Kiwanians celebrate Farm-City Week

Published 6:03 pm Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Luverne Kiwanis Club capped off its week-long celebration of National Farm-City Week on Tuesday, Nov. 24, by hosting their annual Farm-City banquet.

Several area farmers, farm-related personnel, public officials and members of the Luverne Kiwanis Club were in attendance. Sharon Fulmer with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries was the guest speaker.

Kiwanis President Randy Wilkes welcomed everyone to the annual luncheon, which was held in the Luverne United Methodist Church Dei Center.

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Fulmer, who has worked with the Dept. of Agriculture since 1995, said that she was “raised on a farm in rural Coosa County.”

“We had about 200 acres of apple orchards,” Fulmer said. “That’s what I remember doing as a teenager—working in the apple orchards.”

“The problem today is that most kids think fruits and vegetables come from Wal-Mart or China,” she said. “We’ve gotten to the point that our grandchildren may not have the opportunity for fresh fruits and vegetables to be grown around them.”

Agriculture today employs approximately 476,000 people, according to Fulmer, which comprises 21 percent of the workforce.

“It’s a $5.5 billion industry,” she said.

The problem lies, however, in the fact that today there are only about 45,000 working farms.

“Our farmers thought they’d have a bumper crop this year, but with the heavy rains, that has really messed things up,” Fulmer explained.

Fulmer added that Commissioner Ron Sparks has pushed for open markets and in trading with other countries such as Cuba.

“Fifty percent of the chicken in Cuba comes from Alabama poultry farmers,” she said. “And 90 percent of Cuba’s imported wood comes from Alabama—that helps the people of Cuba, and it helps our farmers.”

After the luncheon, Joseph L. Bryan was presented with the Century and Heritage Farm award.

On Nov. 19, the Kiwanis Club held its annual Kindergarten Farm Tour at the Tom Harbin Ag Center. This is always a big hit for both the students and the adults as the children get an up-close-and-personal look at several different farm animals.

“We really appreciate all of the hard work that went into the Kindergarten Tour by all of our sponsors and volunteers, and we appreciate the teachers and parents who also participated with the children,” Russty Parrish, Farm-City Week Committee Chairman, said.

The Luverne Kiwanis Club would like to thank the following sponsors for making this year’s Farm-City Week such a success: Derek Bryan, Janet Ray, Lindsay Kimbro and Mary Norman of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System; McDonald’s of Luverne; Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of Luverne; Crenshaw County Forestry Commission and Smoky the Bear; Super Foods/Food Depot – John Wilson; Golden Flake; Dairy Fresh; Luverne Cooperative; Alabama Peanut Producers Association; Kindergarten teachers and parents; and Luverne and Brantley Key Club members. Special thanks also go to those who shared their farm animals and equipment for the Kindergarten Tour: Debbie Lester, Donald Hilburn, Willie Hilburn, Perry Catrett, Justin Rhodes, Lomax Tomlin, Jennifer Thomason, Sharon Kilcrease, and Southwest Dairy Farmers.