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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Farm to Market Roads--2nd try to Post

Even into the middle of the last century, farmers here in northern Alabama often lost their whole harvest, picked and loaded onto a truck. The loaded produce rotted on the farm while the family watched and waited. Rain made the unpaved roads impassable for days. However, even a one-day delay was all it took for a truck full of produce to be unsalable.

A friend agonized as he told me of the plight of of his neighbors' rotting harvest sitting on the idle trucks. He thought that Big Jim brought north Alabama into the 20th century. People in north Alabama still idolize Governor "Big Jim" Folsom (elected governor in 1946). Farm-to-market roads lifted people out of desperate poverty. People had hope. The roads effectively deflected one of the weather problems associated with a successful year on the farm.

We take it for granted that our food we raise or buy will have no problems traversing local roads. Food just automatically comes to the farmer's market. This week has been rainy and more is expected. As I was out driving in the rain in the country at 6 a.m., I was grateful for the vision of Governor Folsom. Read the article below for more of Big Jim's vision.
 
(By the way, I knew Big Jim. Our daughters were in the same grade and played together often.)
 
"Former Governor James E. "Big Jim" Folsom, father of Lt. Governor Jim Folsom, Jr. was inducted into the Alabama Road Builders Hall of Fame April 14th at a ceremony in Montgomery.

The Alabama Road Builders Hall of Fame was formed in 2002 to properly recognize the many individuals and companies who have contributed so greatly to the transportation construction industry in the state of Alabama. The mission of the Alabama Road Builders is to honor, preserve and perpetuate the outstanding contributions of individuals and companies that have brought and continue to bring significant recognition to Alabama.

Folsom was honored for the implementation of Alabama’s“Farm to Market” Road program. Folsom rightly understood that the entire economy of the state would be stimulated if we facilitated getting products to market in a cost effective manner. Beginning with the vision of paving 100 miles of road in each of the 67 counties in Alabama, Folsom eventually spearheaded the construction of over 18,000 miles of paved roads in the state. Folsom’s infrastructure program also constructed 217 miles of bridges statewide. (bold mine)
Approximately $650 million of federal, state and county funds were invested in the program. Historians have judged Folsom’s “Farm to Market” program as one of the most efficient and effective uses of combined state and federal funding in our nation’s history.
The legacy of Folsom’s vision is that Alabama entered the mid-century poised to attract new industry that would restructure the Alabama economy and lead us down a pathway that continues to bear economic fruit today.

The Alabama Road Builders Hall of Fame was formed in 2002 to properly recognize the many individuals and companies who have contributed so greatly to the transportation construction industry in the state of Alabama. The mission of the Alabama Road Builders is to honor, preserve and perpetuate the outstanding contributions of individuals and companies that have brought and continue to bring significant recognition to Alabama."
This information is found here.
Your turn
Can you imagine working all year, fighting the weather all year, finally picking a crop and then watching it rot in the yard? Year after year, some people lost their harvest due to the lack of roads. Farm-to-market roads exist in many states, possibly yours. Were you aware of the projects in your state? Some far-to-market and ranch-to-market roads are marked as such. Ours aren't.

1 comment:

  1. I wouldn't be a good farmer. Couldn't take the stress and strain.

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete

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