Agriculture & Forestry Industries Economic Impact - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Agriculture & Forestry Industries Economic Impact

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Jimmy Miller is a lifelong Blount County farmer.

"I just think a lot of people don't realize that agriculture is the number one industry in the state of Alabama," Miller said.

He says the fact that agriculture, agribusiness and forestry pump $70.4 billion dollars a year into the state proves these industries are vital to Alabama's economy. Governor Robert Bentley agrees.

"We cannot live without agriculture and products that are grown by our farmers. I often said that I always, when I was in the legislature; I always fought for our farmers because I love to eat," Governor Bentley said.

After his press conference, Governor Bentley spoke at the Alabama Farmers Federation Commodity conference in downtown Montgomery.

Miller says the governor brought up a critical point that in order for the agriculture industry to continue on as an economic engine, so-called "farm market roads and bridges" must be repaired.

"Heavy loads are on some trucks and a lot of the feed trucks and live hog poultry and a lot of the log trucks can't cross these bridges and it costs them a lot of money to revert to a different area to go in and out. So the rural roads, work that needs to be done and bridges because without them, if we don't have that infrastructure, this industry is going to fall. It's going to fail to some degree in this state," Miller said.

The leading sectors: timber and lead processing generate $21.4 billion dollars a year and employ more than 122,000 Alabamians.

Poultry and eggs are next in line with $15.1 billion dollars and more than 86,000 Alabamians employed.

Auburn University conducted this study.

Copyright 2013  WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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