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July 15, 2014

A.J. Watson

Alabama Farmers Federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan (left), addresses the crowd at the Alabama Agriculture and Forestry Strategic Plan Initiative Conference at the state Capitol building in Montgomery yesterday.

The halls of the state Capitol were buzzing with delegates from Alabama’s farming organizations, universities and private businesses yesterday.

As a part of Governor Bentley’s Accelerate Alabama Strategic Plan, the Department of Agriculture and Industries sponsored the Alabama Agriculture and Forestry Strategic Plan Initiative Conference.

“This is the beginning of the strategic planning effort we are developing between agriculture, forestry and related agribusinesses in Alabama,” Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan said. “We felt like this was a natural progression from the economic impact study we conducted a couple of years ago. Agriculture and its related industries play a vital role in Alabama’s economy, and we need to plan where we’re headed in the future.”

Presentations ranged from water issues, GMOs, forestry economic outlook, organic farming, shipping related to agriculture and breakout sessions for specific commodities.

Alabama Farmers Federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan spoke briefly at the conference, where he emphasized the significance of the task at hand.

“To have a strategic plan in place is a positive outlook for our state,” he said. “We want to focus our attention on having a collaborative effort with all agencies involved. As part of the Governor’s plan, we can accelerate profitability for our farmers.”

Overall, McMillan said the future is bright for Alabama agriculture.

“My degree is in economics, so I understand supply and demand,  and almost everything operates off of that when you really get down to it,” he said. “The worldwide demand for increased food production is going to be double in 2050, so through things like this, and with the proper planning, Alabama will play a major role in the coming years. 

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