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Annual Farm-City Banquet in Beeland Park

One hundred and one attended the annual Farm-City Banquet Tuesday evening, November 21 at the Beeland Park YMCA in Greenville.

Sponsored by the Greenville Kiwanis Club and ALFA Farmers Federation, the event was attended by agricultural producers from across the county and representatives of various Butler County businesses.

Jerry A. Newby, President of ALFA Farmers Federation, told us of progress made by ALFA Farmers Federation in working with state legislators to obtain funds for drought relief assistance to Alabama farmers affected by the current drought. Newby also related to changes in production agriculture in the last 20 years, since he began farming in North Alabama and Tennessee.

Each year, fewer farmers return to the fields to plant again.

National figures now put America's food supply in the hands of about 2% of the population.

When this nation was founded, virtually everyone farmed.

In Butler County (according to the 1996 Census of Agriculture) there are 455 farms, totaling 96,427 acres.

Average farm size is 212 acres, and the average age of farmers in the state is 56.6 years.

In 2000, 2,391 acres of cotton were planted. 1,614 acres of corn, 1,345 acres of peanuts, 199 acres of flue-cured tobacco, 27 acres of sweet potatoes, and 235 acres of watermelons also were planted.

Butler County farmers owned 19,500 head of cattle and produced close to 10 million broilers.

There are eight houses in the county producing hatching eggs.

In 1980 there were 57,000 farms in Alabama, in 1997 there were 45,000.

These diminishing rural numbers and the corresponding increase in urban population make an observance like Farm-City Week even more important for the promotion of better understanding between rural and urban people in the county.

Master Gardener Program: Master Gardener classes for Butler and Conecuh counties are scheduled to begin February 1, 2001.

This program is open to anyone interested in sharpening their gardening skills and providing volunteer service back to their community.

The Master Gardener Program is designed to train volunteer personnel in home horticulture in exchange for 40 hours of volunteer work under the supervision of the local County Extension agent sponsoring the program.

Classes consist of 44 hours of instruction in home horticulture practices and pest control and are taught by Specialists from Auburn University and the County Extension agent.

Meetings are slated for Thursdays of each week from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break from noon to 1:00 p.m.

Classes will be held at the Greenville-Butler County Library in Greenville.

Cost of the course is $50.00 which covers the Master Gardener Handbook, nametag, refreshments, awards, and banquet.

A minimum of 15 participants is required to hold this program.

Registration deadline is January 12, 2001.

Call the Extension office at 334/382-5111 for further information and class details.