Carol Pinnell-Alison | 9/19/2009 1:28:28 AM
The agriculture landscape in Franklin Parish has been shifting due to Farm Bill changes, commodity production costs and world market influences. The crops a farmer decides to plant can change drastically from one year to the next. In 2012 Franklin Parish farmers planted 73,734 acres of corn, down 7,925 acres from last year; 33,808 acres of wheat, an increase of 4,045 acres; 18,855 acres of cotton, down 2,662 acres and 3,410 acres of sweet potatoes, up 100 acres. The largest shift in acres occurred in soybeans with 43,002 acres planted an increase of 9,849 acres. We were the leading parish in wheat and sweet potato acreage and second in corn acreage. Franklin Parish ranked in the top five parishes in planted acres of corn, cotton, sweet potatoes and wheat.
The 2012 gross farm value of plant enterprises in Franklin Parish was 186,382,057 dollars, aquaculture 1,867,201 dollars and animal enterprises 17,800,793 dollars. Franklin Parish ranked fifth in the state for gross farm value. To borrow a phrase from Ray Young, “Franklin Parish’s smokestacks come out of the tractors in the field”. The agricultural producer is not the only recipient of an economic benefit from agriculture. Many jobs are related to agriculture in our parish from the employees in the farm stores, parts stores, tractor dealerships, consultants, aerial applicators, grain elevators, cotton gins, truck drivers, grain and cotton buyers, insurance agencies, agricultural lenders in the local banks and federal, state and local government agriculture agencies. Property taxes collected on farmland help support our schools, roads, bridges and drainage.
Agriculture production in the United States continues to become more efficient. The average U. S. farmer produces enough food and fiber for about 150 people. This number was 19 people in 1940, 46 people in 1960 and 115 people in 1980. The U. S. agriculture industry employs more than 22 million Americans to produce, process, sell and trade the nation’s food and fiber. This represents approximately 16-17 percent of the U.S. workforce. Only 11.6 cents of every consumer dollar spent on food actually goes to the American farmer or agribusiness. The other 88 cents is spent on processing, packaging, marketing, transportation, distribution, and retail costs. It takes the average American about 35 days to earn enough disposable income to pay for all the food that is consumed at home and away from home during the entire year.
On October 3, 2013 the Winnsboro-Franklin Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the annual Farmers’ Appreciation Dinner. The recognition is well deserved. I hope you will take a moment to thank our local farmers. They are your neighbors, friends and relatives.