MONTGOMERY, Ala. — As Alabama families prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, Gov. Robert Bentley honored the partnerships that make the bounty of the season possible by proclaiming Nov. 20-28 Farm-City Week in Alabama.
“Alabama farmers grow the food and fiber we depend on everyday, but they can’t feed the world alone,” Bentley said. “It takes cooperation between urban and rural communities to provide farm labor, equipment and supplies; market agricultural products; and deliver those goods to customers. Farm-City Week recognizes the value of these partnerships in feeding our families and fueling our economy.”
First observed in 1955, Farm-City Week is celebrated the week before Thanksgiving as a way to foster greater understanding between farmers and their urban neighbors. In Alabama, thousands of volunteers are involved in tours, banquets, business luncheons and children’s activities to educate the public about the importance of agriculture.
The statewide theme for this year’s Farm-City Week observance is “Alabama Agriculture: Growing for You and Me.” It focuses on an economic impact study released earlier this year showing agriculture and forestry related industries contribute $70.4 billion a year to Alabama’s economy and create 580,295 jobs — or 22 percent of the state’s workforce.
“While cash receipts from farming total about $5 billion annually, these sales represent just 7 percent of agriculture’s contribution to Alabama’s economy,” said Alabama Farm-City Chairman Jeff Helms. “Seed, feed and fertilizer suppliers; equipment dealers; bankers; hardware store owners; grocers and restauranteurs all rely on farming for a portion of their livelihoods. Likewise, farmers rely on individual families and non-farm businesses for supplies, services, labor and marketing. These relationships are at the heart of the Farm-City mission.”
In addition to the economic impact, Helms said this year’s theme gives county volunteers and students a chance to explore other contributions farmers make to society, including providing green space, wildlife habitat and agritourism opportunities.