Limestone County ranked first in the state in soybean production and fifth in cotton production in recent years, according to newly released reports from a team of Alabama Cooperative Extension economists.
The reports — titled “Economic Impacts of Alabama’s Agriculture, Forestry and Related Industries” — demonstrates the dominant and, in many cases, indispensable role the agriculture and forestry sector plays in the economic fortunes of Limestone and Alabama’s 66 other counties, according to the Extension Service.
Agriculture and forestry contributes $70.4 billion to the state’s economy, accounting for almost 40 percent of its gross domestic product and employing 22 percent of its workforce, according to the report.
In Limestone County, $235.9 million was generated through the county’s agricultural and forestry production sectors in 2010. Poultry and egg production was the largest agricultural commodity, contributing 60.8 million dollars.
Limestone ranked first in the state in soybean production. It is the second-largest agricultural commodity, contributing 23.4 percent, or $59.3 million, of the county’s agricultural production. Limestone ranked fifth in cotton production, generating $35.5 million. The livestock industry contributed $6.2 million to Limestone.
Another fact from the study: Alabama’s agriculture and forestry sector is roughly as large as the economies of Hawaii and West Virginia and is larger than the economies of several nations.
Leigha Cauthen, executive director of the Alabama Agribusiness Council, credits the report with providing a highly detailed and comprehensive picture of the impact of agriculture and forestry on local economies around the state.
The report, which provides economic data from all of the state’s 67 counties, is a collaborative effort of the Alabama Agribusiness Council, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Auburn University and other businesses and organizations. It is available online at www.AlabamaAgImpact.com.
“Alabama’s agriculture and forestry industries drive the economies of all our rural communities,” said Dr. Gary Lemme, Alabama Extension director. “Without this sector, many of our counties simply couldn’t support these populations.”