BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Dec. 14, 2006 – Wal-Mart Stores announced today that Alabama-based Arrowhead Farms will be showcased during the months of December and January in conjunction with the company’s Salute to America’s Farmers program. Salute to America’s Farmers, launched in September, is a year-long campaign to spotlight Wal-Mart’s commitment to purchase from local growers for distribution to stores in their areas in support of locally grown agricultural products. Throughout the next several weeks, Arrowhead Farms will team with Wal-Mart Stores to provide home-grown sweet potatoes to numerous Wal-Mart Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets in the region and provide visibility to the company’s commitment to Alabama agriculture and growers around the country.
“Wal-Mart buys more United States agricultural products than any other retailer in the world and we’re proud to introduce Salute to America’s Farmers as a tribute to our country’s growers, underscoring our company-wide commitment to farmers across the United States,” said Bruce Peterson, Wal-Mart Stores senior vice president, perishable food division. “We understand that consumers want to purchase quality products that help support the local economy and we’re proud of our ability to bring wholesome, home-grown selections to our customers in Alabama. This commitment not only allows us to offer fresh, quality selections but also generate savings on distribution costs that we can pass on to our customers.”
Arrowhead Farms’ owner Doug Haynes has farmed all his life. He takes after his father and grandfather, who started growing sweet potatoes because the soil in their area provided a good condition for the crop to grow. About 13 years ago, Haynes was approached by Wal-Mart to serve as the regional sweet potato supplier to their stores. This year, Arrowhead Farms, located in Cullman, Ala., is expected to supply approximately 3.4 million pounds of sweet potatoes to Wal-Mart Supercenters.
“Wal-Mart recognizes the value of locally grown produce and providing it to their customers,” Haynes said. “We’re thrilled that through our relationship with them, we’ve been able to bring more sweet potatoes to homes throughout Alabama and surrounding areas.”
Wal-Mart launched the Salute to America’s Farmer program in September and each month will showcase one local grower from each of four states. Local farmers and growers in all 50 states will be spotlighted throughout the upcoming year. During each state’s showcased month, consumers can identify local produce via corresponding signage in local Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets. In addition to Arrowhead Farms, Wal-Mart suppliers Rice Fruit Company in Pennsylvania, Triple T Farm & Greenhouse, LLC in Kentucky and Turkey Knob Growers in Virginia are being saluted in their respective regions during the upcoming weeks.
“Arrowhead Farms is an important supplier to the agricultural industry in the state of Alabama,” said Alabama’s Agriculture & Industries Commissioner Ron Sparks. “We take great pride in our local farmers and appreciate Wal-Mart’s continued support and commitment toward the growers and producers in our state.”
Wal-Mart’s relationships with U.S. suppliers extend beyond its support of local agriculture. In 2005, Wal-Mart spent $200 billion on merchandise through its relationship with 61,000 U.S. suppliers. In the state of Alabama in FYE 2006, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. spent $1,083,452,187 for merchandise and services with 1,276 suppliers. As a result of these supplier relationships, Wal-Mart supports 50,979 supplier jobs in the state of Alabama.*
As of November 2006, Wal-Mart’s presence in Alabama includes 79 Supercenters, 11 Discount Stores and 11 SAM’S Clubs. It also has three Distribution Centers for a total of 36,635 associates.
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Every week, more than 127 million customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club locations across America. The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back locally. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $245 million to local United States communities. To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmart.com, or www.walmartfoundation.org.
*supplier figures provided by Dun & Bradstreet