The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Census of Agriculture for the year 2012 just released reveals a vibrant, growing and very profitable farm economy in Alabama. The new census confirms our own economic impact survey published last year.
As Alabama's Commissioner of Agriculture & Industries the past three years, I have been heartened by these economic growth numbers that translate into more well-paying jobs and opportunities for thousands of Alabama families.
Our next challenge remains developing our vast agricultural, forestry and agribusiness resources to meet burgeoning world demand for food and fiber while remaining good stewards of our land and water resources. Working together with leaders of our considerable industries that comprise over one-third of our economy and work force, we can meet this challenge and build a remarkable future for all of Alabama.
In closing, I would like to share with you some of the highlights of the Alabama Agricultural Census, which reflect incredible growth during a period of recession for much of our economy:
Both Alabama sales and production expenses reached record highs in 2012. Alabama producers sold $5.57 billion worth of agricultural products, but it cost them $4.7 billion to produce these products.
Poultry and eggs contributed 85.2 percent of the total livestock, poultry and products sold in Alabama.
In Alabama, 3.4 percent of farms earning $1.0 million or more accounted for nearly 63 percent of the value of sales for Alabama products. Farms with less than $1,000 in sales accounted for 32 percent of Alabama farms.
Alabama is second in the United States for broilers sold, quail inventory and pounds of peanuts produced.
Ninety-one percent of all Alabama farms are operated by families or individuals.
2,196 Alabama farm operators reported selling products directly to consumers. In 2012, these sales totaled almost $9.2 million (up 10.3 percent from 2007).
Alabama Farms with Internet access rose from 50.2 percent in 2007 to 64.6 percent in 2012.
371 Alabama farms produced on-farm renewable energy, up 15 percent from 2007.
4,097 farms covering over 1.0 million acres were farmed with conservation tillage or no-till practices.