United States Railroad Administration.

Alabama online

. (page 1 of 4)
Online LibraryUnited States Railroad AdministrationAlabama → online text (page 1 of 4)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook




Glass S 3 5 f

Book , A a. A 1






Welcome to Alabama

Governor of Alabama

Alabama offers superior advantages and opportunities
to the thrifty home-seeker and the investor looking for
legitimate returns.

Alabama has caught the literal meaning of the Presi-
dent's ringing words, "the war is over," and opens wide her
doors to all classes of people who would engage in the de-
velopment of our great natural wealth and in all peaceful

Moderately priced farming lands, great areas of fertile
cut-over lands, an unsurpassed climate with an average
growing season of two hundred to two hundred and twenty-
five days, perennial streams and ample fuel supply are
material assets which Alabama can offer to the farmer and
stock grower of limited means. Alabama farmers are no
longer mere cotton raisers. They diversify and specialize.
Alabama leads in acreage and yield of two or more food and
feed crops of the nation, and is now producing almost half
as many hogs as Missouri.

Industrial Alabama has attracted the attention of the
world — its mines, furnaces, factories and foundries have
made amazing progress — and today its future is full of
promise. The great twenty million dollar nitrate plant now
being erected by the national government at Muscle Shoals
will prove to be a master industrial achievement. The
shipbuilding plants at Mobile, and the development of Ala-
bama's water powers and inexhaustible mineral resources
offers inducements iof telling force to both capital and

Alabama's citizenship is its most priceless asset. No
people on the globe are more liberal minded, law-abiding
and progressive. They extend a genuine Alabama welcome
to all new citizens and prospective home-seekers. The
State Immigration Bureau, Montgomery, Alabama, will
answer all inquiries and mail State literature on request.

n; «*: :.>

NOV 28 •' 1919

■ ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■jimmummmummnummnnnnmnmnummim.

United States Railroad Administration

Director General of Railroads


This booklet is different from any you have ever received, and is sent
you because you have asked for information regarding Alabama. It is
issued by the United States Railroad Administration in response to a
demand for authoritative and accurate information regarding the possi-
bilities for farming, orcharding and live stock raising in Alabama.

The matter has been prepared by representatives of all the roads
under Federal control serving the State. You will note that no particular
section or county is described in detail, but the State is treated as a whole,
with only such sectional references as the geographical and climatic con-
ditions make necessary.

There are no extravagant phrases in praise of Alabama and its re-
sources and the opportunities there offered to the newcomer. The pur-
pose of the book is simply to convey reliable information regarding the
State, and the plain statements herein regarding its crops, supplemented
by photographs, all of which have been taken within the State, speak
for themselves.

The officers of the United States Railroad Administration and officials
of the several railroads serving Alabama simply wish to add to what is
contained in this booklet, that the man seeking a new home can well afford
to visit Alabama before deciding upon his location.

Issued by


Agricultural Section

J. L. EDWARDS, Manager

Washington, D. C.


An Appreciation of the South

By Hon. Franklin K. Lane

Secretary of the Interior

^(VVy RECENT trips into the South have convinced
+/%'%' me that there are wonderful possibilities for
agricultural development in that section. In many of
the Southern States there are large areas of the rich-
est kinds of land suitable for diversified farming, stock
raising, and fruit growing, which have never been put
into cultivation. The rainfall is abundant and the
crop-growing season a long one. I am satisfied
that most satisfactory location from a standpoint of
climate, productivity, sanitation and health, and other
requirements are available in those States for com-
munity settlements for returning soldiers and sailors,
as well as for others intending to engage in agricul-

Washington, D. C, February 28, 1919.

Cheapest Agricultural Lands

"I am convinced that a very large majority of the re-
turning soldiers for whom it is planned to make pro-
vision, could be taken care of in the coastal plain of
the South.

I am convinced that here are the cheapest lands
adaptable to agriculture in the entire country, all
things considered. * * * In the past two de-

cades enormous areas of pine forests have been de-
nuded of their merchantable timber, and these lands
are now available for clearing and are now ready for
agricultural uses." — Hon. H. T. Cory, Consulting Engi-
neer, United States Department of Interior, in charge
Federal Investigations in the South.

Savannah, Ga., November 11, 1918.

'^'tf' ROM PULPIT ROCK, which proudly rears its head 2,000 feet high in the ex-
4j\ treme northern part of Alabama, to the Southernmost counties, whose shores
^ are lapped by the blue sparkling waters of the Mexican Gulf, Alabama unrolls
a panorama before the man desirous of locating in another section that is hard to
improve upon.

A Diversified State.

With its diversity of latitude and altitude, the State produces practically all
of the products of the temperate and semi-tropical zones. It is one of the few
States that raises both wheat and cotton, apples and oranges, and all of the agri-
cultural and horticultural products between these widely-separated extremes.

Its diversity of grasses is also marked, and ranges from alfalfa in the lime-
stone soils of the State to the democratic Bermuda grass and lespedeza, which are
every year gaining greater favor with the stockmen on account of their ability to
stand heavy and constant grazing.

The State might be divided into the following rough geographical divisions:

The Tennessee Valley.

The Tennesse Valley, extends along the northern boundary of the State
from east to west and is watered by the Tennessee River, which flows entirely
across the State. In this valley is to be found almost every conceivable crop in the
seedsman's catalogue, ranging from wheat to cotton, and from alfalfa and the other
clovers to velvet beans and soy beans.

Here are to be found extensive cotton plantations, live stock and general farms,
truck gardens and nurseries.

The Mineral Section.

The Mountain, or Mineral Region, extends from the northeast corner of the
State and ranges in a southwesterly direction, with the hills diminishing in size
as they approach the Gulf Coast. Orcharding here has been developed to an ex-
tremely high degree, live stock raising flourishes, and practically all of the min-
erals known to industry are found in almost inexhaustible quantities.

Page Four


Sheep on an Alabama Pasture in February.

Central Alabama.

Central Alabama might be said to include a large portion of the cotton-produc-
ing area of the State, which comprises a large number of old plantations, and up-
to-date live stock and general farms.

During 1918, there were 681 cars of cattle and 373 cars of hogs shipped from
ten counties in Central Alabama and the "Black Soil Belt", which is a decided
change from the all-cotton system of farming formerly in vogue.

The Black Soil Belt.

The "Black Soil Belt" is a portion of Western Alabama that has become na-
tionally known for the reason that it takes its name from the color of the soil
in this region, which is almost as black as soils composed of alluvial deposits.
This is also a section of old plantations which are being converted into extensive
dairy and beef cattle farms, and immense plantations that were once covered with
fleecy cotton are now resplendent in alfalfa blooms.

Many soils in this section are of limestone formation, on which alfalfa and the
other clovers thrive.

The Cut-Over Section.

The Cut-over Section comprises the entire Southern portion of the State that
was once covered with yellow pine trees, and it is being rapidly and intensively

Corn with Velvet Beans Coming Up in Middles Making Two Crops on Same Acre.


Page Five

♦ t

m ti

Harvesting Wheat Crop in Northern Alabama.

developed along every conceivable line of agricultural, live stock and horticultural

The soils have proven exceedingly productive, and all of the crops of the tem-
perate zone and' many indigenous to the sub-tropical zone are being produced
here in vast quantities.

Because there is so much more land in this section than there are farmers
to properly cultivate it, the lands are still to be had at low prices, and upon prac-
tically any terms of payment that the purchaser wishes to make.

The Gulf Coast.

The Gulf Coast section of Alabama, as its name implies, is composed of those
counties whose shores are washed by the bays that are formed by the outlying
islands which protect the State from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

The soils on the Gulf Coast are not sterile sands, but all have clay subsoils,
and are suited not only for the trucking industry, which is here developed to an
exceedingly high degree, but also for all other phases of agricultural, live stock and
horticultural endeavor.

It is in this part of the State that the Satsuma Orange has been developed
to such an astonishing extent in the past five or six years.

In addition to the carloads of Satsumas that are shipped from the Gulf
Coast, hundreds of cars of cabbages, Irish and sweet potatoes, watermelons and
cucumbers are shipped each year.

In one of the Gulf Coast counties sweet and Irish potato shipments in the
Summer and Fall of 1918 amounted to a half million dollars, and 15 years ago

North Alabama Cotton Making Over a Bale to the Acre.

Page Six


Shorthorn Calves.

there were but few farmers in the county, as at that time the sawmills were busily-
engaged in felling pine trees and converting them into lumber.

Sandy Loam Lands.

For countless centuries South Alabama has been covered with a tremendous
wealth of yellow pine trees which remained and continued to grow until the timber
more accessible to the marts of trade and commerce, had been converted into lum-
ber. This, of course prevented the development of this section, because no farming
could be done in the forests.

After the White Pine of the North had been pretty generally converted into
lumber, the sawmill men began cutting the yellow pine timber, and have now reach-
ed such a stage in their milling operations that there are vast areas cut over and
ready for the settler. These cut-over lands have never been cropped, but for centur-
ies have been growing up in grasses indigenous to this soil.

Practically all of these lands are sandy loams, underlaid with a heavy clay
subsoil at a distance ranging from a few inches to several feet below the surface,
and numerous demonstrations on a large scale at widely separated sections through-
out this cut-over land territory have conclusively demonstrated that with intelli-
gent handling these soils are capable of producing far more than the stiffer and
heavier soils that are found in Northern states.

The large land owners, Federal and State Agricultural Agents, and Agricul-
tural Specialists of the railroads have expended much money toward developing ex-
act information as to the proper methods of economically producing farm crops in

One of Alabama's Fine Roads.


Page Seven

Sheep on Winter Pasture.

this cut-over section, and there is no need for the newcomer to experiment or take
chances on any methods of farming. All that it is necessary for him to do is to
follow the information thus secured and he will be insured success.

As a concrete illustration of what these cut-over lands are capable, it might
be mentioned that five years ago peanuts were grown only as a grazing crop,
and comparatively few cattle were raised although a few were allowed to range wild.
In 1918 ten counties in Southeast Alabama produced 12,763,000 bushels of pea-
nuts, valued at $15,208,000, which is 22% of all the peanuts raised in the United
States, the total crop being 55,597,000 bushels, and 14% of the value of the total
crop of $95,829,000.

During 1918, there were 2352 cars of hogs shipped out of seventeen counties
in South Alabama. Up to 1912 no hogs had been shipped from this section.

In the cut-over lands tobacco has also been successfully and profitably intro-
duced, while another section has taken the lead of all the South as an early sweet
potato district.


Alabama for many years has been known as a "Cotton State", because of the
tremendous crop of this fleecy staple that it produced, but with the modern trend
everywhere in favor of a permanent agriculture, based upon livestock, the State
has gone extensively into the raising of cattle and hogs.

Cotton was formerly the one "money" crop grown, because it will perhaps stand
more neglect and abuse than any other product grown in the soil and be sure of

— .SB********-

Herefords and Hay Thrive Equally Well in Alabama.

Page Eight


Shorthorns on Alfalfa in January.

returning a fair yield, and it is the one crop that the planter could permit the ten-
ant to raise, in perfect security that no matter how badly the plant was treated, it
would be sure to return him profit.

Because of the demand for labor in the industries, the Alabama farmer has
adopted a live stock system of farming, and is finding it exceedingly profitable.

The Following Table, Showing the Number and Value of Horses and Mules, Cattle
and Hogs on Farms and Ranges in Alabama Has been Prepared by
the United States Bureau of Crop Estimates.

No better description of Alabama's growth along lines of diversification and
live stock raising could possibly be shown than the following figures. Ordinarily
statistics are dry, but when the amazing growth in all classes of livestock between
1910 and 1919 is noted, comment is unnecessary.

April 15, 1910

Number Value

Horses and Mules 382,782 $45,228,501

Cattle (including milk cows) 932,428 13,409,626

Hogs 1,266,733 4,356,520

January 1, 1919

Number Value

459,000 $67,473,000

1,345,000 49,331,000

2,223,000 37,791,000

A Bunch of Hereford's.


Page Nine

Rich Pastures Make Cheap Grains.

Hogs sold or slaughtered.











Cattle sold or slaughtered from the farms.
1909 1918









Year 'Round Pastures.

Enjoying a combination of grasses, like Bermuda, lespedeza and carpet grass
for Spring, Summer and Fall grazing, and burr clover, crimson clover and vetches
for Winter, the stockman has grazing the year 'round for his cattle.

With alfalfa and melilotus, (in certain sections), cowpeas, velvet beans and soy
beans for hay ; and corn, Japanese Cane and the various sorghums for silage in every
part of the State, the farmer is never at a loss for something with which to feed
his herds.

In addition to the inexhaustible quantity of feed that can be produced on a
minimum acreage, the open winters do not require any elaborate barns for the
housing of the cattle during the winter rronths.

For hogs there are the grazing crops before mentioned, and in addition, rape,
chufas, cull sweet potatoes and peanuts, all of which are raised at slight cost, and
harvested by the hogs at no expense whatever.

All Varieties of Hay Yield Heavily.

Page Ten


Some Black Soil Belt Duroc Jerseys.

In Alabama a number of men who were formerly cotton growers, exclusively,
now ship in cattle from the livestock yards, run them on velvet bean fields, and
after finishing them on cotton seed meal and corn, send them back to the stock yards,
where in a number of instances they have topped the market.

Several years ago when prices were normal the Alabama Experiment Station
demonstrated that the expense of producing a steer, varied from $4.90 per hun-
dred weight for one thirty-three months old, to $5.07 for one twelve months of age.

Top Prices for Hogs.

Alabama hogs have also enjoyed the distinction of commanding the highest
prices in the St. Louis stock yards. By reason of the ease with which hogs are
raised few stock hogs are shipped into the state. The hog raiser counts on getting
two litters a year, and by reason of the mild seasons he can plan these litters, so
as to enable him to finish his hogs and market them, and not come in competition
with the tremendous number of corn-fed hogs that swamp the markets each year
in the late Fall in the North.

The Alabama Experiment Station has demonstrated that hogs can be raised
on peanuts and Alabama pastures, at a less cost than any other known combination
of feed, having produced them in time of normal prices, for less than two cents.

During the past several years when certain sections of the country were visited
by severe and prolonged droughts, the Alabama pastures and even the open range
were so attractive, that thousands of head of cattle from the drought-stricken area
were sent into Alabama.

The open range in the State offers splendid grazing early in the season, and the
switch cane in the creek bottoms keep the cattle on the open range in fine condition
throughout the Winter.


A Dairy Herd.


Page Eleven

Two Acres of this Corn Yielded 400 Bushels in the Tennessee Valley.

Dairy Conditions Almost Ideal.

With silage cutting from 12 to 15 tons to the acre; twelve months open pas-
turage ; with cattle living out-doors all the time ; lumber for feed and milking
barns to be had at very low prices ; cheap labor for caring for stock ; cotton seed
meals, the finest concentrate for dairy cows yet discovered, produced right at home ;
with home mills grinding velvet beans into meal, which with cottonseed meal forms
a perfectly-balanced ration; with unlimited markets within one night's travel in
every direction; with transportation facilities for moving products all that could
be asked — there is nothing that will prevent Alabama from becoming one of the
leading dairy districts in the Union.

All Breeds Represented.

In Alabama can be found breeders of Jersey and Holstein dairy stock, and
Shorthorn, Red Poll, Aberdeen Angus and Hereford beef cattle.

Many head of cattle are shipped into the State each year for grazing and are
finished on the velvet bean fields and corn. A velvet bean field lends itself won-
derfully well to live stock raising, as the cattle are simply turned into the fields
after the corn has been picked, and harvest the beans, vines and blades with no
expense whatever for shocking or handling.

Ready Markets.

There are large stock yards in the Central part of the State and these yards
together with the numerous packing houses and abattoirs offer a ready local mar-
ket for those who do not care to ship to the big markets.

A Forty-acre, Bearing Pecan Orchard.

Page Twelve


Shorthorns Given as Prizes to Corn Club Boys.

Many towns in Alabama have formed co-operative hog-raising associations, and
on specified dates, weekly or semi-monthly, have hog sales, to which are attracted
buyers from many points, who by reason of the tremendous demand for hogs of
all sorts, furnish a competitive demand for them.

There are hundreds of thousands of cattle that are never fed a mouthful of
grain or hay, but simply allowed to run half -wild until they are three or four years
old upon the open range.

While maximum results are not secured from this primitive method the fact
that it is profitable shows the possibilities under efficient management and proper
care and feeding.

Change from Cotton to Livestock.

In that portion of Western Alabama which because of the soil being very dark
is nationally known as the "Black Soil Belt," many of the farmers who formerly
raised cotton by the thousands of acres have cut down their acreage in cotton, and
gone into stock raising, and in this section are to be found all classes of the live
stock industry, from the feeder to the breeder of registered stock.

Diversified Breeding.

In fact, one former cotton farmer has become such an enthusiastic devotee
of livestock farming that he is successfully and profitably raising on his place
pure-bred Herefords, Holstein and Jersey cattle and Duroc hogs, and in the few brief
years he has been engaged in breeding stock has attracted national attention by
reason of the splendid animals he has been able to produce.

Sheep Grazing on Alfalfa.


Page Thirteen

Shorthorn Yearlings.

Silos are the rule rather than the exception all over this section, and one farm
has eight concrete silos, each with a capacity of 250 tons, and is planning to erect
others at convenient points on the thousands of acres embraced in their operation.

In many districts the farmers have formed dairy associations and shipped in
grade and pure-bred stock, and while the out-put of the creameries has increased
at a tremendous rate, they have no difficulty whatever in finding a market for their
entire product and because of the vast amount of dairy products annually shipped
into the State the market will always be good.


Whether a man runs a few sheep on a small farm or grazes them extensively
on a large acreage in Alabama, they will be found to pay handsome returns. The
mild, open winters permit lambing at an early season of the year, with compara-
tively light mortality, and on the open ranges sheep can always find grazing Sum-
mer or Winter and plenty of pure, running water.

The sheep here are not bothered with foot rot, and where ranged on wide
areas the stomach worm is not prevalent, as it only comes where the sheep are
pastured too closely. Because of the absence of burrs and underbrush in these
clean Piney Woods ranges, the wool is always graded very much higher than West-
ern wool and sells at correspondingly increased prices.

No one ever thinks of feeding sheep. There are many sheepmen owning from
500 to 10,000 head of sheep who rarely see them except at clipping time. They are
given no attention at the lambing period; in fact, the only care given them at all
is to throw salt on the ranges.

The dog menace is no greater here than elsewhere, and for the man with a
large flock who would have a herder accompany his sheep the mortality from dogs
will amount to practically nothing.


Shorthorn Calves in the Black Soil Belt.

Page Fourteen


Part of Alabama's 67,686,000 Bushel Corn Crop in 1918.


Goats are also a profitable investment, inasmuch as they are given absolutely
no attention, and from the time they are dropped until they are sold, the billies afford
all the protection from dogs that is needed.

There is a good local demand in most all localities for goats, and those who
might be inclined to sneer at eating goat meat will change their minds as soon as
they partake of a young kid that has been properly cooked.

Many of the owners of goats are beginning to cross their flocks with Angora
bucks, and this gives them a long, silky clip that is very much in demand at at-
tractive prices, entering as it does into the manufacture of summer clothing for
both men and women.

Montgomery Union Stock Yards.

In July, 1918, the Union Stock Yards at Montgomery opened for business, and
in the first seven months handled 50,958 head of cattle, which were disposed of for
over $4,000,000. They also handled 13,731 head of horses and mules in transit.

While this plant has a daily capacity of 2,500 cattle, 5,000 head of hogs and
5,000 sheep, there are times when its facilities are taxed. In January, 1919, the
yards handled 25,804 head of cattle, sheep and hogs, for which the producers re-
ceived three-quarters of a million dollars.

The live stock interests are growing rapidly, and plans are already being drawn
for the enlargement of these yards.

Corn Growing.

There is a tradition that the first corn in North America was brought to Cen-
tral Alabama by a tribe of peace-loving Indians, who had come north from Mexico

Holstein Calves and Angora Goats.

1 3 4

Online LibraryUnited States Railroad AdministrationAlabama → online text (page 1 of 4)