April 3, 2024

Study Shows How Farming Feeds Alabama’s Economy

Food and agriculture directly account for 334,548 jobs in Alabama, according to a Feeding the Economy report released on National Ag Day March 19.

The annual study gives credence to the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Farming Feeds Alabama message, said Federation President Jimmy Parnell.

“Farming and farm products provide security for so many American families, not just in the food they eat but in the jobs they’re able to keep,” said Parnell, a Chilton County farmer whose family runs a timber and cattle operation. “We need to remember that and support the folks who keep this country going.”

Nationally, food and agriculture directly support nearly 24 million jobs, which is 15% of U.S. employment. Those industries are responsible for more than $9.6 trillion of the country’s economic activity. That’s 20% of total U.S. output.

Feeding the Economy’s report accounts for work from nearly 2 million American farmers, plus millions of food scientists, production workers, logistics experts, truck drivers and engineers who work in more than 200,000 manufacturing, processing and storage facilities.

Read more here.

Federation Holds Beef and Forage Summit

Almost 70 Alabama beef cattle farmers attended the Alabama Farmers Federation's Beef Cattle and Forage Summit March 26 at the Federation home office in Montgomery.

Topics included forage production, weed management, animal health and insights on raising beef calves. Chris Upchurch of Clay County, Zane Troxtel of DeKalb County and David Lee of Lowndes County participated in a producer panel and discussed freezer beef production.

The event was held in collaboration with First South Farm Credit, Auburn University, Alabama Extension, GreenPoint Ag, Zoetis and Corteva Agriscience.

View educational materials here.

Bee & Honey

Enterprise State Community College is continuing its beekeeping workshops in May. The next educational series is focused on the queen bee and ways to grow a colony. The class is every Monday, May 6-June 17. The deadline to register is May 6. The cost is $30. Click here to learn more.

Submitted by Blake Thaxton


Dairy herds in several states have been diagnosed with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). HPAI is believed to be spread by wild waterfowl. While causing reduced feed consumption and a decline in milk production, the illness primarily affects older cows in mid-to-late lactation. No mortalities have been reported at this time. Federal and state agencies are conducting additional testing and implementing biosecurity measures to understand and contain the outbreak, while ensuring the safety of milk and meat products. The focus remains on protecting the health of dairy herds, mitigating economic losses, and continuing to monitor and investigate the situation closely. Click here to learn more.


Submitted by Colton Christjohn

Greenhouse, Nursery & Sod

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) expanded its Nursery Value Select (NVS) crop insurance program to all counties in every state. NVS is a pilot program that enables nursery producers to select the dollar amount of coverage that best fits their risk management needs. The expansion is to provide insurance options for a broader group, including specialty crop producers. Informational workshops are available to those with interest. Click here to learn more.

Submitted by Blake Thaxton


The Texas Department of Agriculture confirmed the Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. poultry facility in Farwell, Texas, received notice of a positive test for H5N1, a form of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. Cal-Maine is required to depopulate 1.6 million laying hens and 337,000 pullets at their Farwell facility. Production at the facility has temporarily ceased as Cal-Maine initiates protocols prescribed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Click here to read more.

Submitted by Colton Christjohn

Prospective Planting

The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service released its 2024 Prospective Planting report March 28. The report compares the projected acreage to 2023 numbers.

Key findings from Alabama:

  • Corn - estimated at 310,000 acres, down 6%
  • Cotton - estimated at 430,000 acres, up 13%
  • Peanuts - estimated at 180,000 acres, up 3%
  • Soybeans - estimated at 320,000 acres, down 9%
  • Wheat - estimated at 135,000 acres, down 34%

Click here to view the Southern Region Prospective Planting report.

Submitted by Carla Hornady and Kaye Lynn Hataway (Alabama Peanut Producers Association)

Alabama Disaster Areas Announced by USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced disaster designation in Alabama due to drought.


The designated counties are listed in a letter to Gov. Kay Ivey. Additional information on USDA’s disaster assistance program can be found at www.farmers.gov/recover.

Read more.

Free Mental Health Assistance for Farmers

Mental health is a heavy subject. That’s why the Alabama Farmers Federation is grateful for resources that can help lighten the load — anonymously, for free and for farm families.

Learn more here.

Take the Ford Farm Bureau Survey Today

Access the survey here.

Farm Bureau members are invited to participate in a short survey inquiring about experiences with the Farm Bureau incentive program offered by Ford. Feedback in the survey will provide Ford Motor Company with valuable information about the program.


This survey will take less than 5 minutes to complete. Responses will be anonymous and used only by Ford Motor Company.

Celebrate Alabama Soybean Farmers

The U.S. is a leading producer of soybeans, with the half-million farmers in 30 states growing more than 80 million acres of soybeans in 2023. Soybean farmers provide nutritious and sustainable food to people worldwide all while being good stewards of the land.

This April, U.S. Soy is celebrating Soy Foods Month and honoring soybean farmers.

Read more here.

Opportunities in Ag

Become a Certified Ag Literacy Educator

Educators have the opportunity to become certified in agricultural literacy. The Agricultural Literacy Certification course is designed for teachers to explore the diverse field of agriculture, learn about its pivotal role in society and discover ways agriculture can be integrated into classroom curriculums.

The registration deadline is May 1. The online course must be taken between May 20 and June 1.

Learn more here.

Alabama Farms Offer Scholarships to Students

The Rainwater Ranch in Cullman County and Morgan Farms in Marshall County are accepting scholarship applications for high school seniors seeking a degree in agriculture.

Get Ag-Tive

Auburn Ag Homerun Picnic

Baseball fans and friends of Auburn University’s College of Agriculture are invited to a Homerun Picnic April 12, hosted by the Auburn Agricultural Alumni Club.

The free event for alumni, prospective students and supporters starts at 4 p.m., includes dinner and is held in conjunction with the Auburn vs. Kentucky baseball game. Registration for the picnic does not include baseball tickets.

Register here.

Women in Ag Hands-On Workshop

Alabama Extension is hosting a Women in Ag hands-on cattle workshop April 26-27 in Fayette County. The program will include cattle handling, grazing management, calving simulator demonstration, trailer hook-up and backing, tractor safety and more.

The price is $125. Registration is required.

Learn more here.

Federation Legislative News

Capitol Connection Provides Timely Updates

The Alabama Farmers Federation Capitol Connection gives Federation members insight on the current Legislative Session. New issues are published and emailed weekly during the session.

To receive the e-newsletter, email the Federation's Tanner Hood at THood@alfafarmers.org.

External Affairs Joins Alabama AgCast

Russ Durrance and Brian Hardin of the Federation's External Affairs Department recently joined the Alabama AgCast to discuss the Alfa

Health Plan.

Hardin said health plans are designed for members who don't qualify for employer health insurance or adequate federal subsidies. 

"While not health insurance, Alfa Health Plans would provide comprehensive coverage comparable to major health insurers," Hardin said. "Many of our members, especially young farmers and small business owners, struggle to find affordable health coverage. Alfa Health Plans focus on providing coverage for those who fall in the gap."

SB 232 would allow the Federation to model the Alfa Health Plan after those offered by other Farm Bureaus.

Read the latest CapCon issue.
Listen to the AgCast here.

Simply Southern TV

It’s time to revisit your favorite segments from the first half of season 10 of Simply Southern.

April 6/7/10: Alabama as Spotlight State at Sunbelt Ag Expo; Blacksmith Conference; an interview with former co-host Jim Allen; Discover Extension segment about cotton gins; and a Southern Bite recipe for Stuffed Cabbage Soup, sponsored by Sweet Grown Alabama.

April 12/13/16: Wellborn Cabinet; Carnival Museum; Rural Roundup; and a Southern Bite recipe for Easy Pecan Shortbread, sponsored by Priester’s Pecans.

To find out where and when the show airs near you, visit simplysoutherntv.net and click “Where To Watch.”

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