Farm-City committee to tell agriculture’s story

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Farm-City Committee of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce has a yard-long slate of Farm-City activities planned leading up to Farm City Week, Nov. 20-26.

The committee met Tuesday morning to discuss the plans that will tell the story of Alabama agriculture.

The theme of this year’s Farm-City Week is “Agriculture: Sustaining Future Generations” and Randy Hale, committee chair, said many people don’t know the importance of agriculture in their daily lives.

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“Agriculture is Alabama’s leading industry,” he said. “Agriculture pumps $2.7 billion into the state’s economy each year. That’s probably one of the state’s best-kept secrets. We all know about football, county fairs, parades and festivals but not one of those things could exist without our farmers.”

Hale said it’s important for the Farm-City Committee to take every opportunity to tell agriculture’s story during the months leading up to Farm-City Week and to continue telling that story throughout the year.

“Less than 1 percent of our nation’s population is listed as farmers,” Hale said.

When President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed National Farm-City Week in 1967, one farmer fed and clothed himself and 39 others. A farmer today feeds and clothes himself and 155 others.

“That’s the reason we need to tell agriculture’s story,” Hale said.

To tell that story, the Pike County Farm-City Committee will participate in a variety of farm-city related activities beginning in early October with a booth at the Pike County Fair.

“We have a booth at the county fair each year that highlights agriculture in Pike County,” Hale said. “When people see all of the crops that are produced in Pike County and the products made from them, they are amazed.”

The committee will also participate in the Peanut Butter Festival in Brundidge.

All third-grade students in Pike County schools will be invited to participate in Pike County Farm Day on Oct. 8 at Cattleman Park.

“The students will visit 11 stations where they will learn more about farm life and several of the stations have hands-on activities,” Hale said. “The last week of October, all fifth-grade students in the county will be invited to participate in Classroom in the Forest at Gene and Jana Renfroe’s farm. They will learn about forestry practices and how to identify various trees.”

Hale said international students at Troy University will be invited to participate in Classroom in the Forest.

The Pike County Farm-City activities will also include poster and essay competitions for students.

A highlight of Farm-City Week is always the Farm-City Swap, where a member of the farming community and a member of the urban community swap jobs for a day.

“Last year, the committee participated in a couple of tours of local industries and those people in Brundidge do a good job of attracting food manufacturers,” Hale said. “I think a tour of Southern Classic Foods would be very interesting.”

Another tour on the committee’s planning board is Goshen’s Agri-Science Academy.

Members of the Farm-City committee will also be available to speak about Farm-City Week and Pike County agriculture at club, organization and at other group meetings.

To schedule a presentation, call the Pike County Chamber of Commerce at 334-566-2294.