Changing Face of Agriculture Tour Held in Madison County
The tour group included Congressmen, Senators, three state legislators, assistant to the Mayor of Huntsville, county commissioners, sponsor representatives from Farmers Federation and Alabama Farm Credit, as well as NRCS/SWCD members.
On October 13, Madison County SWCD/NRCS hosted the annual "Changing Face of Agriculture Tour." The 55 participants included city, county and state officials; congressional members and their staff; NRCS/SWCD staff from Madison, Lawrence, and Cullman Counties; agri-science teachers; and interested others.
The purpose of the tour was to learn about area farming operations and challenges, and how the different agencies can help.
The group endured the rainy weather to tour a hoop house on the Turner Farm, a new irrigation system on the Bragg farm, corn processing at Scivally Grain Company, farms, and other areas in varying stages of cleaning and rebuilding following the 2011 tornados.
The tour group saw neighborhoods where some rebuilding is being done and other places where clean up has not even started. Some homes are abandoned, the people had just moved on. They toured streets that used to be bussling with no vacant lots before the tornadoes, now only a few houses remain.
They saw fields where farmers had to spend up to $25 K to get their fields cleaned of tornado debris before gathering or planting their crops. In one area, a huge supermarket and pharmacy were destroyed and much of the debris was found in wheat fields nearby. Another farmer was ready to plant corn but had to bring in extra hands to walk through the fields to remove the tornado debris before they could plant. In still another area eight irrigation spans plus grain silos destroyed.
Dr. Bill Puckett, NRCS State Conservationist said, "Only two percent of the people farm any more and farm tours like these are very important."