Farmers’ Co-Op opens

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 19, 2003

The Central Alabama Farmer’s Cooperative found a new place to do business Thursday.

With special guests Ron Sparks, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Agriculture, and Miss Rodeo Alabama, Christy Olinger, the group celebrated the opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

CAFC started in 1973 as a way for farmers to combat increasing seed and feed prices by buying in bulk.

Farmers got together, purchased the seed and sold it back to themselves at a cut rate.

Today, the &uot;storefront&uot; operation of the CAFC has grown and their new facility on the corner of Highland and Medical Center Parkway reflects this.

Since ’73, they’ve added everything a farmer could want or need, including equipment, tractor parts, horse feed, saddles, riding gear and palletized seedlings.

The former Co-op store on Marie Foster Street was much smaller, and the group felt it was time for them to grow.

The new facility features a bigger store, a bigger warehouse and a bulk fertilizer facility.

The bulk fertilizer facility, because of the caustic nature of most fertilizers, is made entirely of concrete.

Not yet finished, it resembles some strange vision of a military bunker, with its concrete roof and sides.

To better serve area farmers, the bulk fertilizer will be sold by the ton, allowing them to buy it cheaper than the normal, by-the-bag method.

The enclosed structure allows farmers to load fertilizer in the rain, without it being washed away during the loading process.

The facility even has office space available for some. Woody Till, a representative of Thornton and Associates Timber Company, is currently holding space there. &uot;I’m looking forward to being here,&uot; said Till.

Another important feature is the new warehouse. Equipped with a drive through docking area, buyers can pull into the warehouse, purchase their items, load them and leave, without ever walking into the actual store.

The Co-op is also stocking hunting gear now, a new product to their line up.

Although the firearms they expect to sell aren’t hanging on the walls yet, they’ve got everything a hunter could ever want, all in the fashionable earth tones of hunting season.