By Kelly Kazek
During the first decade of the new millennium, Limestone County often ranked first in the state for cotton production. If not first, the county often was a Top 3 producer of cotton.
In 2007, the most recent figures available, Limestone County had 1,352 farms covering a total of 237,188 acres of the country. The farms produce mainly soybeans, corn, cotton and hay, while some are livestock farms. There are 48,500 farms statewide with a total acreage of 9 million, according to the National Agriculture Statistics Service.
In 2009, Limestone County farmers raised 22,900 head of cattle, which places the county at No. 21 in the state. However, the county ranks No. 16 in beef cattle.
As development continues to encroach on cotton acreage, the county’s ranking dropped to ninth in the state in 2009, with 11,000 acres harvested and 16,300 bales produced, according to Buddy Adamson of the Alabama Farmers Federation.
In 2008, Limestone County farmers harvested 14,900 acres of cotton. Figures for the 2010 harvest are not available, Adamson said.
But as cotton dwindled, production of soybeans increased.
Limestone County ranked first in the state in soybeans with 63,900 acres harvested.
We ranked second in two commodities: corn and peaches.
In 2009, local farmers harvested 23,100 acres of corn. Lawrence County ranked No. 1 in corn, with 34,700 acres harvested.
The county was ranked second in peach production for the fourth-straight year, with a yield of 280 tons in 2009. Chilton County ranked first with 2,810 tons; Blount was third with 170 tons. The three counties produced most all of the state’s 3,500-ton peach harvest.