On a hot day in July in the small town of Snead, Alabama, I was privy to a tour of a family farm that grows, among other things, peanuts, cotton, and corn. Lance and his wife, Stephanie, graciously invited several bloggers to their farm and showed us a little bit about farming life in Alabama.
Fortunately for us, we did not have to ride around on a hay wagon. Oh no, no, no. Lance created a premium wagon with some comfortable chairs that he bolted down. I told Stephanie that she should create a DIY on her blog. Wouldn’t this be an awesome way to tour a pumpkin patch or to go on a hay ride:
We began our tour near the cotton fields. Housed next to the fields is a barn or two full of equipment used to sow the seeds and to harvest the crops.
Cotton Facts: Globally, cotton is grown more than any other non-edible crop. Almost all parts of the cotton plant are used in some form or fashion. The fibre from one 227kg cotton bale can produce 215 pairs of jeans, 250 single bed sheets, 750 shirts, 1,200 t-shirts, 2,100 pairs of boxer shorts, 3,000 nappies, 4,300 pairs of socks or 680,000 cotton balls.
We moved on to the peanut fields and learned that over half of the world’s supply of peanuts are grown within 100 miles of Dothan, Alabama. Peanuts thrive in sandy soil, so that would explain why they grow so well in the deep South. Lance and Stephanie’s farm is located on Sand Mountain, which helps make it an ideal environment for peanuts to grow.
Lance pointed out many facts and details about growing peanuts – which are a legume, not a nut. He knows so much about farming and shared his vast knowledge with us. I should have taken notes, but was too interested in taking in the scenery. Below are some facts from the National Peanut Board:
- Your 12 ounce jar of peanut butter was made of approximately 540 peanuts.
- Peanuts contribute more than $4 billion to the USA economy each year.
- Want to celebrate National Peanut Day? Mark your calendar for September 13.
- Goober—a nickname for peanuts—comes from “nguba”, the Congo language name for peanut.
- Your delicious Snickers bar contains about 16 peanuts. About 100 tons of peanuts go into making the 15 million Snickers bars that are produced by Mars, Inc. every day.
Lance and Stephanie also raise chickens. They have several chicken houses, each with over 30,000 little chicks. Being that I have chickens, I was a little afraid of what I would see.
I was pleasantly surprised to see so many little chicks with a lot of space for running around.
After learning about some of the ins-and-outs of running a large chicken coop, we were taken to a field of sweet corn and allowed to pick some fresh ears right off of the stalk.
We then were treated to a nice lunch with delicious food. Stephanie and her crew had everything set up so cute!
I really appreciate all that Lance and Stephanie are doing. Farming is a 24/7/365 job. I truly believe that farmers are highly underpaid. There is so much work to be done and so little rest. And if you think about it, food is essential to life. Without it, we would not be. (You psychology students should be able to recall Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Physiological needs are at the very base, and those needs include food and water.)
The next time you see a farmer, be sure to thank them. And next time you have a candy bar with peanuts, be sure to thank an Alabama farmer.
Thanks, Stephanie and Lance, for your hospitality and time. I would also like to thank AlfaFarmers.org for the goodie bags that they gave the bloggers which included the book Farming Feeds Alabama.0