Bringing communities together to recognize and deepen the understanding and differences between farm and city life is the goal of Farm-City Week program, Nov. 22-28.
During the week leading up to Thanksgiving every year, they take time to celebrate activities that promote agriculture and bridge the gap of understanding between farmers and their city neighbors. These efforts can help children grow into adulthood and leadership roles with a greater appreciation for the interdependence of food and fiber system. At the same time, it helps adults learn to overcome misconceptions about farming, which are often fueled by activists and social media.
This year’s 2019 Farm-City theme is “Keep Alabama Growing.” The theme provides hints to the contributions agriculture and forestry make to the state’s economy, workforce, nutrition and society.
American Farm Bureau Federation recently released its Feeding the Economy study, which showed Alabama’s agriculture and food industries account for more than 312,000 direct jobs; $8 billion in wages; $34.7 billion in economic output; $8.3 billion in business taxes; and $551.6 millions in exports. When indirect jobs are counted, employment jumps to more than 579,000, and output exceeds $83.8 billion. These impacts demonstrate how agriculture and forestry play an important role in Alabama’s vitality, despite declining farm numbers.
According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture released this year, the state’s total number of farms declined to about 40,000, a loss of 2,600 farms since 2012. In short, fewer farmers are producing more food and fiber on less land with fewer inputs.
They’re helping to “Keep Alabama Growing.”
To help promote Farm-City Week, the St. Clair County Extension Office held their annual Farm-City Banquet on Monday, Nov. 18 at the Pell City Civic Center. 4-H’ers from across the county were recognized for their winning Farm-City posters and essays.
The Coosa-Evangreen Farms was recognized as an Alabama Bicentennial Farm by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries. The award was presented by Mrs. Amy Belcher. A Bicentennial Farm is one that has been in the same family for at least 200 years and currently has some agricultural activities on the farm. The farm must include at least forty acres of land and be owned by the applicant or nominee, who must reside in Alabama. To date, only eight farms have been recognized in the state.
Banquet keynote speaker was Richard Banks, Content Strategist and Creator and Owner of Content Creations Inc. Pell City Mayor Bill Pruitt welcomed everyone; Brooke Perry, St. Clair County 4-H’er and Alabama 4-H Ambassador led the pledge, and Teresa Carden and Donnie Todd, Wingnuts group members, performed the national anthem along with a few other numbers during dinner.
“We greatly appreciate everyone who made this banquet a success including the St. Clair County Farmers Federation, St. Clair County Farmers Federation Women’s Leadership Committee, St. Clair County Farm-City Committee, St. Clair County Master Gardener volunteers, Becky Staples, 4-H Agent Assistant, and the rest of the St. Clair County Extension staff,” said Lee Ann Clark, County Extension Coordinator.
This year’s poster contest winners in the K-3rd grade division were: 1st place—LilyAnn Reynolds, AES 2nd grader, Debra Hill, teacher; 2nd place—Sara Kate Wilson, AES 3rd grader, Milena Chavis, teacher; and 3rd place winner—Kyler Robertson, AES 2nd grader, Debra Hill, teacher.
Honorable Mentions in the K-3rd grade division were (in no particular order): Camille Mostella, AES 2nd grader, Debra Hill, teacher; Johnathan Brogdon. AES 2nd grader, Kimalla Ogle, teacher; Alexis Roberts, AES 2nd grader, Kimalla Ogle, teacher; Ava Broadhead, AES 2nd grader, Kimalla Ogle, teacher; Levi Burnett, AES 2nd grader, Kimalla Ogle, teacher; Preston Jenkins, AES 2nd grader, Kimalla Ogle, teacher; Raylin Kitchens, AES 2nd grader, Kimalla Ogle, teacher; Canaan Tallent, AES 2nd grader, Kimalla Ogle, teacher; Riley Hill, AES 3rd grader, Jessica Weldon, teacher; and Georgia Shull, AES 3rd grader, Milena Chavis, teacher.