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Agriculture in Cherokee

By: Danny McWilliams

The economy’s roots of Cherokee and western Colbert County run very deep in agriculture. For many years agriculture was the primary component of the area’s
economy. Many families owned and operated their own farms, primarily growing
cotton, raising cattle and hogs, operating dairies and harvesting timber, etc. The
abundant natural resources of West Colbert County have empowered its
leadership in the agriculture industry for many years. In fact, in 2010 Colbert
County’s agricultural impact was $1.5 billion and directly accounted for over 9,000
jobs.

Many families operated these farms and lived off the land. Several cotton gins
were located in West Colbert County and remained in business until the mid-
1990s. A few decades ago, the agriculture industry began changing and many of
these families had to seek employment outside of the farms. Today all agriculture
in this area is worked by 20% of farmers and ranchers that operated it until the
industry’s downsizing. The land is still very fertile and the row crop operators
have become much larger and can manage many more acres. Today, Colbert
County is the 3rd largest corn producing county in the state of Alabama.

Colbert County’s agricultural, forestry and related industries generated 9,794 full-
and part-time jobs, representing 34.1 percent of the county’s total workforce
(28,742 jobs).

The total impact of agriculture, forestry, and related industries was $1.5 billion,
which was 34.7 percent of the county’s total economic activity ($4.3 billion). The
indirect business taxes impact was $46.1 million, 39.0 percent of the county’s
total indirect business taxes.

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