Boasting a majestic American flag and the phrase “Farming Feeds Alabama” in all-caps, Alabama’s “Ag Tag” license plate has a more than two-decade-long history in the state.
The Ag Tag celebrates Alabama’s 44,000 farm families and costs $50 annually, along with an additional $5 when a metal plate is supplied. The proceeds from the purchase of the plate go toward the Alabama Farmers Agriculture Foundation.
The foundation supports and advances agricultural literacy, Ag in the Classroom, livestock expositions, and other promotional projects, including the annual Alabama Ag in the Classroom Summer Institute for teachers, Farm-City Week programs, college scholarships for students majoring in agriculture-related degrees, and prizes for livestock show competitors. Teachers have used grants from the Ag Tag, up to $500 each, to purchase beehives, plant school gardens, and purchase incubators to hatch eggs.
The Alabama Farmers Agriculture Foundation was founded by the Alabama Farmers Federation, and today they work as partner entities. The federation created the Farming Feeds Alabama campaign in 1998, and the Ag Tag celebrates that branding and further brings awareness to agriculture, supports agricultural education, and engages consumers.
Launched in 2002, the plate is on its third design, which incorporates farm commodities and equipment along with the splendid stars and stripes. That was an update from a design that featured rolling hills, farm commodities, and, more generally, a rural lifestyle.
Here is today’s tag:
The Ag Tag is available for private passenger automobiles, pickup trucks, motorcycles, and pleasure motor vehicles. It has been featured on T-shirts (with the catchy phrase “Tag, I’m it” incorporated into it), as well as in print advertisements and TV commercials.
“I’m proud to be an Alabama farmer and that agriculture has supported my family for years,” Steve Lake told the local newspaper a few years ago. “Buying an Ag Tag for your vehicle is a great way to promote agriculture and show support for farmers.”
Lake at the time was serving as the Cullman County Farmers Federation president and today is an Alabama Farmers Federation state board member.
As of November 2023, there are 7,086 of these license plates in circulation in the state of Alabama, according to the Alabama Farmers Federation.
Examples of personalized tags include plates owned by father-son farming duo Dennis and Jeff Maze: the elder has WEFEED on his Ag Tag, while his son has CHIKNS.
“These tags are great conversation pieces,” Jeff Maze said in an article for the federation. His family has had these tags on their vehicles since 2002. “I like to know I have something that travels down the road and tells my story.”
Jeff’s wife, Hannah, is a teacher and has benefited directly from Ag Tag sales by attending Ag in the Classroom Summer Institute.
“People don’t know where their food comes from anymore, and we need teachers to incorporate that in their classrooms,” Dennis Maze said. “That is why it is so important to support this cause.”
And, of course, lots of other families put their own spin on how they promote their farm and get conversations going.
The Roberts family in Fayette County, Alabama, has plates that read RFARM, RFARM2, RFARM3, RFARM4 and 8CHIKN — the latter of which represents their eight poultry houses.
“I am proud to be an Alabama farmer,” Debbie Roberts said in the Alabama Farmers Federation article. “I am proud of my tag. It says, ‘Farming Feeds Alabama,’ and that is the biggest truth for agriculture.”