Building will help agriculture

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 16, 2008

The issue: Work has begun on a livestock exposition building.

Our position: This work will provide our farmers with a much-needed facility.

In about two years, the first phase of a badly needed livestock exposition building will be completed.

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That will mean more activity in the area in the form of livestock shows and flea markets.

It means holding together a community that has suffered for years as family farms are torn up by policies established in favor of corporate takeovers of land and crop.

Certainly the Black Belt, and Dallas County in particular, has diversified more during the last 40 to 50 years to include manufacturing, highly technical and service jobs outside the pure agriculture that once was practiced here.

Even nationally, the family farm as a nucleus of agriculture has slipped away as the country moves toward a dual agriculture.

On one end you see small farms, tended by part-time farmers who hold jobs elsewhere and depend on jobs in industry or elsewhere for their living.

At the other end, you see the very large farms and large land holdings, commercial feed lots, egg cities and large hog operations.

In 2007, the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service said about 45,000 farms exist in the state.

That&8217;s enough to warrant attention.

The first phase of the building will be a 16,000 square-foot structure constructed in Marion Juction inside Dallas County District 1. Livestock shows and flea markets are expected to fill it right after construction.

Later, as more money becomes available, county and Black Belt region officials plan to add to the structure, enhancing it and making it more adaptable for other events.

The building won&8217;t be big enough for rodeos, but officials expect local and visiting farmers to flock to it for various events.

Right now, the closest facilities to Selma are in Autaugaville and Montgomery.

We&8217;re glad to see interest in this type of all-purpose agricultural building. It shows that farming is far from old-fashioned or obsolete in this region of Alabama.