Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

This letter is intended to be informational and perhaps educational.  Do you know the actual impact that agriculture, forestry, and other related industries have on Pickens County:  In 2010, $195.6 million was generated through our country’s agricultural and forestry production.  Poultry and egg production was the largest agricultural commodity, contributing 70% of Pickens County’s total agriculture and forestry production, according to USDA National Agriculture Statistics.

The second largest agricultural commodity in our county was cattle, which contributed 3.2% of total ag and forestry production.

In 2010, timberland occupied 82% of the surface land are in Pickens County.  Total forestry production contributed 11.2% of our county’s total agricultural production.

Pickens County’s agricultural, forestry, and related industries generated 2925 full and part-time jobs, representing 48% of the county’s total workforce.  Agriculture’s total contribution to Pickens County in 2010 was $450 million, which was 60% of the county’s total economic activity.

I am extremely proud of the important role agriculture plays in the economic health and well-being of our county.  Many farmers are the 4th and 5th generation farmers and the median age of them in 2010 was 58.  It’s not easy to compete in today’s world market but the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment achieved by doing a good days work on the farm is a blessing that can’t be measured by statistics or graphs.

I hope you have gained some knowledge about agriculture in our county.  I am currently serving as President of our Pickens County Farmers Federation and it is my job that I take very seriously.  I realize that our organization represents and promotes some of the most diligent and conscientious farmers that can be formed anywhere!  Farmers have pride in their work and are the original stewards of the land.  We want to pass on to our children and grandchildren fertile and productive farms and forests.

Diane McCool, Gordo, Ala.