It’s a big day for the Alabama Farmers Federation.
The organization announced Thursday it is ready to begin due diligence after signing a contract for the iconic Hallmark Farm. The 500-acre site on I-65 at Exit 280 will be the home of the new Alabama Farm Center.
Federation President Jimmy Parnell said a new regional agriculture center is long overdue.
“It’s been more than 70 years since Alabama invested in a regional agricultural center. Current facilities are outdated and can no longer meet the needs of Alabama,” he said. “We are excited to be part of the Alabama Farm Center, which will serve our residents and attract visitors from across the country.”
Parnell also said that leaders throughout Alabama, in particular Jefferson County, have shown a large amount of interest in the project.
“The Alabama Farm Center will benefit the local community, Jefferson County and Alabama as a whole,” he said. “We have talked to leaders across the state who are eager to invest in creating a premier agriculture and event center for the State of Alabama and the Southeast.”
The Federation has identified potential sources for approximately 70% of the $158 million budget needed to complete the project. Those plans call for an indoor livestock arena, covered outdoor arena, two livestock barns and an exhibit hall.
“We are excited about the prospect of moving forward with the Alabama Farm Center at Hallmark Farm.” Parnell said. “The location was chosen after a competitive site selection process throughout Alabama. Jefferson County is working cooperatively with the Federation to bring a state-of-the-art agriculture and event center to the heart of the Southeast.
“The Farm Center would create jobs, enhance tourism and bolster the economy.”
ALFA said the due diligence phase is expected to conclude by June 2024 and the project is expected to be formally announced.
Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.