Alabama Farmers Cooperative bought Bonnie Plant Farm in 1975 and the family stayed on to operate the company which grew rapidly through the 80's as trucks and greenhouses were added to service an expanding market area. Bonnie Plant Farm was acquired by Decatur, Alabama-based Alabama Farmers Cooperative (AFC) in 1975 and joined a family of companies including AndersonÃƒ‚Ã¢€Ã¢„Ãƒ‚¢s Peanuts and SouthFresh Aquaculture. All facilities operated by AFC are governed by local, farmer-owned cooperatives and each benefits from the research and marketing services of the entire co-op system.
Beginning in January each year three trucks are loaded and sent out six days a week. These are cabbage and onion plants and are marketed until about the 15th of April. After this, tomato and potato plant season comes in. Last year the company had ten potato beds, furnace heated and also bedded 400 bushels of potatoes. From these beds were received early plants which fetched a good price. (The season on potato plants lasts eight weeks.)
Currently, the company has most of the plant business of all seed dealers and plant dealers from Birmingham across the state and south to the Florida line with a loyal base of 2000 regular customers on the record books. They ship to ten southern states besides Alabama with their largest tomato plant order standing at an immense 700,000 for a dealer in Indianapolis, Indiana. Of this 208 acre farm, 98 acres are in cultivation while 60 acres are in plants. The others have fruit trees: peaches, pears and apples, and have 100 pecan trees. A part is in woods and pasture. Last year an addition of a two-story packinghouse with one sealed room for a seed room was made. The second story is used to store boxes and crate material. The bottom floor is used in making crates, packing plants and sheltering our trucks and the success of winter crops depends mainly upon the weather.
In the year 2000, the business had grown to 24 growing stations and a sales force of 175. Five years later in 2005, the number stood at 35 stations in 25 states with 293 route salespeople delivering quality vegetable and flower plants to over 8,000 accounts throughout the United States: the quality of the cooperative spirit and dedicated efforts have truly borne fruit, as is evident from the above figures!
Alabama Farmers Cooperative IncPosted on Mar 15, 2006