Alabama Ag Facts

Taking a page from one of my favorite ranch blogs, I wanted to take a minute and fill you in on a few Alabama ag facts.

First, let me say that I grew up in Florida “spittin’ distance” from Alabama and Georgia. I thought I knew Alabama agriculture well. It wasn’t until I took a visit to the north side of the state while in college that I realized there is a LOT more to Alabama beside cotton and peanuts.

Flower at Blooming Colors in Auburn

Flower at Blooming Colors in Auburn, Ala

So, for your reading enjoyment, here are some facts about agriculture in Alabama*:

  • There are 48,500 farms in Alabama covering 9 million acres.
  • Two-thirds of the state (22 million acres) is covered in forest land. 71 percent of that is owned by private, non-industrial land owners.
  • The top 5 commodities for cash receipts are: (1) poultry, (2) cattle and calves, (3) greenhouse, sod and nursery products, (4) soybeans and (5) cotton.
  • Alabama is ranked second nationally in annual catfish sales. (That’s right behind Mississippi)
  • Alabama is ranked third in the number of broilers (poultry) produced.
  • Also, coming in at third are peanuts. About half of the peanuts grown in the United States are grown within a 100-mile radius of Dothan, Ala.
  • Alabama is ranked fifth, sixth and ninth in the production of pecans, sweet potatoes and meat goats.
  • Other Alabama crops in the top twenty nationally are: tomatoes, watermelons, blueberries, peaches and soybeans.

Alabama is a lot more diverse than I gave her credit for growing up. With so many acres involved in crops, animal and forest production it is essential for producers to be good managers of the land. According to statistics from the Alabama Farmer’s Federation, thirty-four percent of young farmers use GPS technology. Use of GPS in precision ag can reduce chemical costs and trips across the field while increasing yields.

ALFA also reports that forty-six percent of young farmers use social media.

Now that’s something to tweet about! :)

Resources:

ALFA

USDA-NASS

*Information provided is from available NASS data for years 2009-2010

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About Jillian

Hey y'all! I'm a Florida farm girl in love with an Alabama farmer. I enjoy traveling, playing basketball, writing poetry and watching Auburn football. War Eagle!
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4 Responses to Alabama Ag Facts

  1. Great post! Thanks for sharing the Alabama Ag info. I thought timber (lumber & pulp wood, specifically) were the largest cash crops …. or is timber not included in that category? Just wondering. Thanks & War Eagle!

    • Jillian says:

      Thanks for stopping by and War Eagle!

      I am not sure if forestry products were considered in the top five farm commodity calculation. I’ve emailed NASS for clarification and will let you know what I find out!

      According to the Alabama Forestry Commission, the forestry industry is considered Alabama’s largest manufacturing industry producing approximately $15.39 billion worth of products in 2005. So, it may be an issue of whether it is considered a “farm commodity” or if it is categorized as an industry product by NASS.

      Either way, I’ll let you know as soon as I hear back from them!
      Thanks for the question.

  2. Hey Jillian, thanks for the quick reply. I’m guessing you’re right … it just isn’t likely considered a ‘farm commodity’ for their purposes. Perhaps the phrase ‘tree farm’ isn’t a category … just a common saying – almost like slang. Looking forward to seeing what you learn from them. Thanks!

    • Jillian says:

      I heard back from NASS today, forestry and timber were not considered when ranking the top five farm commodities.

      However, I found on ALFA’s site that cash reciepts for broilers were more than $2.4 billion. That’s significantly lower than what the forestry commission quoted for timber products. So, it seems to be an issue of classification instead of revenue generated for all ag/farm products. Either way both are awesome industries to have in Alabama!

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