Week in Alabama.

"Farm-City collaborations help maintain and improve our food and fiber supply and contribute to a better quality of life for countless citizens," the proclamation states. "We commend the many Americans whose hard work and ingenuity reflect the true spirit of America and help to ensure a prosperous future for all."

First observed in 1955, Farm-City Week is celebrated the week before Thanksgiving as a way to foster greater understanding between farmers and their urban neighbors. In Alabama, thousands of volunteers are involved tours, banquets, business luncheons and children's activities aimed at educating the public about the importance of agriculture.

"With fewer people living on farms than ever before, it's important for farmers to share their stories with those who are often several generations removed from the land," said Alabama Farm-City Chairman Jeff Helms. "The renewed interest in fresh, local food provides farmers an excellent opportunity to talk about America's remarkable food system and to correct some of the misconceptions about modern production agriculture."

Helms noted that U.S. farmers have more than tripled production in the last 60 years and have cut erosion by half in the last 30 years. Today, the average farmer produces enough food to feed 155 people worldwide. In Alabama, farm-related business account for one in every five jobs, making agriculture the state's number-one industry.

The theme for Farm-City Week 2010 is "Agriculture: A Growing Story." At the national level, farmers and news reporters participated in a symposium to kickoff National Farm-City Week. The moderated discussion focused on how today's production practices are portrayed in the media and what can be done to ensure the public gets a true picture of farm life. The symposium was broadcast live on the AgriTalk radio network.

In Alabama, Farm-City Week is the culmination of year-long activities aimed at bridging the gap between farmers and city folk. Some of the most popular programs are the Farm-City poster and essay contests for school children. Throughout the fall, young artists and writers throughout the state put pen (or crayon) to paper to tell "Agriculture's Growing Story." Winning entries from each county will be sent to the state level for judging, and winners will be announced in April. The state poster and essay contests are sponsored by Alabama Farmers Cooperative, Alabama Farmers Federation, Alfa Insurance and Alabama Ag in the Classroom.

For more information about Farm-City Week, visit FarmCity.org.

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