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“I'll “ I ' l l never n e v e r plant p l a n t another a n o t h e r variety variety of o f pinkeye p i n k e y e peas p e a s ifi f I can't c a n ' t have have Mississippi M i s s i s s i p p i Pinkeye P i n k e y e 2 .”. ” W RELEASE! NE Mississippi Pinkeye 2


Purplehull Purplehull

Mississippi Pinkeye 2 retains the most desirable characteristics of superior yield and disease resistance of Mississippi Pinkeye, with the additional benefit of improved emergence and survivability in cool, wet soils typical of early spring weather. “I'll never plant another variety of pinkeye peas if I can't have Mississippi Pinkeye 2. I don't want any other variety. I have tried other pinkeyes, but they don't yield, cook or taste like Mississippi Pinkeye 2. I like the size of this big pea and it shells out easy. It freezes pretty and tastes like you just shelled them. We planted late and it was a dry year, but the plants still got knee high loaded down with peas. Mississippi Pinkeye 2 - that's my pea.” - Lisa Holmes “Planted two varieties of pinkeye peas this year: Texas and Mississippi Pinkeye 2. I planted the second week of March. Mississippi Pinkeye 2 was the best pea by far. The plant was larger, had longer pods and more pods per plant than the Texas, and was taller and also grew off faster. The pods had a good purple color and shelled out better. They also freeze well. Again, there were more peas per bush than the Texas plant, plus you can pick all season long.” - Michael Anderson

“Our Mississippi Pinkeye 2 Purplehull peas were really good producers and our customers liked them. They made long pods and the peas were larger than the other varieties we planted. They mature more evenly which makes picking easier and more profitable. The new Mississippi Pinkeye 2 Purplehull will be a big part of my operation again next year.” - Bob Compton


Cooperative Farming News

Seeds for Southern Soils


Editor-in-Chief: Samantha Carpenter Contributing Editor: Jade Randolph Associate Editor: Mary Delph

pg. 21

CO-OP MATTERS 5 PRESS RELEASE: AFC Announces New Joint Venture 21 MADISON COUNTY CO-OP: AFC’s Oldest Co-op LIFE ON THE HOMEPLACE AND IN THE COMMUNITY 44 Thomas Hart: A Heart for Heritage 59 8th Annunal Food Entrepreneur Conference

pg. 34

pg. 44

YOUTH MATTERS 23 4-H Extension Corner: The Great Urban Turkey Adventure 26 FFA Sentinel: Alabama FFA Participates in the Alabama Bicentennial Parade and Looks to the Future 28 PALS: Daphne High School Joins Clean Campus Program Group 34  Alabama 4-H Grows

121 Somerville Road NE Decatur, AL 35601-2659 P.O. Box 2227 Decatur, AL 35609-2227 256-308-1618

AFC Officers Rivers Myres, President Bill Sanders, Chairman of the Board

AFC Board of Directors Rickey Cornutt, Brooks Hayes, Ben Haynes, Rick Hendricks, Jimmy Newby, Jeff Sims, Mike Tate, David Womack Subscription $15 per year For subscription inquiries or change of address: P.O. Box 2227, Decatur, AL 35609-2227 or call 256-308-1623

To advertise:

On the Cover: Garden seed in the shape of our logo to highlight gardening season at the Co-op.

OUR REGULARS Letter from the Editor................ 4

Cooking on the Wild Side......... 36

Ag Insight.................................... 10

How’s Your Garden?................... 40

Business of Farming................... 13

Lawn and Garden Tips.............. 42

Feeding Facts ............................. 14

The Herb Lady........................... 48

Product Spotlight........................ 16

Simple Times.............................. 49

On the Edge of Common Sense... 17

The Magic of Gardening........... 51

From the State Vet’s Office......... 18

Howle’s Hints.............................. 53

From Wildlife & Freshwater

Food Safety................................. 56

Fisheries................................... 30

The Co-op Pantry....................... 61

Busy Bee Activities..................... 32

What’s Happening in Alabama... 64


Advertising, Editorial, Subscription and Publication Offices

Wendy McFarland 334-652-9080 or email McFarlandAdVantage@gmail.com Cooperative Farming News is published monthly by Alabama Farmers Cooperative, Inc. 121 Somerville Road NE, Decatur, AL 35601-2659 P.O. Box 2227, Decatur, AL 35609-2227 Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. The publisher reserves the right to refuse any advertising and will not be responsible for copy errors or misprints in advertising or editorial material, other than to publish corrections of errors in fact. Feature articles, new items and columns are published for the information of our readers from qualified, reputable sources; however, the editors and publisher make no guarantees and assume no liability for any reader’s decision to implement any procedure, recommendation or advice printed in this publication. Photos are credited to author unless otherwise noted. Advertised sale items may not be stocked by every Quality CO-OP store and prices may vary.

www.alafarm.com Postmaster: Please send notice of address change (enclosing latest address label) to publication office: Cooperative Farming News P.O. Box 2227 Decatur, AL 35609-2227

March 2020


Letter from the Editor

Over the past two years, Cooperative Farming News has been through many transitions - from a new look and feel to a new Editor-in-Chief. I’m honored to type this letter for the first time and make this publication a little more personal. Family is a core value at Alabama Farmers Cooperative, Inc., and we want you to feel like you’re a part of it. We are proud to share stories from across the south and highlight the people and places that make it home. This year, each issue has a theme and March is a Co-op favorite: gardening! You may have noticed the cover of the magazine looks like our traditional logo, in a nontraditional color pattern. Take a closer look! That’s garden seed: corn, radishes, beans, peas and okra, all situated on premium potting soil. Not only do our Co-op stores carry garden seed and soil, they also carry tools, fertilizer and knowledgeable advice. What better way to start your garden than with a trip to the Co-op? Even though every article in March isn’t about gardening, this issue is full of content that we hope you’ll love and share with your friends - just like we shared it with you. We’re excited to bring you new ideas, recipes and stories each month and hope to make you proud with each issue we print. Next month, we’re highlighting AFC’s 83rd Annual Membership Meeting featuring our 2019 E.P. Garrett Manager of the Year Award recipient. Thank you for being a loyal reader, customer and part of the AFC family.

Samantha Carpenter Editor-in-Chief 4

Cooperative Farming News













Alabama Farmers Cooperative, Inc. is excited to announce a new joint venture it has formed with Purina Animal Nutrition, LLC. The joint venture will result in a new legal entity known as AFC Feed, LLC. AFC Feed will continue to provide AFC’s member cooperatives with a full line of animal feed products. Additionally, the partnership with Purina will allow AFC to expand its distribution, offer new products, and gain access to Purina’s technology, research and development. AFC’s members will continue to work with sales representatives and staff, along with increased support from Purina’s sales team. “We’re excited about the partnership with Purina and its long-lasting commitment to excellence in the feed business. This will bring many opportunities to further strengthen and establish AFC’s commitment in Alabama to our member cooperatives” said David Riggs, AFC Feed General Manager.

March 2020


DIRECTORY OF MEMBER COOPERATIVES ALBERTVILLE FARMERS COOPERATIVE Branch of DeKalb Farmers Cooperative Mark Searels, Mgr. Phone 256-878-3261

FARMERS CO-OP OF ASHFORD Timothy Tolar, Mgr. Jerome Hinson, Asst. Mgr. Phone 334-899-3263

ALTHA FARMERS COOPERATIVE Blountstown - James Lynn, Mgr. Phone 850-674-8194

FARMERS COOPERATIVE, INC. Todd Lawrence, Gen. Mgr. Live Oak, FL - Barry Long, Ag Div. Mgr. Phone 386-362-1459 Madison, FL Phone 850-973-2269

ANDALUSIA FARMERS COOPERATIVE Russell Lassiter, Mgr. Phone 334-222-1851 ATMORE TRUCKERS ASSOCIATION Todd Booker, Mgr. Phone 251-368-2191 BLOUNT COUNTY FARMERS COOPERATIVE Eric Sanders, Mgr. Phone 205-274-2185 CALHOUN FARMERS COOPERATIVE Branch of Cherokee Farmers Cooperative Jacksonville - Tommy Thomas, Mgr. Phone 256-435-3430 Piedmont - Kevin Bobbitt, Mgr. Phone 256-447-6560 CENTRAL ALABAMA FARMERS COOPERATIVE Tim Wood, Gen. Mgr. Selma - Thomas Reeves, Mgr. Phone 334-874-9083 Faunsdale - Bryan Monk, Mgr. Phone 334-628-2681 Demopolis - Tom Eunice, Mgr. Phone 334-289-0155 CHEROKEE FARMERS COOPERATIVE Andrew Dempsey, Gen. Mgr. Seth Eubanks, Mgr. / Phone 256-927-3135 CLAY COUNTY EXCHANGE Jeff Kinder, Mgr. Phone 256-396-2097 COFFEE COUNTY FARMERS COOPERATIVE Enterprise - Ricky Wilks, Gen. Mgr. Phone 334-347-9007 Elba - Colin Morris, Mgr. Phone 334-897-6972 COLBERT FARMERS COOPERATIVE Daniel Waldrep, Gen. Mgr. Leighton - Tommy Sockwell, Mgr. Phone 256-446-8328 Tuscumbia - Chuck Hellums, Mgr. Phone 256-383-6462 DEKALB FARMERS COOPERATIVE Larry Leslie, Gen. Mgr Rainsville - Andrea Crain, Mgr. Phone 256-638-2569 Crossville - David Tierce, Mgr. Phone 256-528-7188 ELBERTA FARMERS COOPERATIVE William D. Carlew, Mgr. Phone 251-986-8103 ELMORE COUNTY COOPERATIVE Branch of Taleecon Farmers Cooperative Timothy Richardson, Mgr. Phone 334-567-4321

FARMERS COOPERATIVE MARKET Doug Smith, Gen. Mgr. Frisco City - William Womack, Mgr. Phone 251-267-3175 Fertilizer / Phone 251-267-3173 Leroy - Jeff Hughston, Mgr. Phone 251-246-3512 FAYETTE FARMERS CO-OP Branch of Marion County Cooperative Kellie Trull, Mgr. / Phone 205-932-5901 FLORALA FARMERS AND BUILDERS CO-OP Branch of Andalusia Famers Cooperative Pete Blackwell, Mgr. / Phone 334-858-6142 GENEVA COUNTY COOPERATIVE Hartford - Todd Smith, Gen. Mgr. Phone 334-588-2992 GOSHEN FARMERS COOPERATIVE Danny Dewrell, Mgr. / Phone 334-484-3441 HEADLAND PEANUT WAREHOUSE CO-OP Jay Jones, Mgr. Chris Hix, Store Mgr. / Phone 334-693-3313 JACKSON FARMERS COOPERATIVE Branch of Madison County Cooperative Ramsey Prince, Mgr. Scottsboro - Phone 256-574-1688 Patricia Rorex, Mgr. Stevenson - Phone 256-437-8829 Austin Crocker, Mgr. New Market Ag Supply - 256-379-2553 JAY PEANUT FARMERS COOPERATIVE Ryan Williams, Mgr. / Phone 850-675-4597 LAUDERDALE COUNTY COOPERATIVE Reggie Shook, Gen. Mgr. Florence - Robbie Neal, Mgr. Phone 256-764-8441 Elgin - Wendell Walker, Mgr. Phone 256-247-3453 LAWRENCE COUNTY EXCHANGE John Holley, Gen Mgr. Moulton - Greg McCannon, Mgr. Phone 256-974-9213 Courtland - Phone 256-637-2939 LIMESTONE FARMERS COOPERATIVE John Curtis, Gen. Mgr. / Phone 256-232-5500 Britt Christopher, Location Mgr. Giles County Co-op - Celena Williams, Mgr. Lynnville, TN - Kyle Doggett, Mgr. Phone 931-527-3923 Pulaski, TN / Phone 931-363-2563 LUVERNE COOPERATIVE SERVICES Perry Catrett, Mgr. / Phone 334-335-5082


Cooperative Farming News

MADISON COUNTY COOPERATIVE Keith Griffin, Gen. Mgr. Hazel Green - Phone 256-828-2010 Meridianville - Matt Dunbar, Mgr. Phone 256-828-5360 MARION COUNTY COOPERATIVE Steve Lann, Gen. Mgr. Hamilton - Phone 205-921-2631 MARSHALL FARMERS COOPERATIVE Brian Keith, Gen. Mgr. Holly Pond - Phone 256-796-5337 Arab - Adam Scott, Mgr. Phone 256-586-5515 MID-STATE FARMERS COOPERATIVE Branch of Talladega County Exchange Columbiana - Barry Keller, Mgr. Phone 205-669-7082 MORGAN FARMERS COOPERATIVE Lance Ezelle, Gen. Mgr. Hartselle - Bradley Hopkins, Mgr. Phone 256-773-6832 Decatur - Trevor Johnson, Mgr. Phone 256-353-4663 OPP’S CO-OP Branch of Andalusia Farmers Cooperative Brandon Bledsoe, Mgr. Phone 334-493-7715 PIKE FARMERS COOPERATIVE Troy - Wayne Ward, Mgr. Phone 334-566-3882 QUALITY COOPERATIVE, INC. Greenville - Daniel Salter, Mgr. Phone 334-382-6548 RANDOLPH FARMERS COOPERATIVE Tim Brown, Mgr. / Phone 256-357-4743 ST. CLAIR FARMERS COOPERATIVE Branch of Talladega County Exchange Ashville - Allen Bice, Mgr. Phone 205-594-7042 Pell City - Joseph Taylor, Mgr. Phone 205-338-2821 TALEECON FARMERS COOPERATIVE Scott Hartley, Gen. Mgr. Phone 334-257-3930 TALLADEGA COUNTY EXCHANGE Chris Duke, Gen. Mgr. Chris Elliott, Mgr. Phone 256-362-2716 TUSCALOOSA FARMERS COOPERATIVE Wayne Gilliam, Mgr. / Phone 205-339-8181 WALKER FARMERS COOPERATIVE Cody King, Mgr. / Phone 205-387-1142 WEST GENEVA COUNTY COOPERATIVE Branch of Geneva County Cooperative Robert Pittman, Mgr. / Phone 334-898-7932 WINSTON FARMERS COOPERATIVE Branch of Marion County Cooperative Haleyville - Jessica Steward, Mgr. Phone 205-486-3794

Quality Co-op: Specialty Products & Services For more information, contact your local Quality Co-op CatďŹ sh Filets All Year Albertville Farmers Co-op Altha Farmers Co-op - Blountstown Andalusia Farmers Co-op Atmore Truckers Association Blount County Farmers Co-op Calhoun Farmers Co-op - Piedmont Calhoun Farmers Co-op - Jacksonville Central AL Farmers Co-op - Selma Central AL Farmers Co-op - Faunsdale Central AL Farmers Co-op - Demopolis Cherokee Farmers Co-op Clay County Exchange Coffee County Farmers Co-op - Enterprise Coffee County Farmers Co-op - Elba Colbert Farmers Co-op - Tuscumbia DeKalb Farmers Co-op - Rainsville DeKalb Farmers Co-op - Crossville Elberta Farmers Co-op Elmore County Co-op Farmers Co-op Inc. - Live Oak, FL Farmers Co-op Inc. - Madison, FL Farmers Co-op Market - Frisco City Farmers Co-op Market - Leroy Fayette Co-op Florala Farmers & Builders Co-op Goshen Farmers Co-op

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March 2020


5090EL Low-Profile Utility Tractor • Low clearance design allows for overall height of 69 inches • 90 hp† John Deere PowerTech™ engine • Open station

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Cooperative Farming News

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March 2020


AG INSIGHT Trade agreements bring relief, doubts A trade agreement with China and another with Canada and Mexico have brought sighs of relief in some segments of the U.S. economy. At the same time, uncertainties remain about how the recent trade tumult will shake out. The new year brought U.S. Senate approval of the trade deal with Mexico and Canada to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. The House earlier had endorsed the new pact. NAFTA had eliminated most trade barriers among the three nations, but the Trump Administration had declared its main goal was to return factory jobs to the United States from lower-wage nations. Named Phase One, the China agreement presumably is the first of an undetermined number of steps to resolve the trade dispute that began two years ago. The conflict has seen the Trump Administration slap tariffs on numerous Chinese products while China has retaliated with levies on U.S goods, especially farm commodities. In a recent news release, a spokesperson for the Farmers for Free Trade organization was skeptical about the deal. “While Phase One makes incremental progress, it remains to be seen whether it will deliver any meaningful relief for farmers like me,” said Michelle Erickson-Jones, a Montana wheat producer. “This deal does not end retaliatory tariffs on American farm exports, makes American farmers increasingly reliant on Chinese state-controlled purchases and doesn’t address the big structural changes the trade war was predicated on achieving. The promises of lofty purchases are encouraging, but farmers

like me will believe it when we see it,” Erickson-Jones continued. “The Administration should waste no time in returning to the negotiating table and reaching an agreement that ends the trade war for good,” she concluded. After Trump signed the Phase One accord, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue enthused, “This agreement is proof (the President’s) negotiating strategy is working. “While it took China a long time to realize President Trump was serious, this … deal is a huge success for the entire economy. This agreement finally levels the playing field for U.S. agriculture and will be a bonanza for America’s farmers, ranchers and producers.”

Red meat, poultry, fish consumption show differing trends After falling from 148.6 pounds in 2004 to 133.5 pounds in 2014, the per capita supply of red meat, poultry and fish/shellfish available for Americans to eat, after adjusting for losses, rose to 143.9 pounds in 2017, the most recent year for which complete data are available. Red meat (beef, pork, veal and lamb) accounted for 51 percent of 2017’s total, compared with 42 percent for poultry (chicken and turkey) and 7 percent for fish and shellfish. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service calculates per capita loss-adjusted food availability in a given year by taking per capita supplies of food available for human consumption and

“While it took China a long time to realize President Trump was serious, this … deal is a huge success for the entire economy. This agreement finally levels the playing field for U.S. agriculture and will be a bonanza for America’s farmers, ranchers and producers.” - Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture 10

Cooperative Farming News


weight per bird, expanding supplies and keeping prices in check. The lower retail price for chicken and turkey compared to beef and pork may have contributed to poultry’s continued popularity. Another demand boost may have been the poultry industry’s development and marketing of convenient grocery store offerings such as skinless, boneless breasts and ready-to-eat rotisserie chickens. Poultry consumption may have also benefited from health-related concerns: on a per-ounce basis, chicken has less total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than beef.

Three agencies create unified biotech website adjusting for spoilage, plate waste, and other losses in grocery stores, restaurants and homes. During 2015-17, beef had the largest percentage increase in per capita loss-adjusted availability – growing by 6 percent. Recovering consumer incomes after the 2007-09 recession and stable or declining retail red meat prices have increased U.S. consumers’ demand for red meat in recent years. Historical data reveal different trends for different meats and seafood. Loss-adjusted availability of beef reached a high of 67.9 pounds per capita in 1976, but trended downward to 39.3 pounds in 2015 before increasing to 41.6 pounds in 2017. Loss-adjusted availability of pork displays a relatively flat trend over the last three decades, ranging from 28.8 to 33.5 pounds per capita. Veal and lamb loss-adjusted availability is down from 2.7 pounds per capita in 1970 to less than a pound in 2017. Loss-adjusted availability of fish and shellfish was 7.5 pounds per capita in 1970, grew during the 1970s and 1980s, and has averaged 9.4 pounds per capita since 2000. Overall, chicken and turkey had the largest gains over the last five decades. Loss-adjusted chicken availability increased from 22.4 pounds per capita in 1970 to 52.3 pounds per capita in 2017 while turkey availability doubled from 4 pounds per capita in 1970 to 8.2 pounds in 1989, and has remained between 8 and 9 pounds per capita since 1990. Efficiencies in chicken and turkey production have led to lower bird mortality rates and a higher average

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency have launched a website designed to streamline information about the three regulatory agencies charged with overseeing agriculture biotechnology products. Called the Unified Website for Biotechnology Regulation, the site describes the federal review process for certain biotechnology products and allows users to submit questions to the three agencies.  The website’s goals are to provide enhanced customer service to innovators and developers, while ensuring Americans continue to enjoy the safest and most affordable food supply in the world and can learn more about the safe use of biotechnology innovations.

Incentive program planned for renewable fuels The USDA is creating a Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program, an effort to expand the availability of domestic ethanol and biodiesel by incentivizing the expansion of sales of renewable fuels. In an earlier request for public input, the agency asked for information on options for fuel ethanol and biodiesel infrastructure, innovation, products, technology, and data derived from all HBIIP processes March 2020


and/or science that drive economic growth, promote health and increase public benefit. Targeted in the request were retail fueling stations, convenience stores, hypermarket fueling stations, fleet facilities and similar entities; equipment providers and installers, certification entities and other stakeholder/manufacturers; fuel distribution terminals and depots; and those performing innovative research, and/or developing enabling platforms and applications in manufacturing, energy production and agriculture.

U.S. sweetener usage trending down Caloric sweetener use in the United States has been declining steadily on a per capita basis since reaching a peak in 1999. But the overall decline includes a mixture of trends. Caloric sweeteners include refined sugar from sugar beets and sugarcane, corn sweeteners, honey and edible syrups. Even with the overall decline in total domestic deliveries, refined sugar deliveries per person have been trending upward since 2008. This increase was primarily at the expense of high-fructose corn syrup, the predominant corn sweetener. Although per capita refined sugar deliveries fell in 2018 for the second consecutive year, the reduction was still not as large as the decreases seen in HFCS or total caloric sweeteners, but may signify a change in

the factors driving sugar demand in the United States. Several factors could explain these recent trends: increased consumer awareness of sugar and caloric intake; changes in U.S. food and beverage manufacturers’ formulas to reduce total sugar in products, and changes in trade patterns of sugar-containing products due to relative costs of U.S. versus foreign-produced food products, as more imports and fewer exports depress demand for U.S. refined sugar. The decline in HFCS use can be attributed to two main factors. First, corn prices have been relatively high, especially since the mid-2000s and the increased use of corn for ethanol production. Second, as noted earlier, HFCS has seen a reduced demand from food and beverage manufacturers and consumers – both in the types of products that use HFCS and the formulation of those products, as shown by the increase in front-of-package labeling that focuses on HFCS contents. Other sweeteners – including corn-derived glucose and dextrose, honey and edible syrups – have seen increases on a per capita basis. These increases have been relatively modest and the market shares are relatively small compared with the total sweetener market.

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Cooperative Farming News

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Extension Website Offers Assistance on Farm Finances Record keeping is a necessary part of running a farm operation. However, many Alabama farmers don’t have time to attend Extension meetings on farm financial record keeping. Luckily, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s website now has a section dedicated to training on farm record keeping. The Farm Management section of the Extension website has articles and videos that deal with many record keeping topics. On the website, there are several presentations and articles on how to use an Excel spreadsheet to keep farm financial records. There’s even a sample Excel spreadsheet available for anyone to download and use for their own farm. There are also presentations on typical accounting entries made by farmers using this Excel spreadsheet. These video presentations show step-by-step instructions on entering information into the docu-

ment, with an explanation of the accounting theory for each one. In addition to the sample accounting entries being made in Excel, there are other video presentations on QuickBooks software data entry. In addition to the website, all of these videos and more are available on the Alabama Extension YouTube channel. There, Extension has a playlist dedicated to Farm and Agribusiness Management topics. This playlist can help farm bookkeepers improve their financial literacy and record keeping. The hope is that these financial training videos help farmers in keeping a more accurate record of their finances. For more information or to ask any questions about financial record keeping, contact a member of the Alabama Extension Farm and Agribusiness Management team or contact your county Extension office. March 2020




How old is too old? Most anything that we buy foodwise has a date on it, whether that is a “date of manufacture,” a “use by date” or a “sale by date.” How important is that and how concerned should you as producers be about those kinds of things? Clearly, knowing which kind of date you’re dealing with is the place to start. In the grocery store, you will see “sale by dates” or “use by dates” and they should be clearly marked as such. Those dates are based on years of research and trial. They tend to be fairly accurate given that you store the products in the same manner when you get them home. Changing storage methods can alter the accuracy of those dates. For example, if you leave a gallon of milk in your truck for 14

Cooperative Farming News

two or three days in July, it really does not matter what date is stamped on the jug and conversely, if you put some things in the freezer, they will stay safe well past whatever date is stamped on the package. It simply takes a bit of common sense to figure those things out and most people have little trouble with making those decisions. Pet foods usually have a significant shelf life, often months if not years, and are generally safe through those dates, which tend to be “use by dates” and not “sale by dates.” This long shelf life is a really nice feature that adds to flexibility throughout the process. Most livestock feeds will use a “manufacture date” and it is most often on the feed tag itself. This leads to


a situation that can leave a consumer wondering if the food is safe to feed or still of the highest quality and it takes a bit more knowledge and interpretation to arrive at a sound conclusion. Feed type, weather, storage situations and many other things will add to the variability of the shelf life and since most of those things are well beyond the control of the feed mill, using a “manufacture date� typically is the preferred option. It allows the consumer to know when the feed was made and make an informed decision. Feed type is always a factor. Any grain, in its natural form, whole corn instead of cracked, rolled or steam-flaked corn, for instance, will have the longest shelf life. It is naturally protected from outside factors and has a very long shelf life. Here corn is harvested in August and September, and fed or used to make feed all winter, spring and summer with absolutely no problems. Processing removes, or at least damages, the natural protections that the grains have and shorten their shelf life somewhat. The more moisture in the grain when it is processed the shorter the shelf life. Pelleted feeds tend to be somewhere in between, usually because they contain less moisture. Weather and storage issues are also factors, but so closely related that it probably makes sense to talk about them at the same time. Hot, humid weather will shorten the shelf life of any feed and the more moisture that is naturally in the feed ingredients will only make the situation worse. Cold, dry weather can add weeks or months to the shelf life of feeds. So high-moisture corn in August will have a considerably shorter shelf

life than a pellet in January that is properly stored. Mold and insect damage are generally the most obvious signs that a feed has gone bad or is no longer good to feed. Those are generally easy to see. What other things will change as feeds age and why? As was mentioned earlier, nature provides the grains that we use as the basis for most feeds with a natural protective shell that keeps it from spoiling. However, when we break that shell and moisture can get to the starches and vitamins they start to degrade. Vitamins are normally the most sensitive to loss and the first place that a feed loses some value. A portion of the vitamins are oxidized or weakened in strength every day that the feed sits. It is a fairly slow process and if a feed is used within a few weeks there will normally be only minimal losses of vitamin efficacy. Six months or a year is a different story and most of your vitamin activity will be gone unless they are protected with some form of antioxidant, as is the case in most pet foods (which is why they have such a long shelf life). If the feed is stored properly, proteins, fats, carbohydrates and fibers tend to hold up fairly well for a longer period of time. Minerals, at least most of them, are good for years and will have little loss of value as a feed ages. Here in the Southeast in the summertime, we generally look at around 30 days for sweet feeds with processed grains and 60 or a bit more for pelleted feeds as a typical shelf life. In the winter, you can double or triple that depending on what our crazy weather is doing.

If the feed is stored properly, proteins, fats, carbohydrates and fibers tend to hold up fairly well for a longer period of time. Minerals, at least most of them, are good for years and will have little loss of value as a feed ages.

March 2020





High Magnesium Minerals Grass tetany is a nutrition problem that strikes female cattle grazing highly fertilized cool-season grasses. It will affect mainly older cattle in early lactation. Grass tetany is caused by low blood serum levels of magnesium in the blood. Cool-season grasses are low in Mg, compounded with soils that are low in Mg, added to the cow’s Mg requirements to produce milk and can create a situation where the Mg is low. Cold temperatures and cloudy weather are conditions that promote low Mg levels in the forage. To help prevent this condition, feed Formax Minerals. Formax Minerals are formulated and developed to help correct mineral imbalances in our Southern forages. Other mineral companies do not match our forage requirements here in Alabama. Most Formax minerals contain Mintrex chelated trace minerals that can increase absorption up to 600 percent over elemental forms of minerals. They are also weather coated to handle our humid conditions here in Alabama.

High Magnesium Formulas Formax Grazing Bronze - This is a good choice for the producer who wants a complete mineral and a low-cost magnesium source.

Formax Grazing Silver - This mineral is a great choice for the above-average commercial cattle herd. High levels of chelated minerals, weather coating and high levels of trace minerals make this a great choice to boost your cattle’s magnesium and maintain a high level of reproductive performance. Formax Grazing Gold - The Formax Gold series of minerals is designed for the highest reproductive efficiency in your cattle. Formulated with 8 percent phosphorous, extreme levels of chelated trace minerals, organic yeast and vitamin E to ensure your cattle can handle the stress of breeding, artificial insemination, flushing, embryo transfer, etc. Formax 24/7 - This mineral fits nicely between the Bronze and Silver lines of minerals. In addition to having good levels of chelated trace minerals and weather coating, 24/7 has 6 percent magnesium so it can be fed all year long. When fed continuously, this mineral will keep the blood serum levels of magnesium adequate to combat grass tetany.

To find a Quality Co-op store near you, go to www.alafarm.com. 16

Cooperative Farming News


B Y B A X T E R B L A C K , DV M

COW DISTURBER McGraw posed an interesting question. If a cowboy herds a herd of cattle, we call him a herder. If a sheepman herds a flock of sheep, he’s still a herder. Why isn’t he called a flocker? Oley has always referred to himself as a cow disturber. I think that is an accurate description of what cowboys do. The definition of disturb is: to annoy or disrupt. “Where ya goin’, Bill?” “I’m gonna go check the cows.” Which really means, “I’m gonna ride into the bunch, git’em all up, turn’em around and just generally annoy and disrupt them.” I grant there are occasions when we have a certain definite task in mind; i.e. “I’m gonna bring in that cow with the arrow in her side.” Or, “Saddle up, we’re pushin’ 2,600 head of Longhorns to the sale barn in Bloomfield.” But most of the time we’re just disturbing them. Like doting parents or cat fanciers, we take any excuse to fuss over the critters in our care. It’s a wonder whitetail deer or jackrabbits aren’t extinct with no one to molest them regularly. If we were honest with ourselves, our language would be more forthright. The cattle foreman in the feedlot might give his instructions like this … “Jason, I

want you to enter the first pen in the north alley. Unsettle the steers by sitting quietly for a moment. Next upset them by approaching. Confuse them by weaving back and forth, agitating and irritating them constantly. Badger each one until they’ve all gotten up and milled around. Once you’re convinced you’ve stirred them up sufficiently, you may go disturb the next pen.” Or, the cowman might say to his wife, “Darlin’, while I’m at the board meeting I’d like you to torment the heifer in the barn lot every 20 minutes. She’s trying’ to calve. Peek over the fence and bother her. Shine the light in her eyes to break her concentration. Worry her as often as needed, and, when I get back, I’ll slip in and frighten her into calving.” In fairness, we are doing what all good shepherds do. We watch over our flocks because that is our calling. We stand guard in case any should need our help. But if truth-in-labeling is ever applied to our job descriptions, we will have to be more specific about what we do. So, the next time somebody asks what you do, try one of these on for size: herd rearranger, bull nudger, sheep panicker, mule cusser, equine perplexer, steer beautician, hog motivator, Holstein therapist, cow companion, dog shouter or cowboy coddler. www.baxterblack.com

March 2020



Why Do I Need a Health Certificate?

Why do you need a health certificate? Well, maybe you don’t. In fact, I suspect that many of you reading this article will never have need for a health certificate. While there are other reasons to obtain a health certificate, for the most part you need a health certificate when you are crossing state lines with animals, when you are traveling to another country with your animals, and when you are taking animals to certain events such as shows or sales that require the document on their own. The regulatory authority for requiring health certificates generally comes from the state or federal animal regulations associated with interstate or foreign travel with animals. I am mostly interested in livestock and poultry, but there are specific regulations for all animals from a gerbil to an elephant. I guess right about here, I should tell you that there is really no such thing as a health certificate, at least as we know it. The term health certificate implies that we are certifying the animals listed on the document. The fact is that it is difficult, but not impossible, to certify without extensive diagnostic testing the health of an animal. The official name of the document is a Cer18

Cooperative Farming News

tificate of Veterinary Inspection or CVI. So, if you hear some of your more sophisticated veterinarians or animal owners call it a CVI, they are actually correct. But a fair estimate of people who call in to my office with questions about regulations use the term health certificate by about nine-to-one over the term CVI. There, I’m glad I got that off my chest. I have heard people who regularly travel on the livestock show circuit say that health certificates are just a way for their veterinarian to get another dollar out of them. That is because often nobody requires them to show their health certificate at the shows. There is the school of thought that if nobody is going to look at the certificates, are they even necessary? That may sound reminiscent of the question, “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it really make a sound?” While that question is there to be debated, there is no debate about the requirement for a health certificate on animals traveling intrastate or internationally. The bottom line is that, whether anyone checks them or not, the law spells out the requirement for health certificates. I can’t remember when our state

BY DR. TONY FRAZIER passed the law requiring people traveling in the front locate any Gambian rats that had been shipped to Alseat of a car to wear a seat belt at all times. (This year a abama and work with the State Public Health Departrequirement for all passengers in a vehicle went into ef- ment to appropriately respond. Those are not everyfect also.) Anyway, I have never been stopped by a law day occurrences, but they are not terribly uncommon enforcement officer to check and see if I was wearing either. Health certificates are also a piece of the puzzle a seat belt. Nonetheless, whether I am checked or not when tracing animals that have been positive for certhe law requires me to wear a seat belt. tain disease to their farm of origin. Many of our internaAnd just like the intent behind requiring us to wear tional trading partners require that we have a system of a seat belt, there is prudent reasoning behind having traceability in place for certain diseases such as BSE. animals travel with a health certificate. For those of There are also some indirect benefits that the you that are not familiar with health certificate provides. I rethe health certificate, it recently read an article about a quires a veterinarian observe new hamburger that is on the Several years ago, the disthe animals identified on the market that is made from fake ease vesicular stomatitis, certificate for clinical signs of beef. The article indicated that broke out in one of the states illness. They require the date the inventor of this product is out west. Within minutes the animals were inspected, very much against animal agriof the announcement that the address of origin as well culture and would like for everythere was a VS outbreak, as the address of destination. one to be vegetarians. But peowe were able to know how A health certificate will conple who don’t want you to eat tain information concerning meat can’t just come out and many animals had entered test results that various states say, “We don’t believe it is right Alabama recently from that may require such as a bull beto eat meat, so we don’t think state and exactly where they ing shipped to many states you should be able to eat meat, were, so we could follow up must be negative for trichoeven if you believe it to be okay.” and make sure those animoniasis. Or certain classes My philosophy is if you don’t mals had not introduced the of animals must be negative want to eat meat, then don’t disease here. on a TB test to ship to certain order the ribeye steak. But I’ll states. And finally, the veterihave mine medium, thank you. narian signs beneath a stateAnyway, since they can’t get a ment that generally says, “On the date listed on this lot of support by showing all their cards, they try to say certificate, I inspected these animals and they were that these animals that are sent to process today are free of signs of infectious disease.” sick and barely survive the trip to processing. But these Health certificates have some direct benefits that health certificates help to support that animals that benefit people like me who are responsible for sur- are intended for the food supply have been inspected veillance and response to disease outbreaks. That is and are healthy. because a copy of every health certificate for animals The health certificate system is like anything else. entering Alabama comes to my office. That used to be It is not without some gaps and flaws. It depends on hard copies sent from the state veterinarian at the state voluntary compliance just like wearing a seat belt. of origin to me by mail. Now it is mostly sent electron- But, for the most part, over the years it has been an ically. Also, a copy stays with the state of origin state extremely valuable tool in our regulatory toolbox. As veterinarian and one accompanies the shipment. we continue to tweak the animal disease traceability Several years ago, the disease vesicular stomatitis, program here in Alabama, it will enhance the health broke out in one of the states out west. Within minutes certificate system. If a tree falls in the woods and no of the announcement that there was a VS outbreak, one is there to hear it, does it really make a sound? I we were able to know how many animals had entered don’t think I am qualified to weigh in on that answer, Alabama recently from that state and exactly where but probably. If you have a health certificate and no they were, so we could follow up and make sure those one asks to see it, did you really need it? The answer animals had not introduced the disease here. Anoth- to that is definitely yes. If you have questions about er time there were Gambian rats that were associated health certificates or regulations, contact your local with a human outbreak of monkey pox. We were able veterinarian or my office. March 2020


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Cooperative Farming News

AFC Grain Elevator Locations Florence PO Box 998 Florence, AL 35631 1090 South Court Street Florence, AL 35630 Phone: 256-308-1681 Fax: 256-560-2681

Decatur PO Box 2227 Decatur, AL 35609 800 B Market Street Decatur, AL 35601 Phone: 256-308-1670 Fax: 256-351-8424

Guntersville PO Box 516 Guntersville, AL 35976 117 Signal Point Road Guntersville, AL 35976 Phone: 256-582-3121

Uniontown PO Box 610 Uniontown, AL 36786 US Hwy 80 east (behind Stockyard) Uniontown, AL 36786 Phone: 334-628-2611 Fax: 334-628-9000

Satellite Elevator - South 2414 Brown Street Guntersville, AL 35976 Phone: 256-582-3122

Satellite Elevator - Browns 21145 US Hwy 80 Browns, AL

Leighton 1208 Sockwell Lane Leighton, AL

AFC’S OLDEST CO-OP BY COREY ESPY Madison County Co-op was formed in December 1932. This makes it the oldest Co-op in the Alabama Farmers Cooperative, Inc. system. Not only is it the oldest Co-op store, it’s got AFC beat by four years. When the Co-op was established, cotton was king around the Southeast and the Great Depression was weighing heavily on farmers in the region. This was a driving force in forming an agricultural cooperative, something that would help producers gain buying power for the products they needed at a lower price. Being in the middle of row crop country in Northeast Alabama, the Co-op has had a focus of serving row crop farmers with the products they need, but has also had a hand in serving these producers in other ways as well. In the early days, the Co-op ran a government-approved hatchery, helped to set up the Tennessee Valley Cotton Cooperative and

helped in organizing a Cotton Classing Office in Huntsville. Madison County Co-op has changed locations several times, with the original location being on Jefferson St. in Huntsville. The Co-op later moved to downtown Huntsville to be closer to the railroad for ease of unloading bulk supplies. As Madison County grew, a new facility was built in the mid-1970s on Jordan Road. This expansion continued and pushed agriculture further outside of the Huntsville area so in 1997 the Co-op was moved to a location between Meridianville and Hazel Green so that it could be closer to this agricultural land. Today, Madison County Co-op has grown to include agronomy locations in Toney and Meridianville, along with three other more retail-oriented locations in Stevenson, Scottsboro and New Market. These locations service not only many of the producers in Madison and Jackson counties but also the homeowners and gardeners in the area as well. This Co-op has seen many things throughout the years, from the formation of TVA and rise of hydroelectric power in the region to satellite-guided tractors. The Co-op has been a helping hand to the producers of the region every step of the way. General Manager Keith Griffin is in his twenty-first year with MCC and said, “The technological advancements have definitely changed agriculture in this area. You can’t just rely on hard work anymore to keep up with how much has changed. Also, with the urban sprawl we are seeing in Huntsville, we have to be much more efficient with the decreasing acreage that we have.” Despite the challenges that they are facing, Griffin was very positive about the future and continuing a tradition of customer service that this Co-op has had for 87 years. “One reason this business is successful is because it was started with customer service in mind,” he said. I think that mindset has been a driving force to help us grow to where we are today and will help us continue to be successful in the future.”

March 2020



Cooperative Farming News



The Great Urban Turkey Adventure Recently, there was quite a stir at Green Acres Middle School, A.H. Parker High School and Bush Hill STEAM Academy in Birmingham. Students reported that there was a live, white turkey hen rolling down the halls! Never before had these students seen anything like this, but the story behind this urban turkey adventure is one that they will never forget! As the 4-H Foundation Regional Extension Agent for Jefferson County, Izette R. McNealy knew that her urban students rarely got to see, much less touch, farm animals. So, when Dr. Brigid McCrea

4-H Extension Specialist Dr. Brigid McCrea shares her love of turkey farming with teacher Ms. Harper.

March 2020


asked if any of her teachers might like a visit from a live, farm turkey, McNealy was thrilled. She checked with a few teachers and got permission from administrators for the visit. Thus began the great urban turkey adventure! Dr. McCrea lives in Lee County and serves as a 4-H Extension Specialist there. She is also a poultry specialist, who raises a flock of 56 white turkeys. McCrea brought one of her young hens to six different classrooms in three separate schools in Birmingham. Although the turkey was only three months old and had never ridden in a car before this journey, she was docile and seemed quite pleased to let students pet her. Most of the students had seen pictures of turkeys before, but they had never touched a live one. Petting the young bird was quite a treat for both the students and their teachers, but learning about the poultry industry caught their attention. The students were even more interested hearing about college scholarships and workforce development within the poultry industry. McCrea told the students about the history of turkey domestication and how the turkey industry started. She also discussed the Alabama broiler industry, the various 4-H poultry events that prepare members for poultry and

Ag majors in college, and the different careers available in poultry science. “Our students do not see livestock here,” McNealy stated, the 4-H Foundation Extension Agent. “So, when Dr. McCrea brought a live turkey and told them about the poultry industry, they were very interested. They did not know about the internships and scholarships available in poultry science at Auburn. In addition, students learned the importance of Alabama’s meat industry in the state!” Not only did the kids get to pet the turkey, but they also got to see her eat and drink. McCrea explained how stress could affect the taste of a turkey, so the goal was to help the turkey relax. A turkey is relaxed if it keeps its head down, so students kept a close eye on their visitor. The students talked about turkey and chicken eggs, as well as the differences in meat chickens and meat turkeys. Students also learned how to grade eggs. “Most of these students were not comfortable being around farm animals,” McNealy added. “It was awesome to see them spread their wings and touch the turkey. They were really engrossed in this activity.” The students became so friendly with their visitor that many of the upper classmen declared they would

Da’Mia Duncan, Yasmine Gardner and Nathan Clark had seen a turkey before on television, but this was the first time they had ever gotten to actually touch one.

Dr. McCrea explains some of the turkey’s traits and habits as Zaniah Wright gets an up-close experience with the animal.


Cooperative Farming News

never eat turkey again, not even at Thanksgiving! “This was brand new to these Jefferson County 4-H’ers,” McNealy explained. “Most of the students have never seen a farm animal, personal and close up. It was amazing for all of us!” Even the teachers got involved, petting the turkey and encouraging the students to join in. The students asked many questions, especially the high school students who were very inquisitive about the different career opportunities available in the poultry industry. Most were hesitant about the jobs related to harvesting these birds, but they learned quickly that there were many other opportunities in this industry. Both Dr. Brigid McCrea and Izette R. McNealy have recognized the need for more “show and tell” hands-on experiences for these urban students. McNealy hopes to teach the importance of agriculture and introduce the many careers in this field by partnering with area farmers who will bring other farm animals into the schools. “This is just the beginning of this program,” McNealy declared. “Our goal is to get these students college-ready, so they can know what they want to do. If they are interested in the poultry industry and they want to know more, we want to make sure they get it.” Teacher, Ms. Clark, enjoyed the up-close encounter with a live turkey.

Even teachers, like Mrs. Brown pictured here, enjoyed the experience of seeing and touching a live turkey.

March 2020



Alabama FFA state officers and FFA members from the Wetumpka and Tallassee FFA chapters are guests of commissioner Rick Pate the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries.

Alabama FFA Participates in the Alabama Bicentennial Parade and Looks to the Future Two hundred years as a state, wow! Alabama has seen a lot of change in that time. Agriculture has seen a lot change in that time. Alabama became part of the union on Dec. 14, 1819, and it is only fitting that we celebrate this occasion on Dec. 14, 2019. Agriculture has always been a part of the economy of Alabama even before it was a territory. Native Americans practiced techniques such as slash and burn agriculture. This is a practice where forests were cleared to make room for patches of corn, squash and other crops. The Spanish recorded the savannahs found as they traveled north, remains of the agrarian society who left it. As more immigrants made their way into Alabama, they found varying soil types suited to a variety of different crops. Alabama’s waterways provided a means of getting crops to markets. With the 1700s came a great revolution for both agriculture and industry. With the desire for cotton, agriculture drove industrial improvements. By 1906, John Deere took his plow’s success and began developing steam-powered tractors. Production soared and crops were shipped by rail and barge. Just think about where we are now. Cattle in 67 counties, leaders in the nation in poultry and forest products, peanuts, catfish, with over 9 million acres 26

Cooperative Farming News

in Alabama considered farmland and cash receipts of over 5 billion dollars. Agriculture is still a viable industry and the good news of our industry should be shared with our citizens. It is true that in this day and age agriculture is more than farming, but in farming alone we are seeing GPS and GIS in self-driven equipment, computers calculating and projecting yield variations in crop land, advances in animal health, pesticide and herbicide use, and so much more on the way. Look how far we have come. Agriculture education has changed and is changing as well. To meet the needs of industry and labor market demands of our state and continue to educate students and parents about traditional production, agriculture is sometimes a balancing act. New courses are in development for agriscience teachers to implement in the 2020-2021 school year focusing on areas such as animal science, veterinary science, poultry science, forestry and environmental management, aquaculture, food science and plant biotechnology to name a few. With our governor’s goals for workforce development related to post-secondary attainment for in-demand career pathways leading to valuable, portable post-secondary degrees, certificates and credentials; and adding 500,000 highly skilled workers to our workforce by 2025,


FFA State Sentinel Garrett Springs and Central District Secretary Case Edwards are all smiles and waves representing Alabama FFA and 200 years of Alabama’s statehood.

Wetumpka FFA members along with their advisor Mr. William Norris march down Decatur Ave. to celebrate the 200th year of Alabama as a state.

how does agriculture education play a role? Previously mentioning new and improved science-based agricultural courses and realizing that our labor market, especially in urban centers, is focusing on technology and manufacturing, how can agriculture contribute to this quickly growing sector? Have you ever heard the saying, “Agriculture is more than cows, plows and sows”? If you haven’t, you have probably not run into an FFA member or agriculture teacher in a while. Having said that, agriculture education and FFA prepares students for a multitude of careers. Alabama is also traditionally considered an agricultural mechanics state. This means that as part of agriculture education students are being taught skills that lead to careers in engine repair, welding, carpentry, electricity and courses are in development to contribute to skills more directly

focused on agricultural industry maintenance. These careers will help guide students to careers in which they can attain post-secondary credentials and contribute to the governor’s goals and our skilled workforce. These courses offer options to students to discover pathways in which to further their skills and knowledge leading to college or the workforce. The most beautiful part of agriculture education is that it offers such a variety to students and can help them decide what they are interested in before graduation and discover a true lifelong passion. Research shows that students who are part of career and technical education class in high school are more likely to graduate. Continuing that celebration of 200 years, Alabama FFA was represented in the bicentennial parade by FFA State and District Officers as well as members from the Tallassee and Wetumpka FFA chapters. These FFA members and advisors were special guests of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries and Commissioner Rick Pate. “We were grateful for another opportunity to partner with those in our industry and appreciate the invitation to be part of this celebration,” said Garrett Springs, Alabama FFA Sentinel. Each citizen contributes to the agriculture industry, whether they know it or not. The leadership and essential soft skills obtained in agriculture education and FFA also adds to the shine of the students and members furthering their ability to be trained and employed in the occupations Alabama has to offer. For more information about agriscience education and FFA in Alabama or to find out how you can support the Alabama FFA Association, please visit www.alabamaffa.org.

Alabama FFA members march in the Alabama Bicentennial Celebration Parade.

March 2020




Daphne High School Joins Clean Campus Program

Daphne High School has joined the Clean Campus Program! At the direction of Dr. Betsy Anderton, the school will weave the Clean Campus Program into their existing agriculture and environmental programs. The outdoor classroom area at Daphne High School includes greenhouses, ponds, hydroponic growing areas, farm animals and many, many other inventive ways to teach about living on the land. Incorporating an anti-litter component is a natural fit as the students learn about being good stewards of their outdoor learning space. I was fortunate enough to visit Daphne High School recently and see their outdoor workspace firsthand. It is truly spectacular! I also presented the Clean Campus Program to Anderton’s class, then we went back outside to have an impromptu campus cleanup. The students found water bottles that were left behind on practice fields as well as trash that had clearly blown into various parts of campus. The students were shocked by how much litter was hiding around in areas that looked pretty tidy otherwise! Sometimes it just takes a little extra effort and attention to find lurking litter! Daphne High School is a very impressive place to visit. We are thrilled they are now a part of the Clean Campus Program, and we know the students that participated in our cleanup will now be extra vigilant when it comes to litter. 28

Cooperative Farming News

Is there a school near you that could benefit from being a part of the Clean Campus Program? If so, have them give me a call or email at 334-263-7737 or jamie@ alpals.org. As always, the Clean Campus Program is available at no cost to schools thanks to our corporate sponsors. We are here to help you as you journey toward a litter-free community!

. e g a r e v o c r u o p u d e f e e b e v ’ We

AlfaInsurance.com March 2020




Social Media:

Pet Peeves and Blessings

It’s a confusing title, but you’ll understand soon enough. For the past two years, the ideas for my March articles were developed while sitting at the hunting camp over the Christmas and New Year’s break. Last year I couldn’t help but think of all the unnecessary losses of life that occur each year due to people not wearing a safety harness when hunting from tree stands. I guess I spent too much time on social media during this year’s holiday break, and that’s where this idea came from. Social media can be a wonderful tool when used properly. It’s a great way to disseminate timely and factual information. It can be used effectively in times of emergency to save lives. And, it’s a great way to keep up with family and friends. But, as with most things, nothing is 100 percent positive. Social media can also be used to spread falsehoods and rumor at the speed of light or provide individuals with a platform to speak before they have thought through in detail their argument or comment. We deal with this constantly on our Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Facebook page. Very seldom do I post anything on Facebook. Occasionally, I will post a photo of my dog doing something or I’ll share a post from our WFF page, but that’s about it. When I’m bored, I’ll scroll through just to pass the time, which is what I did this year in my down time at the hunting camp. As I looked at posts, I couldn’t help but notice 30

Cooperative Farming News

three topics that appeared day after day from hunters around the state. The first topic was “cull” bucks. A hunter would post a photo of a buck with a damaged rack and make a comment like, “I got him out of the herd before he could breed and pass along these bad genes.” The second topic was small bucks. A hunter would post a photo of a little buck and say, “I know he’s not big, but you can’t eat the horns!” Finally, and most perplexing to me, was the topic of religion. A hunter would post a photo of a buck and say, “The Lord blessed me with another one!” Topic one, “cull” bucks. I could write several articles on this topic alone, but I’ll just highlight a couple of points. It has been scientifically proven on multiple occasions that it is impossible to impact the genetics of a free-ranging deer herd by “culling” bucks. Additionally, most of the photos of the “cull” bucks are of either yearling bucks with one 8-inch spike and one 2-inch spike or deer with obvious pedicle damage. Both of these are physical characteristics that have absolutely nothing to do with genetics. The second topic of posting pictures of small bucks is simply perplexing to me. If I was ashamed of doing something, I wouldn’t post about it on social media and try to get approval from people I don’t know. If I was embarrassed or ashamed of shooting a small buck, I wouldn’t tell anyone. I guess the most confusing thing to me is why these hunters are trying to justify or seek approval. I could understand it much more if the post

said, “I needed meat for my family, and this is the first deer I had an opportunity to harvest.” The “I know he’s small, but you can’t eat the horns” line is much like the “cull” buck theory; it’s just an excuse to shoot in my opinion. Topic number three, religion. Before I go down this road let me make a few things perfectly clear. I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination and probably sin on a daily basis. However, I continue to strive to be a better person and follow the principles of the Bible. So, when I see a photo of someone holding a dead deer and the post says, “The Lord blessed me with a good un this morning,” it just bothers me. I guess to me, that reduces the majestic to the mundane. Now, I’m definitely not a theologian, but, for the life of me, I can’t imagine the Lord God taking time to make sure one of his creations walks by someone with a rifle sitting in a tree. I just don’t feel like that is high on His to-do list. If the post said, “The Lord blessed me by allowing me to wake up and be healthy enough to climb a tree and admire His creation this morning,” I’d give a hearty “Amen” because I can’t think of a more appropriate place to see the handiwork of God than sitting in a tree watching the woods wake up. But maybe I’m just not understanding the mindset of those hunters; maybe they’re simply aiming to give thanks “in all things.” I understand that social media is a necessary evil these days and I should learn to deal with both its good and bad aspects. So, I’m done with that part of the article, and I would like to now tell you what “the Lord blessed me with.” I was blessed to be raised by a loving mother and father. I was blessed to have been given every opportunity to succeed in life by my parents. I was blessed that they took me to church as a child and

taught me right from wrong and that hard work, patience and perseverance will pay off. I was reminded of many of these blessings this past Christmas. I have been hunting on our family land in Choctaw County since I was 6 years old. My father began planting a 4-acre plot on the farm in 1976, long before food plots were the rage of the hunting industry. I planted that same plot Thanksgiving Day with him this year. Some of my fondest memories have been made hunting on that property with my father over the years. He and I have hunted together in that food plot at least once a year for the past 43 years. And, on Christmas Day, the Lord blessed me, not only by allowing me to harvest a doe, but much more by giving me and my father the ability to share one more experience together.

I was 8 years old.

I was 36 years old.

I was 15 years old.

March 2020


Busy Bee Activities

Did You Know?

The pecan is the Alabama's official nut. 32

Cooperative Farming News

Help the cow find the grass!

March 2020


Alabama 4-H Grows Future Gardeners AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – Alabama 4-H is cultivating the next generation of young gardeners through its new outdoor education project, 4-H Grows. Through a partnership with Bonnie Plants, the project offers young people hands-on gardening experiences while learning about the field of agriculture. More than 500 young people, ages 9-18, participated in the project last year. In addition to individual participation at home, several teachers enrolled in the project for use in the classroom. “Gardening is and can be a wonderful tool to teach responsibility, foster family bonding, build environmental stewardship, introduce scientific concepts – the list goes on,” said Molly Gregg, Alabama Cooperative Extension System assistant


Cooperative Farming News

Alabama 4-H Grows participants experiencing hands-on learning.

director for 4-H. “We are proud of this 4-H project and our partnership with Bonnie Plants.”

Alabama 4-H Grows Alabama 4-H Grows promotes the use of raised beds or in-ground gardens making the project more accessible. Young people choose participation by tier depending on their level of experience. • Tier I is for young people with limited gardening space and experience. Participants receive three 5-gallon buckets, along with soil and seasonal plants. The focus is learning to garden and incorporating fresh vegetables into family meals. • Tier II introduces a community component, requiring participants to donate 10 percent of produce grown to the community. • The Sweet Potato Challenge is part of the gardening project and encourages young people to grow and submit sweet potatoes for weighing and judging. • Tier III will be introduced this year. Young people will learn to develop a business plan to sell their produce at local farmers markets.

Alabama 4-H Grows Sweet Potato Challenge participant weighing his sweet potatoes.

Doyle Keasal, an Alabama Extension 4-H Specialist and 4-H Grows Project Coordinator, said 4-H recognized the need for a hands-on gardening project in its curriculum. “We knew that developing a 4-H gardening project that directly engaged youth was needed in Alabama,” Keasal said. “Youth involved in 4-H Grows develop a sense of personal accomplishment as they learn about the field of agriculture. We are looking forward to another successful year.” Keasal said this spring marks the second year of the Alabama 4-H Grows gardening project.

About Alabama 4-H

Alabama 4-H Grows participant proudly displaying his project yard sign.

For more than 100 years, Alabama 4-H has been helping young people develop into resourceful citizens and responsible leaders. Today, Alabama 4-H engages with more than 178,000 youth. For more information about Alabama 4-H Grows, visit www.alabama4h.com. March 2020


. . . e d i S d l i W e h t n o g n i k o o C MONTGOMERY AREA MENTAL HEALTH AUTHORITY, INC.


Montgomery Area Mental Health Authority (MAMHA) participated in the Alabama Wild Game Cook-Off for the first time this year. We enjoyed the opportunity to participate in an event that allowed us to highlight out team’s unique cooking talents, along with the opportunity to share about the services our organization has to offer. It was our goal to utilize the relaxed environment to allow people the opportunity to learn more about mental health in the tri-county area. The idea behind our dish was to present venison in a whole different way by creating a light Venison Thai Salad with Cucumber Dressing. Lots of ingredients, but straightforward instructions – First, if time allows, prep the salad dressing the night before. In a food processor, combine the cucumbers, onions, fresh cilantro leaves, garlic and jalapeno. Process for about one minute or until ingredients become a smooth mixture. Transfer ingredients to a bowl. Stir in the rice vinegar. Store and refrigerate dressing in a glass mason jar until ready for use. Cook the ramen noodles as directed. Discard the seasoning packet; it is not needed for this recipe. Instead, add a little salt to the boiling water to season. Place cooked ramen noodles in ice water to cool. Drain and set aside. Next, brown the venison in a medium skillet. Drain grease. Now for the good stuff – add the bell pepper, mushrooms, onions, and garlic to the venison. Cook until the peppers and mushrooms are tender. Stir in the vinegar and soy sauce. Add salt and pepper for taste. Last step –arrange a fluffy bed of lettuce on a large platter. Top with ramen noodles, venison, and dressing. Garnish with cherry tomatoes and thin cucumber twists. Come be a part of one of AWF Wild Game Cook-Offs!

Upcoming Cook-Offs


02/29/20 Talladega

03/14/20 Quad Cities

04/23/20 Tri-County

05/02/20 Lake Martin


1 lb. ground venison ½ bell pepper, diced 6 mushrooms, sliced 2 green onions, diced 1 garlic clove, minced 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar 1 teaspoon soy sauce Salt Ground pepper Lettuce leaves 3 ounces ramen noodles, cooked and cooled in iced water 12 cherry tomatoes, halved Cucumber Dressing CUCUMBER DRESSING:

1 medium cucumber, coarsely chopped ½ cup coarsely chopped onion ½ cup loosely packed cilantro leaves 1 garlic clove, minced 1 diced jalapeno ½ cup seasoned rice vinegar

Not Wild About Your Tag...This Ones Pretty Hot! 36

Get AWF’s Wildlife Tag at your local county tag office or call 334.285.4550.

Cooperative Farming News

For more information about our Wild Game Cook-Off visit


March 2020



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Cooperative Farming News

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March 2020



Flower Seed for Just What You Want Certain annuals grow so fast that they have little shelf life in a store. So, we gardeners who want tall cutting zinnias, tall sunflowers, cleome, cosmos, tithonia and other tall annuals for summer usually need to start them from seed. Thankfully they are easy to start. Starting from seed offers a large assortment of colors, heights and flower types to choose from. If you prefer to set out transplants (vs direct sowing), this is a reminder to add their seeds to your shopping list as most will need four to six weeks to grow before they are ready to transplant into the garden. A cold frame makes it easy to start these seeds in late winter and early spring as temperatures inside the frame are usually quite warm on sunny days. If the weather drops below freezing, I throw a blanket over the frame and uncover it when the temperature rises. Of course, they can also be started in a bright window or under lights indoors. Plant outside a couple of weeks after the date of the last frost.


THE CO-OP PANTRY Thorny thickets of invasive Callery (Bradford) pears become obvious when they bloom.

Plants with a Dark Side

To be assured of big summer annuals, start your own from seed.


Cooperative Farming News

Runaway plants can choke out native growth, inspiring gardeners to get out the chainsaw or machete and self-impose restrictions on what is in the yard. For example, some plants that were once recognized as great landscape additions have turned out to have a very dark side. How many of us have appreciated the privacy offered by a hedge of Chinese privet? The flowers of a pretty Bradford pear? A fragrant mimosa? A Chinese tallow tree (popcorn tree) with beautiful fall color? Chinese wisteria with wonderfully fragrant blooms? A bold elephant’s ear? These are plants that we’ve come to know and love, but they’ve broken out of our landscape and are going wild, growing fast and furiously along fencerows, roadsides, streams, swamps and especially in any area disturbed by construction, road building, tree cutting, etc. If you’ve noticed that

you don’t see as many redbuds and sumac on the roadside as you once did, it may be because of the invasive plants that so often line our roadsides. My husband remembers lots of red cedars and Osage orange along the road near his grandma’s house in Butler County. Today it’s mostly privet. These choke out our lovely native plants which would also play an important role in supporting the local fauna. To learn more about invasive plants, a web search for “invasive plants, Auburn University” will bring up several helpful articles and pictures. Also check the Alabama Extension Invasive Plant page on Facebook for great ongoing information including webinars and the May 5 conference of the Alabama Invasive Plant Council in Clanton.

lect spent coffee grounds from Starbucks, get manure from a friend’s chickens and gather whatever stump grindings I can find. All of this is layered atop beds. I grind leaves for mulch around my vegetables and flowers. At the start in 2017, our garden soil was typical Alabama red clay with only 2 percent organic matter; by spring of 2019, it tested at 8 percent organic matter and was much easier to work. Also present are worms, ground beetles, earwigs and other decomposers that are invisible, but I can see their results. So, if you’re not in a hurry, just lay down the organic matter and let nature build the soil. If you’re starting on top of grass or weeds, lay down cardboard or five layers of newspaper and moisten it first. This will help keep the vegetation from breaking through.

Building Garden Soil the Easy Way One way to improve garden soil is to till it or even double-dig it to loosen the soil and then keep incorporating organic matter. Another way is to let nature do the work. It takes more time, but it sure is easier. Layering organic matter such as sawdust, wood chips, leaves, coffee grounds and manures atop the soil to decompose will create a rich organic soil and encourage the presence of earthworms. Since early 2017, decomposition and worms have built about 8 inches of deep organic matter in my garden beds without a single turn of the soil. The greatest challenge has been to find enough organic matter to keep up with the rate of decomposition. I scavenge bagged leaves around the neighborhood, order leaf mold and wood chips from the municipal compost facility, col-

Grow a spring salad in a big wide container.

Enjoy Lettuce While You Can Plant lettuce and pansies early this month because sometime in May the weather will get too hot for them. However, two months of fast growth yields enough lettuce leaves to make planting worthwhile. Containers are a great way to grow those last-minute lettuce plants for spring while leaving the bigger garden free for planting tomatoes and other warm-season items as soon as frost is past. This container combines red Rouxai lettuce, Red Russian kale and Johnny-jump-ups, whose flowers are also edible and quite attractive atop a salad. This is the start of layer upon layer of organic matter to build a fertile bed.

March 2020


PLANT • Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, collards, Brussels sprouts, onions, early potatoes and spinach/radish seeds may be planted in the garden now. • Direct seed mustard, lettuce, spinach, radishes, turnips, beets and carrots. • Seeds of summer-blooming annuals started indoors last month may be transplanted from the flats into peat pots and given diluted fertilizer. • Scratch up soil under roses to sow sweet alyssum seeds as an annual flowering ground cover. • Establish or renovate the lawn as needed. Resod or replant with turf grasses adapted to your area and suited to the planting location (shade or sun). • In areas that receive shade where grass is difficult to grow, consider planting a dependable ground cover such as English ivy, Asian jasmine, vinca, hostas or ferns. • Divide and transplant ornamental grasses as soon as the soil is workable. March also is a good time to divide and transplant mums, ajuga, liriope and daylily. • Repot pot-bound houseplants.

FERTILIZE • Test your garden soil pH to see if any amendments are necessary. Your local Quality Co-op has the testing material needed. Sawdust, composted oak leaves, wood chips, peat moss, cottonseed meal and leaf mold lower the pH while ashes of hardwoods, bone meal, crushed marble and crushed oyster shells raise the pH. The best way to adjust pH is gradually, over several seasons. • Fertilize shrubs and trees if this wasn’t done in February. Use an acid-type rhododendron fertilizer to feed evergreens, conifers, broad leaf evergreens, rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias. If you use granular-type fertilizers, be sure to water it in thoroughly. • Fertilize summer-blooming perennials as soon as new growth appears. • Fertilize spring-flowering bulbs after flowering. Apply 2 pounds of 5-10-10 or 6-12-12 per 100 square feet. Daffodils should be fertilized again in early to mid-August. • You can begin fertilizing houseplants again with a dilute solution of soluble houseplant food. •Feed your pecan trees. Lack of lime, nitrogen fertilizer and zinc are common limiting factors in pecan tree production. Ask the folks at your local Co-op what they recommend.


Cooperative Farming News

PRUNE • Trim flowering shrubs such as forsythia, quince, winter honeysuckle and camellia after they bloom. Jasmine should also be pruned immediately after bloom. • Wait to prune spring-flowering shrubs until after they bloom. • Pinch off tips of sweet pea seedlings and mums when they are 4-inches tall. • Remove all dead blooms from spring-flowering bulbs. • You can cut tulip foliage down as soon as it is unattractive because they probably won’t come back. On daffodils, Dutch iris and other low-chill bulbs, however, leave the foliage until it turns brown. The green leaves are replenishing the bulbs for next year’s blooms. • Roses can be pruned this month. Severe pruning results in nicer, long-stemmed flowers and more compact bushes.

WATER • Water all bulbs during times of growth and especially during foliage and bloom development. Irrigate summer-flowering bulbs during dry weather. Keep water off foliage and blooms if possible. • Check the plants under the eaves of the house and under tall evergreens to see if they have sufficient moisture. • March watering may not be necessary for established lawns. However, lawns started within the last year are especially susceptible to winter-desiccation injury and need supplemental cool-weather irrigation. • Check out the automatic lawn sprinkler system for leaks, broken pipes or heads, or wasteful misting.

PEST CONTROL • Follow instructions on pesticide labels carefully. • When nighttime temperatures are forecast to remain above 40 degrees for 2-3 days, spray fruit trees, roses and other ornamental trees and shrubs with Bonide All Seasons Oil to smother overwintering insects, eggs and immature insect stages. • Keep an eye out for signs of spider mites, mealybugs and scale insects. • A wide variety of caterpillars may soon begin appearing throughout the landscape and garden. Check tender foliage on such plants as broccoli, kale, lettuce, cabbage

and cauliflower. Bacillus thuringiensis is a biological control that works well on most larvae (worms). • Aphids can become a major early spring insect problem on tender spring foliage. Use an insecticidal soap, Neem Oil Spray or an insecticide such as Malathion or Orthene.

ODD JOBS • Get your journal, calendar or notebook ready to record bloom times, timing of tasks, successes and failures, and valuable information from catalogs or seed packets. • Write up your garden plan. If you are going to be using your garden as your main source of vegetables for your family, be sure to include plants from the various groups of vitamins. • Tune up the lawnmower and be sure the blade is very sharp. Dull blades tear the grass, sharp ones cut it. • Avoid walking on wet soil in the garden. • Plan how much of each vegetable you will be planting, remembering to consider extras to can, freeze or share. Consider adding a few plants of something you haven’t tried before. • Pick a permanent spot for Bonnie herbs in the garden. You’ll be amazed at the variety offered and many of them will come back year after year. • Prepare your garden beds deeply and well, especially for vegetables. However, don’t try to work the soil — with spade, fork or tiller — until the soil is dry enough to crumble in your hand to prevent impaction. Especially with clay soils, be careful not to work them when wet. • Early spring plantings are best done on a raised bed for earlier soil warming and better drainage. • Removing the winter mulches from your flower beds … pull them off gradually as the plants show signs of new growth. The purpose of winter mulch is to act as a protector from sudden changes of temperature and chilling winds, so keep in mind it is still winter. • Turn the compost pile. Remove any coarse mulch from the garden and add it to the compost. • If you have a greenhouse, it is time to take cuttings of “wintered over” plants such as coleus, chrysanthemums, geraniums and other perennials. •Wildflowers will begin blooming this month. Remember, they must be allowed to mature their seeds if you want new plants next year.

If you have any specific lawn and garden questions, please send them to advertising@alafarm.com. March 2020


Thomas Hart built his museum out of rough-cut lumber. This building houses his vast collections of Indian artifacts.


A Hea for

Thomas shows a sample of ochre that Native Americans used to paint themselves with. He just found these and did not have to dig for them.

44 Cooperative Cooperative Farming Farming News News 44



Along the forks of the Alabama and Tombigbee rivers in Southern Clarke County rests the small community of Carlton. Here, a descendant of the Lumbee Cherokee nation has crafted his own rustic museum to house his collections of some of the finest Indian artifacts in this area. Hundreds of visitors, from all over the world, have made their way to this rural area to see the amazing relics and hear the stories associated with each piece. The owner of these works of art is Thomas Hart. At a very early age, Hart’s great-grandmother had instilled a love for and pride in his heritage. Hart has the physical characteristics of his ancestors: the high cheekbones, the coloring and even the crooked little fingers found among the Lumbee tribe. By the age of 6, Hart had already developed a passion for Indian culture, collecting pottery and other artifacts he found along the riverbanks.  “My grandfather lived in Gainestown, and he would plow & Joyceand Crowfind arrowheads for theRick garden me,” Hart recalled. “I sold my first

collection when I was 8. I still regret that!” Hart was born in Clarke County, but he grew up in Mobile. He earned a Criminal Justice degree from the University of South Alabama and then took a job with the Mobile Police Department, working his way up to the rank of major. He was third in command when he re-

Thomas placed a large tomahawk in front of his museum. He explains the significance to his guests. Many visitors take pictures in front of the massive stone.

tired after 27 years. Hart then moved to the Carlton Community and became an active member of the Clarke County Historical Society. He still serves as the Chairman of the Executive Committee. He has also been active in Pioneer Day, sponsored by the Clarke County Museum, serving as one of the original participants. 

Display area in Thomas’s museum.

March 2020


Display area in Thomas’s museum

For 71 years, Hart has roamed the streams, rivers and deltas of South Alabama to assemble his coveted collections of Southeastern Indian artifacts. His collections hold some priceless treasures of arrowheads, spear points, jewelry, pottery and stone implements. In

addition, he has collected fossils such as shark teeth and stingray barbs. Some items date back over 20,000 years. Many other pieces can be traced to the Paleozoic Era. Even though Hart has uncovered relics on both the Alabama and Tombigbee rivers, he has found

Another display area in Thomas’s museum


Cooperative Farming News

many more on the Tombigbee. “The Tombigbee is a slower stream,” he explained. “When it floods or rains heavily, things wash out of the banks. The Tombigbee banks go down in a series of points that things lodge into. That’s where I find many things. I used to hunt during a storm. I would be the first one there. Now, I go after the storms. “ Hart has worked with archeologists from both the University of Alabama and the University of South Alabama to document 34 Indian sites along the river. Some of these sites, lying many feet below the earth’s surface, hold remains that are thousands of years old. Hart is also a respected authority on Southeast American Indian culture, having been featured on the National Geographic website and in three films. His museum’s sign-in book holds signatures from Sweden, Germany, England, Hong Kong and other European countries. 

Free trees for farmers

Thomas shows his collections at Pioneer Day sponsored by the Clarke County Museum.

Thomas holds a box containing a large jasper bead, a rattlesnake effigy, a boat stone and a pendant.

One of Hart’s favorite things is sharing his collections with youngsters. Many schools bring children to the Museum for Hart to teach them about the different cultures, languages, lifestyles, beliefs and art forms found among the diverse tribes who lived in South Alabama. To hear Thomas Hart speak about each piece is mesmerizing. Early Indian relics come alive with specifics and stories, unknown to most people. Hart proudly points to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of these proud people, as well as their many contributions to today’s world. Like the elders of old, Hart uses

every opportunity to preserve the history and the identity of Native Americans. He wants to keep alive the spirit of his people, who once roamed these hills and hollows, living in harmony with the earth, the wind and the sky. At his death, he has asked his family to donate his Museum building, along with all the artifacts, to the Clarke County Historical Society. “This will be my gift to Clarke County and to the next generation,” he explained. “I’ve enjoyed it so much that I want others to enjoy it, too!” To arrange a visit to the Hart Museum, call 251-246-7666.

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World Tree Find out how to qualify This piece of pottery was found on a river blowout and is called Bayou Basin Incised. Thomas found the pieces and one of his sergeants put it back together for him.

worldtree.info/farmers March 2020




Sleep Aids Since becoming an herbalist, I have had the privilege of speaking to many garden clubs and other organizations. A few years ago, I decided it was time to end that pleasure. Recently I was invited to present a program to the Monroeville Garden Club. I said to myself, “Go ahead, Nadine, do this one more time.” And I did. My granddaughter, Jennifer, accompanied me to Monroeville, a lovely little town which is situated in Alabama’s Black Belt region. As we were entering the building, where this event was to occur, something in my right hip went “BING!” I had severe pain when I put my weight on my right side. With the assistance of the club members, as well as my granddaughter, we managed to get me inside. The members insisted that they enjoyed my presentation. However, I felt that it was just not up to my usual standard. Due to this “BING,” like Elvis, I was “All Shook Up.” For instance, one lady asked me was there an herb which would help with sleep. I did not feel that I gave her a proper answer. That is what has triggered this column. Insomnia is a common problem among the older generation. It’s not always easy to find a solution. However, some people gain benefit from taking a mixture of valerian, passion flower, hops and maybe other herbs. In one of my well-worn herb books I found an excellent listing of herbs which aid in sleep. Here’s the list. catnip, chaparral, dandelion, Dong Quai, hawthorn, hops, Lobelia, Mullein, Passion flower, Peach, Peppermint, primrose, red clover, skullcap, squaw vine, taheebo, valerian and yarrow. The author has highlighted hops, lobelia, passion flower, skullcap and valerian. This indicated that these herbs are the most beneficial. 48

Cooperative Farming News

Melatonin Extra is another natural product which has helped many people to sleep. My “BINGED” hip has improved daily and is now practically back to normal. I began to write this column several days ago. Yesterday my older son, Richard, and I attended an annual gathering at the Salem church and cemetery, located between Troy and Montgomery. My husband had ancestors buried there. Regular services are no longer held at this historic church. As we sat talking, I explained how and when I had injured my hip, causing me to be using a walking cane. One of the ladies spoke up and said, “I am a member of America’s oldest garden club and we would love to have you come to present a program.” I began to explain that I could only go if a child took me and I don’t like to ask them for too much. Before I finished this remark, Richard cut in by saying, “We will get you there.” So quickly I am now scheduled to speak to one more garden club. It will be a great privilege to speak to our nation’s oldest garden club.

The Herb Lady Nadine Johnson

For Information on herbs or to order Nature’s Sunshine Products: P.O. Box 7425 Spanish Fort, AL 35677 or njherbal@gmail.com

Accepts Checks and Money Orders


A Drug Store in a Berry

THE CO-OP PANTRY As a young widow, my life was extremely busy as I struggled to keep this farm afloat with all the chickens, ducks, goats, rabbits and more clamoring for attention and their daily feed. I scarcely noted the spindly bush growing in the edge of one of the chicken yards. The chickens freeranged during most of the day time, but I began to notice something just a little odd. In the heat of the Alabama summer, many of the chickens would be lolling under a green shady bush that appeared in the corner. Umbrella-shaped white blossoms that I at first thought were spider webs soon covered the branches and the bush grew taller than my 5-foot-4. When small green berries began appearing where all the white lacey umbrellas had been, I became a little more interested. And when those berries began to turn dark purple, myself AND the chickens were hooked! The fat hens would spend hours jump, jump, jumping to reach the tangy little purple blobs. They acted like they were delicious, but one tiny taste was all it took to tell me they WERE NOT! Then in the early mornings I began to see where deer had munched throughout the night, stripping the berries from the branches that protruded through the chicken wire

onto the outside, and even eating many of the evenly spaced leaves. Then my friend Marva Hazelrig McCrae of Hazelrig’s Orchards at Cleveland, Alabama, began talking about making elderberry syrup and I began wondering just what was growing here! By that time Mack was on the farm and in my heart, but he didn’t know anything about the tiny berries either. Friend Larry Watkins looked at the bush and excitedly proclaimed, “You’ve got yourself an elderberry bush there!” As we questioned others, read books and watched YouTube videos, most customers in our tiny general store said they’d heard of Grandpappy or somebody’s older uncle making Elderberry Wine, but they didn’t know much else about it. Since I make jelly out of practically everything, I decided elderberry jelly was the place to start. It was an almost glowing purple and was delicious. Granddaughter Aria was just beginning to talk but she could tell her daddy that she wanted “purple, purple!” when they were eating breakfast! Then a concerned customer raced into my store asking if I had anything elderberry. I told her I had no syrMarch 2020


Mack cutting elderberry to propogate.

An elderberry stem with greenery already coming.

up but just the jelly, and she bought two jars and began feeding her granddaughter elderberry jelly sandwiches as fast as she could eat them! And the little girl’s bout with the flu was over almost as soon as it started. I was intrigued. I am allergic to nearly all traditional prescription medications including almost all antibiotics. Even with herbs and natural items I have to be extremely careful. If something is made from the flowering part of a plant, I usually react to it. My body tolerates no dyes or additional coloring as well. I even have harsh reactions to local honey if the bees visited certain kinds of flowering plants. I can remember as a tiny girl my mother making jars and jars of blackberry jelly because it was one of the few things I could eat. Since elderberry was also a “berry” I thought I’d give it a try! I tolerated elderberry jelly on homemade biscuits … yum. The more research I did the more intrigued I became. A sweet couple I know in their 80s took elderberry syrup all last winter to boost their immune systems and neither one was sick at all! A dear friend who attended school with Mack and me was told by his oncologist to regularly take elderberry as he continues his oral chemotherapy pills. So anyone who knows me and my investigative reporter background was not surprised at our next actions. We studied a stack of herb books, watched even more YouTube videos and questioned anybody and everybody about elderberries’ goodness. I’m certainly not the Herb Lady, Nadine Johnson, or any of the Extension service experts who write for this magazine. But I wanted to learn as much as I could. The folks at www.RXLIST.com noted that elderberry is used for “sinus pain, back and leg pain (sciatica), nerve pain (neuralgia) and chronic fatigue syndrome” with some folks using it for hay fever and even cancer as well as heart disease, high cholesterol, headache, toothache and weight loss!

Several articles floating around on Facebook noted how something in the elderberry surrounds parts of the flu virus. While I’m certainly not a doctor or even a pharmacist, all the ads on TV and the internet for all sorts of things that include elderberry have to make anybody stop and think. But the kicker was my “bible” of herbal remedies, “Mountain Medicine, the Herbal Remedies of Tommie Bass” written by our friend Darryl Patton. He explained how the Israelis were the first to tout a commercial flu remedy including elderberry and named Sambucol and how it was just beginning to be recognized as the super plant it was even in the 1960s and 1970s. Tommie gathered elderberry almost until the time of his death, touting the juice as a wonderful “blood purifier” and the blossoms and fruit could be added to salves to help the skin this Christmas. I started running a fever, had a sore throat, hacking cough, headache and overall aches and pains. I began taking elderberry syrup four times a day and by the second day you could tell a noticeable difference. Even though I didn’t leave the farm for six days, I know the elderberry helped in my quicker recovery! If you are sick, don’t hesitate to go to your family physician. In the meantime, we’ll be watching YouTube videos by homesteaders Doug and Stacey about propagating pieces of the spindly elderberry stems into even more special gifts from God because, after all, didn’t God tell us He placed everything we’d need on this earth! “And God said ‘Let the earth bring forth ... the herb yielding seed and the fruit tree yielding fruit ....’” Genesis 1:11


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(Suzy and her husband Mack strive to live a simple life on a small homestead in Blount County. She can be reached through their Facebook page or at suzy.mccray@yahoo.com)



Smart Yard Landscaping Helpful Tips & Web Links for Spring Landscaping Projects

Follow good landscape design principles.

This is the time of year when people start getting spring fever and have a strong desire to do some landscaping. I always tell people that fall is a better time to landscape in the South, but I understand that you can’t fight human nature. The retail garden centers know this as well so the best selection of plants is available in the spring rather than the fall. If you are planning any major landscape renovations, you might find the following tips and web links useful. Follow good landscape design principles: A well-conceived landscape design, properly installed and well-maintained, adds value to your property and enhances the quality of your life. Buy or check out a book on landscape design. Here is a link to a free resource from our Extension website to get you started: http:// www.aces.edu/go/design. Focus first on low-maintenance plants suitable to your site: Once these plants are established in the right location, most require little, if any, supplemental water, fertilizers or pesticides. Choose plants that can tolerate our large variability in moisture availability. The primary focus should be on plants that can tolerate extended dry conditions after establishment and occasional excessively wet winter periods. Visit this site for a good list to get you thinking: http://www.aces. edu/go/plantlist. March 2020


Proper planting: Woody plants (shrubs or trees) can be transplanted now provided the planting is done correctly and the plants are kept well-watered the first year after planting. This web link has excellent advice on planting. I am not saying that just because I wrote the publication (well, maybe I am saying that). http://www.aces.edu/go/planting. Plant for impact: Limit the number of plants with high water and maintenance requirements, placing them where they will have the greatest visual impact and convenient access to water during drought periods. Consider harvesting roof water to water these small areas. Learn how at this site: http://www.aces. edu/go/rainwater. Avoid invasives: Do not plant exotic, invasive species. If these plants are present in your yard, remove them. They crowd out native plants and seriously threaten Alabama’s ecosystems and wildlife. One of the worst of the ornamental invasives is Chinese privet. Learn how to control this and other woody invasive plants here: http://www.aces.edu/go/privet. Aim for diversity: Create a mosaic of trees, shrubs, groundcovers, native grasses and wildflowers. Monocultures, large expanses of the same plant species, are prone to disease and insect infestation, and are not as sustainable as a diverse plant community with lots of variety including many native plants. For more information on using native plants, visit this link: http:// www.aces.edu/go/nativeplants. Avoid the quick fix or extremely fast-growing screen plants: Do not be fooled by the quick fix appeal of fast-

Aim for diversity.


Cooperative Farming News

growing plants. Such plants may require frequent pruning that creates more clippings and yard waste. Also, fast growth yields lots of lush, green shoots that can attract certain pests. Leyland cypress is a case in point. It grows very fast, but has many cultural and pest problems. Slower-growing plants may take longer to fill in your landscape, but they will ultimately last longer and create less work. Here is a good list of Leyland cypress substitutes: http://www.aces.edu/go/leylandsubs.

Limit turf areas.

Limit turf areas and the use of other water inefficient landscape techniques: Turf can be a beautiful component of a landscape, but it generally requires more water, fertilizer and maintenance than a properly selected mixture of trees, shrubs and other ground cover options. The efficient use of water in the landscape is the primary way to avoid nonpoint source pollution of our water supplies. Choose turf species wisely: Turfgrasses vary in their adaptability to climate, light, fertility needs, drought tolerance, pest susceptibility and maintenance requirements. Research their specific requirements prior to making this long-term decision. Your local Quality Coop will know when to plant and the seeding rates of commonly seeded grasses. Check out this “oldy but goody” publication from our archives on choosing the right turf grass: http://www.aces.edu/go/turf. Now get out there and start working on that landscape project. A well-landscaped yard adds great value to your home, and you can get some much-needed exercise for free.


Major Moves THE HERB FARMER in March


“In the spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.” - Mark Twain

ventures in the turkey woods. Be on the alert, however, because another thing that can move rapidly this time of the year is the weather.

Be on the Lookout for Tornadoes and Turkeys March is an exciting month for turkey hunting, but it can be dangerous if you are caught outside in severe weather. There were 28 tornadoes in Alabama last year during the month of March alone. There are some warning signs to look for if you are outdoors. During the day, you might see clouds passing rapidly and a greenish or yellowish sky that appears as a


Many things move in March, and some things move quickly. The seasons are moving from gray skies to blue; the turkeys are moving from the seclusion of the woods to open fields for fresh, green growth and insects. Finally, we find ourselves moving into spring to face new beginnings, newborn calves and new ad-

March 2020


“Clear moon, frost soon.” When there is no cloud cover, the heat from the earth’s surface escapes quickly making it more likely for a frost the following morning.

Locate the Longbeards March marks the opening month for turkey season in Alabama. For details concerning hunting dates, bag limits and hunting specifics, visit www.outdooralabama. com. There are a few time-proven tricks for locating birds on your property.

Rainy Day Scouting Rainy days are excellent times to see what turkeys you have on your property. During a light rain, turkeys will often leave the cover of the woods to come out into open fields. This is because the rain hitting leaves, limbs and the forest floor interferes with their incredible sense of hearing and their ability to detect predators. Going into the fields allows them to see the predators coming. Keep a set of binoculars handy so you can determine bird size and beard length on your gobblers.

Look for wall clouds that are dipping close to the ground or clouds that begin to rotate for signs of an oncoming tornado.

result of sunlight being reflected off of hail in the atmosphere. Look for a wall cloud and watch for details that might indicate the clouds are rotating. Obvious things we’ve all heard and associate with tornadoes are rotating funnel clouds and roaring noises like a freight train. Your best line of defense is to stay tuned in to emergency weather services and listen for tornado watches and warnings. If you are in your home, stay in a basement, or, if you don’t have a basement, stay in the center of the home with as many walls between you and the tornado as possible. Finally, put on protective headgear and goggles. Don’t worry if you look goofy. This might save your life because head trauma is the most common cause of death from tornadoes.

Weather Wisdom Some of the old time sayings about weather hold true for today. It’s great advice to pass along to the younger generation. “Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky in morning, sailors take warning.” A red sunset indicates upcoming fair weather and a reddish sky in the morning means rain is likely. “Ring around the moon? Rain real soon.” The ring around the moon means there is a warm front on the way, which often means precipitation with it. 54

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Rainy days are the best time to find turkeys around the edges of open fields.

Roosting the Birds One of the most successful techniques for harvesting a gobbler involves roosting the bird the late evening before the following morning hunt. Stand on a high el-

Find out where the birds roost the night before, and the next morning’s hunt will have higher chances of success.

evation around your property so you can hear well, and listen for the loud flapping of wings as the birds fly to roost. Once you pinpoint their roost location, you can set up the following morning for the hunt in a blind that is at the same elevation or higher elevation near the roost site. Gobblers are much easier to call in to range when they are being called up hill.

Call Softly You don’t have to be a turkey call expert to draw a gobbler into range. Often, simple yelps, clucks and purrs are all that is needed to bring a lovesick tom into range. Be sure to call softly, because you want the wary tom to have to search for you as he approaches instead of running straight to you. If you call loudly, he will suspect

Call softly and stay concealed to increase your chances of a harvest.

something is up and will often hang up and not come into range. Even if you do everything right, you can still miss opportunities to harvest a fine gobbler. Limit your movement, have the gun in position well before the tom gets to you and make sure you are totally camouflaged including your face. Put these tips together to increase your chances of a harvest. This March, take time to enjoy the leisure side of farm life with a turkey hunt. Watch the weather before you head out, and stay safe this spring.

March 2020



Home Fermenting Foods Can I Make My Own Fermented Foods at Home? How Safe Is It?

Maybe you’ve heard about it on the news, read about it in a magazine, seen it on Pinterest or Facebook … and maybe it makes you a little nervous. Fermentation … The practice of fermenting food and drinks has been around for thousands of years, but has just recently resurfaced as trendy in the United States. The first well-known fermentation by humans was in the form of beer and wine over 3,000 years ago, but most likely bread was the first fermented food. We all have probably consumed some type of fermented food at one time or another and didn’t even realize it.

So, what is fermentation? Technically speaking it is the conversion of carbohydrates to alcohols and carbon dioxide or organic acids using yeasts, bacteria or a combination thereof, 56

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under anaerobic conditions. In simpler terms, it means using beneficial bacteria and yeasts to preserve food and beverages. Worldwide there are nine categories of fermented foods/beverages: bean, grain, vegetable, fruit, dairy, honey, fish, meat and tea-based concoctions. Some of the more familiar fermented foods include sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), yogurt (fermented milk) and soy sauce made from fermented soybeans. Some of the new and popular foods and drinks being fermented include kimchi, vegetables of all kinds; kefir, which is a drink made from milk; and kombucha, which is a fermented tea. Let us back track to bacteria. Why would anyone ever want bacteria in their food or drink? If you did not know it already, our bodies (especially our guts) are already teeming with hundreds of different kinds of bacte-


ria, some good and some not so good. In a healthy human gut, bacteria is mostly beneficial and it helps us in digestion, extracting nutrients from food and defending us from harmful bacteria. Some studies are now showing that our gut flora play a large role in our immune system and mental health. The process of fermenting food, also called lacto-fermentation, is carried out by several strains of “good bacteria” and beneficial yeasts. By consuming foods rich in these organisms, the benefits are transferred to your gut. With all this said, you are probably wondering … is it safe? After all, this is talking about leaving food unrefrigerated, only to be overrun by bacteria and then continuing to eat it. If done correctly and with good sanitation in mind, it can be very safe.

More and more research is being done to see the effects on the body’s immune system and good gut flora from eating fermented foods. If you are interested in learning more about how to safely ferment food at home please plan to attend “The Art of Fermentation” workshop in Cullman on Tuesday April 2, 2020, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. with nationally known speaker Sandor Katz, who has researched and taught many fermentation workshops all over the world. He has written two books that are on the Best Sellers List and has presented in Birmingham at the Botanical Gardens about five years ago with over 100 people in attendance. To find out more about how to register for the workshop, contact Angela Treadaway at 205-410-3696 or email her at treadas@aces.edu

Basic safe home food fermentation tips In addition to the same good practices that should be used for any home food preservation projects, these tips should be particularly considered when fermenting vegetables: 1) Start with vegetables that have been grown using good food safety practices. 2) Wash all surfaces and containers that will be used with hot sudsy water and rinse well with very hot water before use. 3) Be certain that fermenting foods contact only food-grade materials (NOT garbage bags or garbage cans, etc.). The fermenting container should not be metal or have scratches or cracks which could harbor harmful bacteria. Some metal containers (other than stainless steel) may react with the acid in the food and give it a strange flavor or color and could leach into the food. 4) Start fermentation process within 24 hours of harvesting the vegetables. 5) Use the amount of salt called for in the recipe as it is essential to its safety (and texture and flavor). Be sure to use noniodized canning and pickling salt to ensure the proper proportion of salt

to vegetable. Do NOT reduce or eliminate the amount of salt as it is essential to the safety of the fermentation process. 6) Store fermenting vegetables in a sealed container at 70 to 75 degrees, which is the optimum temperature for the fermenting microorganisms. Try not to disturb the vegetables during fermentation to reduce the amount of oxygen reaching the vegetables so that mold doesn’t develop. 7) Remove any scum that forms during fermentation by skimming the scum with a clean, nonmetal spoon or cup. 8) After fermenting, be sure to handle fermented foods with clean hands and do not let them come into contact with contaminated meat or fish, or surfaces that have not been adequately cleaned. 9) After fermenting, products must either be stored in the refrigerator or canned properly.

March 2020



Cooperative Farming News

8th Annual Food Entrepreneur Conference

The Beautiful Rainbow Café, located in the city library in Gadsden, has been getting a lot of press lately. The brainchild of special education teacher Chip Rowan, the café serves vegetarian fare and dessert treats, all prepared by Rowan’s students. Thirteen of them are now working at local businesses. “There might not have been a café,” Rowan said, if not for the annual Food Entrepreneur Conference, co-sponsored by the Auburn University Food Systems Institute and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. This year’s conference is scheduled for April 8 and 9 in Clanton.

Beautiful Rainbow Cafe.

“When I first had the idea for this program, I knew nothing about the food industry,” Rowan said. “It was absolutely the best conference of any sort I have ever attended, and I’ve been to plenty.” While teaching at Gadsden’s Litchfield Middle School, Rowan taught special needs students to grow organic vegetables and to cook, with the goal of using those activities to convey math, reading and science skills along with everyday life skills. Rowan thought a good next step would be to operate a café where adolescents and young adults with significant cognitive disabilities would learn important academic and transition skills, but he wasn’t sure where to start. Then he heard about the Food Entrepreneur Conference, where other food entrepreneurs, state officials, Auburn University faculty, representatives from the Small Business Development Center (part of the Small Business Administration) and agents from the ACES food safety and quality team share invaluable information about every step of starting and running a food-related business. The two-day conference is also an important networking opportunity. “I met some really great people who were great mentors to me and continue to be mentors,” Rowan said. He especially cites Jason Wilson and Christy Mendoza. Wilson, owner of Gadsden’s Back Forty Brewery, was a speaker the year Rowan attended and now employs several of Rowan’s graduates. Mendoza, an ACES agent, speaks every year at the conference and runs the Chilton Food Innovation Center in Clanton, a nonprofit food-proMarch 2020


Chip Rowan

cessing facility for small fruit and vegetable producers, and small food businesses. Rowan said the conference pointed him in the right direction to get more information. For example, he met a speaker from the SBA’s Small Business Development Center and met with him later for more information. “Our situation is a little unique because we are a nonprofit,” he added. “We are part of the school system, but we operate as a business.” Rowan says he also learned about pertinent rules and regulations from speakers representing the Alabama Department of Public Health, and about marketing from John Marsh of Opelika’s Marsh Collective. Marsh wears many hats, one of them as a marketing guru. “Right after that meeting I came back and immediately started setting up social media platforms,” Rowan recalled. He wanted to attend the conference again, and now Rowan is getting the chance as one of the speakers. He will be joined by representatives of ADPH, ACES and the Small Business Development Center, along with experts on specific topics. A highlight of the conference, past attendees say, is the panels of businesspeople who have taken the food entrepreneurship plunge and opened their own food-related businesses. Last year, for example, Amber Anderson from the FPH Bakery in Union Springs joined Beth Hornsby from Hornsby Farms in Auburn, Robert Armstrong from G. Momma Cookies in Selma and Tiffany Denson from T.Lish in Opelika to speak about what they did right, what they did wrong, and what they would do differently. The program starts off with a segment on “So You Want to Start a Food Business,” with speakers from ADPH, the Chilton County Food Innovation Center and the ACES food safety and quality team. They acquaint conference attendees with the basics about federal and state regulations as well as food testing and food label60

Cooperative Farming News

ing requirements. Other speakers talk about subjects from effective marketing to finding a commercial kitchen to how to get your product onto the grocers’ shelves. Last year’s program included a segment on “The Future of Food,” with Auburn University Faculty members talking about changes coming with aquaponics, hydroponics and plant-based meats. Keynote speakers are invited because they have rousing success stories to tell. Past keynote speakers have included Patricia “Sister Schubert” Barnes, Stacy Brown of Chicken Salad Chick, Trey Simms of Wickles Pickles and Chuck Caraway of Southeastern Food Group. Barnes, for example, started her business in her Troy kitchen, selling her grandmother’s signature yeast rolls at a church bazaar. In 2000, Barnes sold Sister Schubert’s for $40 million to a national food company. Like Barnes, Brown started small, making chicken salad in her home kitchen and selling door to door in Auburn. Then she got a call from the Lee County Health Department saying she better stop — she was violating food safety regulations. One thing led to another, and she and her husband opened up a small restaurant. That one restaurant led to more, and the chain now has nearly 150 locations in 16 states with sales of some $75 million. Trey and Will Simms, along with partner Andy Anderson, started Wickles Pickles in Dadeville in 1998, using a 70-year-old family recipe for pickles. Today, their products are sold nationwide. Caraway’s Southern Classic Food Group started business in Brundidge some15 years ago and recently expanded with a subsidiary, Magnolia Vegetable Processors, that works with local farmers to use only Alabama-grown produce in its products. On day 2 of the conference, participants get to choose between specialized breakout sessions on topics such as Cottage Food Law certification (which allows food entrepreneurs to prepare some food products at home), catering/food service/bakery, aquaponics, writing a business plan and obtaining financing. The conference, in its eighth year, has sold out for the past two years and is moving from Auburn to the larger venue in Clanton. Part of the reason for the conference’s popularity is the recognition that Alabama’s food entrepreneurs are positioned to capitalize on the nationwide trend to eat more locally sourced foods and locally produced products. With the state’s agricultural roots, food processing ways are a natural way to grow the state’s economy. Preregistration for the two-day event is $175 until Friday, March 27. After that, the cost will be $225. To register, visit https://aufsi.auburn.edu/2020-food-entrepreneur-conference/ or call Regina Crapps at 334-8447456. Visit the Food Entrepreneur Conference Facebook page for updates to the conference agenda.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies 6 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate 1 Cup unsalted butter 2 Cups granulated sugar 3 large eggs 1 1/3 Cup all-purpose flour 10 ounces peanut butter morsels Frosting 1/2 Cup unsalted butter 1/2 Cup creamy peanut butter 2 Cups powdered sugar 2 Tablespoons skim milk 24 Reese’s peanut butter cups miniatures, chopped For the brownies, heat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside. In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine unsweetened chocolate with butter. Melt on high heat for 30 second intervals, stirring after each addition (about 90 seconds total). Add sugar and stir until combined. Add eggs, one at a time until fully incorporated. Mix in flour completely. Fold in the peanut butter morsels. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting. Brownies will be soft and fudgy! Refrigerate brownies before frosting to help them firm up! For the frosting, beat butter, peanut butter, powdered sugar and milk for 5 minutes using an electric mixer with whisk attachment on medium high. Spread over cooled brownies. Top with chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups. Cut into bars and enjoy! Store in an airtight container for up to three days.

Peanut Butter Burger 11/2 pounds lean ground beef 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 6 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter

8 slices bacon, crisp cooked 4 brioche hamburger buns, toasted Toppings (such as lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, etc.) (optional) In a large bowl, combine ground beef, salt and pepper. In a small, microwave-safe bowl, heat 2 tablespoons peanut butter for 20 to 30 seconds or until melted. Add melted peanut butter to meat mixture; mix well. Shape into four 3/4 inch thick patties. For a charcoal grill, cook patties on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 14 to 18 minutes or until done (160 to 165 degrees), turning once halfway through grilling. (For a gas grill, heat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place patties on grill rack over heat. Cover; grill as above.) Remove burgers from grill. Spread toasted buns with remaining peanut butter. Place patties on buns and top with bacon. If desired, add additional toppings.

Peanut Brittle 1 Cup white sugar 1/2 Cup light corn syrup 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 Cup water 1 Cup peanuts 2 Tablespoons butter, softened 1 teaspoon baking soda Grease a large cookie sheet. Set aside. In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, over medium heat, bring to a boil sugar, corn syrup, salt and water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in peanuts. Set candy thermometer in place, and continue cooking. Stir frequently until temperature reaches 300 degrees, or until a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water separates into hard and brittle threads. Remove from heat; immediately stir in butter and baking soda; pour at once onto cookie sheet. With 2 forks, lift and pull peanut mixture into rectangle about 14x12 inches; cool. Break cooled candy into pieces. March 2020


Peanut Rice Noodle Salad 1 1/2 Cups cooked, shredded chicken 4 Cups shredded Napa cabbage 2 carrots, julienned 1 English cucumber, seeded and sliced 1 red pepper, sliced 2 green onions, sliced on the diagonal 1/2 Cup peanuts, for garnish 1/2 Cup fresh cilantro Peanut Dressing 1/2 Cup creamy peanut butter 1/3 Cup rice vinegar (regular vinegar plus one teaspoon of sugar will work in a pinch) 1 lime, juiced 1/4 Cup vegetable oil 1 Tablespoon sesame oil 3 Tablespoons soy sauce 3 Tablespoons honey 1 Tablespoon sugar 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon salt Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes For Salad: Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss. For Dressing: Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth and creamy. If too thick, add one tablespoon of water at a time until it reaches desired consistency. Usually 2-3 tablespoons will do. Top salad with Peanut Dressing and garnish with chopped peanuts if desired. Note: You will not use all the dressing. It is delicious on leftover chicken as a dipping sauce.

Peanut Butter Pie 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened 1/2 Cup confectioners’ sugar 1/2 Cup creamy peanut butter 1 (16-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed 1 (9-inch) prepared graham cracker crust 15 miniature chocolate covered peanut butter cups, unwrapped Mix the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and peanut butter together until smooth. Fold in 1/2 of the whipped topping. Spoon the mixture into the graham cracker crust. Place the remaining whipped topping over the top of the peanut butter mixture and garnish with the peanut butter cups. Chill for at least two hours or overnight before serving.

Easy Peanut Butter Fudge 1 pound white candy coating 1 Cup creamy peanut butter 1 Cup coarsely chopped walnuts Melt coating in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from the heat; stir in peanut butter and walnuts. Spread into a greased 8 inch square pan. Chill until firm. Cut into 1 inch squares. Note: You may substitute almond bark for white candy coating.


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March 2020


WETUMPKA IMPACT CRATER TOURS March 5-7, 2020 Wetumpka - Wetumpka Civic Center & Crater Site Call 334-567-5147

What’s happening in

WWII LIVING HISTORY EVENT March 7, 2020 Dauphin Island - Historic Fort Gains Friday: 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Saturday: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Call 251-861-6992


FOGGY BOTTOM CRUISIN' March 7, 2020 Elba - Downtown Elba 12:00 noon - 4:00 p.m. Call 334-897-3125

3RD ANNUAL ST PAWTTY'S DAY March 14, 2020 Foley - Downtown Call 251-923-2111 ZOO SERVE DAY March 14, 2020 Montgomery - Montgomery Zoo Admission - 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Call 334-625-4900

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ENJOY THE WONDERS OF SPRING March 1-29, 2020 Wetumpka - Jasmine Hill Gardens and Outdoor Museum Call 334-263-5713 BECOMING AN OUTDOORSWOMAN WORKSHOP March 1-3, 2020 Columbiana - State 4H Center Admission Call 800-245-2740

BBQ & BLUES COOK-OFF March 14, 2020 Foley - Foley Heritage Park Admission - 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Call 251-943-5550

ALABAMA ANTIQUE TRAIL SALE March 1-31, 2020 Statewide - Various locations Call 256-797-5640 AZALEA BLOOM OUT March 2-31, 2020 Theodore - Bellingrath Gardens and Home Call 251-973-2217 SPRING BIRD MIGRATION March 1 - April 30, 2020 Dauphin Island - Audubon Bird Sanctuary Call 251-861-3607 SPRING BREAK GUIDED TOURS March 3-28, 2020 Gulf Shores - Fort Morgan Call 251-540-7127 GEORGE LINDSEY UNA FILM FESTIVAL March 5-6, 2020 Florence - University of North Alabama Call 64 256-765-4247 Cooperative Farming News

JERRY BROWN ARTS FESTIVAL March 7-8, 2020 Hamilton - 465 Airport Road Saturday: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Sunday: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Call 205-921-9483 BALLYHOO FESTIVAL March 7-8, 2020 Gulf Shores - Various Locations Saturday: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Sunday: 11:00 a.m - 5:00 p.m. Call 251-233-3970 GEM & MINERAL SHOW March 13-14, 2020 Dothan - Houston County Farm Center Saturday: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Sunday: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Call 334-673-3554

MOUNDVILLE KNAP-IN AND ANCIENT ARTS GATHERING March 13-14, 2020 Moundville - Archaeological Park Friday - Sunday: 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Call 205-371-2234 PINK PALACE CASINO NIGHT March 14, 2020 Birmingham - 2132 Lornaridge Lane Admission - 7:00 - 10:30 p.m. Call 205-996-5463 29TH ANNUAL FANTASY DOLL & TOY SHOW & SALE March 14, 2020 Fairhope - Fairhope Civic Center Admission - 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Call 251-424-2606

SEMMES AZALEA FESTIVAL March 14, 2020 Semmes - Mary G. Montgomery High School - 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Call 251-660-4808 FESTIVAL OF ART March 14-15, 2020 Orange Beach - Orange Beach Coastal Arts Center 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Call 251-981-2787 ALABAMA WILDLIFE CENTER'S BABY BIRD SEASON March 14 - September 15, 2020 Pelham - Oak Mountain State Park 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Call 205-663-7930 SOUTHEASTERN LIVESTOCK EXPOSITION RODEO March 19-21, 2020 Montgomery - Garrett Coliseum Admission Call 888-276-3362 SPRING PLANT SALE March 20-22, 2020 Mobile - Mobile Botanical Gardens Call 251-342-0555 68TH ANNUAL ARTS & CRAFTS FESTIVAL March 20-22, 2020 Fairhope - Downtown 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Call 251-229-1874 SPRING FARM DAY March 21, 2020 Dothan - Landmark Park - Admission 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Call 334-794-3452

MOBILE CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL March 21, 2020 Mobile - The Grounds 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Call 251-342-2809 SOUTHEAST HIGHLAND GAMES March 21, 2020 Dothan - National Peanut Fairground 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Call 251-544-6641 FESTIVAL OF FLOWERS March 26-29, 2020 Mobile - Providence Hospital Campus - Admission Thursday- Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Sunday: 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Call 251-266-7050 ASA ARCHERY TOURNAMENT March 26-29, 2020 Mitchell - Uchee Creek Campground Activity Center Friday: 6:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. EST. Call 646-580-2840 MARCH GOURD MAGIC March 27-28, 2020 Clanton - Clanton Conference & Performing Arts Center 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Call 205-580-9441 SOUTHERN MARKET DAYS VINTAGE MARKET March 27-28, 2020 Hartselle - Celebration Arena Friday: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Call 646-580-2840 MCDONALD’S BIG BASS SPLASH March 27-29, 2020 Scottsboro - 417 Ed Hembree Dr 6:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Call 888-698-2591 ELBERTA GERMAN SAUSAGE FESTIVAL March 28, 2020 Elberta - Elberta Town Park 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Call 251-986-5805 CAMELLIA CITY FEST 2020 March 28, 2020 Greenville - Downtown 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Call 334-382-3251

PLEIN AIR DAY March 28, 2020 Wetumpka - Jasmine Hill Gardens and Outdoor Museum 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Call 334-567-6463

GRAND BAY ANTIQUES AND UNIQUES SPRING SALE April 3-5, 2020 Grand Bay - 2361 County Road 255 9:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. Call 256-495-3614

OPP 60TH ANNUAL RATTLESNAKE RODEO March 28-29, 2020 Opp - Channell-Lee Stadium Admission - 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Call 334-493-2122

CIVIL WAR WALKING TOUR OF OLD CAHAWBA April 4, 2020 Orrville - Old Cahawba Archeological Park 10:00 a.m. Call 334-872-8058

MAGIC OF MARBLE FESTIVAL March 31 - April 11, 2020 Sylacauga - Blue Bell Park Call 256-249-0961 CENTRAL ALABAMA CRAWFISH FESTIVAL April 1, 2020 Selma - Lions Club Fair Park Call 334-267-6189

PINEY WOODS ARTS FESTIVAL April 4-5, 2020 Enterprise - Enterprise Sate Community College Saturday: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Sunday: Noon - 4:00 p.m. Call 334-406-2787

APRIL HISTORIC WALKING TOURS April 1-25, 2020 Athens - Athens-Limestone Visitors Center - 9:45 - 11:00 a.m. Call 256-232-5411 DRINK & DROP: AN ADULT EGG DROP April 2, 2020 Birmingham - Vulcan Park Call 205-933-1409 "COME HOME, ITS SUPPERTIME," April 2-11, 2020 Brundidge - We Piddle Around Theater - Admission 7:00 p.m. Call 334-670-6302 SIEGE OF BRIDGEPORT REENACTMENT April 3-5, 2020 Bridgeport - 2361 CR 255 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Call 256-495-3614 55TH ANNUAL EUFAULA PILGRIMAGE April 3-5, 2020 Eufaula - Various Locations Admission 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Call 334-687-3793

“What’s Happening in Alabama” Policy The AFC Cooperative Farming News publishes event listings as space allows, giving preference to agricultural events of regional or statewide interest and those that are annual or one-time events. The magazine assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of information submitted for publication and advises calling ahead to confirm dates, locations, times and possible admission fees. To be included in the calendar, send listings to: Cooperative Farming News Calendar of Events P.O. Box 2227 Decatur, AL 35609 -oremail to Calendar of Events at subscribe@alafarm.com *Please include name of event, where it will be held (both town and physical location), a phone number for more information, and an email or website.* *Event Listings must be received at least two months in advance and will be accepted up to a year in advance.*

March 2020



1-888-MOSS-USA Call for the dealer nearest you!

8415 State Highway 97 South, Letohatchee, AL 36047 - Interstate 65 Exit 151

Sale Day: Tuesdays 10:00 a.m.

Mega Green Photoperiod Sensitive

1-877-334-5229 | 334-227-8000 www.midstatestockyards.com

“Serving the Southeast since our beginning in 2003”

Drop-Off Locations: Covington Co. Matthew Hammett 334-488-0934

Sorghum Sudan Grass

ClantonAllen Wyatt 205-288-6298

- No seed head all summer long -Up to 24 - 4” leaves per plant - 3 to 4 times the yield - Lower seeding rate - Drought tolerant - Higher weight gains -Unbelievable regrowth

WetumpkaHarold Levins 334-313-3695

SW AL Harry Bryant 251-989-3992

East ALMike Boswell 706-577-1900


Cattle Panels

Fence Post - metal or wood Available separately or in bundles

Cattle, Horse, Kennel, Hogs, Goats - Large Selection

CCA or Cressote Wood Post

All in stock!

High Tensile Barbed Wire

Post Hole Digger

15-1/2 gauge, class 3, 5” spacing. 1320’ roll.

Unit with your choice. 6” or 9” auger.

AFC #417506

Available seperately: 12” auger

Field Fence 1047-6-12-1/2 Field Fence Class 1, 330’ AFC #417536


Cooperative Farming News

“My Top Pick Pinkeye Peas just plain out-yield any other variety I have planted...”


Pinkeye Pinkeye P inkeye

Top Pick Peas gives you top yields plus pods on top of the plant.

Brown Brown B rown Crowder Crowder C rowder

Cream Cream C ream

“In the six plus years I have observed peas growing, the Top Pick Pinkeye’s and Top Pick Creams are two of the best peas. They have excellent germination; seedling vigor; high yielding and easy to pick. Plus their food quality is great. They are good for “U Pick” operations because the peas set on top and the outside of the plant making a real showy bush type plant, which makes it easy for picking by hand and by machine. They are also easy to shell by hand or by sheller and make a good shell out. There are also no problems with disease. If you have a market operations, you definitely need both types of peas – Top Pick Pinkeye’s and Top Pick Creams. These are by far the best peas on the market today. They are exceptional peas.” Jason Barkett - J.E.B. Agriculture Consultant “I grew up farming and I’m impressed with Top Pick Pinkeyed peas. We had early rains and the Top Pick peas loaded up. Some we planted late; some we no-tilled; plus we had more rain, but they really made peas. They pick great and shell out good and best of all they taste great.

Seeds for Southern Soils

We sold them at the Fresh Market, along with shelled peas. The customers came back asking for Top Pick peas. We will plant more Top Pick Pinkeyed peas next year and years to come.” Bo Levins - Planterville, Alabama “I first saw Top Pick Pinkeyed peas growing at the E. V. Smith Research Center and really liked the way they put out on top and around the outside of the plant. They were really loaded up with peas. I have been planting these pinkeyed for ten years now. They produce more than the old bush running pinkeyed purple hull peas. They just out produce any other pinkeyed on the market. They shell out great and taste great. Top Pick Pinkeyed peas work for me and there is no need to plant any other pinkeyed pea.” Rob Peacock - Pike Road, Alabama

March 2020




15 Gallon 404799 - $112.59 25 Gallon 404803 - $121.59



15 Gallon 404800 - $145.29 25 Gallon 404804 - $149.97



12 Volt 45 Gallon - 454198 - $609.97* 12 Volt 65 Gallon - 454079 - $674.97*

*Boom Kits Sold Separately

55 GALLON 3 POINT Hamilton - 36’ Swath 404798 - $1,089.79 BXT - 36’ Swath 404848 - $1,275.97 7-Nozzle - 140” Swath 480442 - $1,147.97

110, 150 & 200 GALLON


15 Gallon 404801 - $169.79 25 Gallon 404805 - $174.79


AG40 HAYMASTER 40 Gallon 453562 - $249.89



TR300E-MBXT22PS 300 Gallon 416791 - $3,698.79

With BXT Boomless Nozzles - 36’ Broadcast Sprays Left Or Right Or Both


• 5 Year Frame Warranty & Powder Coat Paint • 10,000lb Toro-Flex Axles – 8 Bolt Hub – 12.5LX16 Implement Tires on 10” Rims • 35 Gallon Mix & Fill Tank System with 16” Lid and Tank Rinse • 5.5HP Honda & 2” Poly Pump • Black Tank with Site Gauge • 2” Quick Fill • Hose Hangers, Safety Chains, Adjustable Hitch

Visit A Co-Op Store Near You Or Email Jerryo@alafarm.com for Participating Stores (Prices Subject To Change Due To Freight Cost)



SINCE 1918

4 for $10 | April 1 - 11th at participating co-ops 6 pack veggies & 6 pack flowers


Cooperative Farming News

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Cooperative Farming News - March 2020