A collaborative effort between Auburn University's research division, the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service and the Alabama Agribusiness Council, the study shows that agriculture, agribusiness and forestry impact the state's economy by $70.4 billion a year.
"This study clearly indicates that agriculture, forestry and agribusiness are the backbone of Alabama's economy, amounting to some 40% of the state's $175 billion gross domestic product," McMillan said.
In addition, the study, entitled "Economic Impacts of Alabama's Agricultural, Forestry, and Related Industries," reports 580,295 Alabamians - roughly one-third of all workers in the state - work in agriculture, forestry and related industries.
"Growth in our sector, thanks to strong foreign demand for farm commodities, has been steady and the outlook is positive," McMillan added.
He added that the goal of the state agriculture department is to support the growth of agriculture and agribusiness. "With up-to-date technology, we can provide improved services to meet the demands of the farmers and agribusinesses who, in turn, must meet the demands of the marketplace, both foreign and domestic," McMillan said.
He commended the Alabama Agribusiness Council, Alabama Cooperative Extension Service and Auburn University for their leadership and commitment to providing solid research to define the size and importance of Alabama's agriculture, agribusiness and forestry industry.
"They have stepped up to demonstrate leadership at a time when Alabama has become more urbanized and distanced from rural interests," McMillan added.