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June 30, 2015

A.J. Watson
(334) 613-4219

Top photo: Gov. Robert Bentley signed the country of origin labeling bill for catfish and catfish-like foods today. Pictured with the governor from left are: Federation Area 9 Organization Director Robert Utsey; Dallas County farmer Travis Wilson and his sons, Trevor and Cole; Hale County farmer Townsend Kyser and his daughter, Laura; Federation State Catfish Producers President Will Pearce; Lawrence County farmer Milton Taylor; Perry County farmer Catherine Brady; Federation Governmental and Agricultural Programs Director Brian Hardin; Perry County farmer Jim Brady; Federation State Senate Legislative Programs Director Matthew Durdin; and Federation Area 6 Organization Director Wallace Drury. Bottom photo: Pictured with the governor from left are: Federation Bee & Honey Division Director Mac Higginbotham; Federation Governmental and Agricultural Programs Director Brian Hardin; Federation State Senate Legislative Programs Director Matthew Durdin; Limestone County beekeeper Lionel Evans; Morgan County beekeeper Lindsey Trousdale; State Rep. Jim Patterson, R-Meridianville; State Bee & Honey Committee Chairman Bill Mullins; Jefferson County beekeeper Jimmy Carmack; State Bee & Honey Committee Vice Chairman Joe Lambrecht; Calhoun County beekeeper Justin Hill; Tallapoosa County beekeeper Terry Martin; Walker County beekeeper Barry Banks; Cullman County beekeeper Hobson Hite; and Washington County beekeeper Andy Webb.

With a smile and the stroke of a pen Gov. Robert Bentley signed two Federation priority bills dealing with country of origin labeling and the queen honeybee today.

Bentley said the country of origin labeling law would help customers make an informed decision before ordering catfish in Alabama.

“HB186 is an important consumer protection measure for Alabamians,” Bentley said. “The legislation ensures that restaurants properly label the country of origin of catfish and catfish-like foods. Alabama catfish is important to the overall economy of Alabama, with our state’s catfish industry creating 5,800 jobs. I appreciate the Alabama Legislature for passing this bill to guarantee the public knows the specific origins of catfish and catfish-like foods that are eaten in Alabama restaurants.”

Hale County catfish farmer Townsend Kyser said the law will help catfish farmers and consumers alike.

“The country of origin label will help strengthen the catfish industry and the rural areas in which it is concentrated,” Kyser said. “People want to know where their fish comes from, and now they can feel confident getting the answers they want.”

Bentley also signed a bill to make the queen honeybee the official state agricultural insect.

Several farmers and Federation staff members, including Madison County beekeeper Bill Mullins, attended the ceremonial signing.

“If Alabama didn’t have queen honeybees, our agricultural industry wouldn’t be as successful as it is,” said Mullins, chairman of the Federation State Bee & Honey Committee. “This bill will encourage honeybee education and awareness so more people will know where their food comes from.”

Bentley thanked Federation members for attending and said he looked forward to the educational opportunities the new law will allow the queen honeybee.

“Agriculture is the state of Alabama's top industry, producing a yearly economic impact of $70.4 billion,” Bentley said. “HB286 will expand the important role the queen honeybee plays in the state of Alabama and will educate our citizens about the honeybee through Agriculture in the Classroom and other educational efforts.”

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