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