January 19, 2018
By Jeff Helms
Gov. Kay Ivey has submitted General Fund (GF) and Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget proposals to the Alabama Legislature to fund state government without raising taxes. Ivey’s recommendations include appropriations for programs important to Alabama Farmers Federation members.
The $2 billion GF would maintain $575,000 for the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) to fund registration fees for Concentrated Animal Feed Operations (CAFOs). This funding is important to Alabama’s poultry and livestock industries, and offsets additional management costs created by the regulatory process. The Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) would receive $81,403 in state matching funds, the full amount requested. RCPP supports the expansion of on-farm irrigation and was previously known as the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP).
Ivey also requested level funding for the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries and increases for both the Alabama Forestry Commission and Forest Fire Emergency Fund.
The governor’s ETF proposal would provide $400,000 for agribusiness education, including projects like Ag in the Classroom and Classroom in the Forest. The Career Tech Initiative would receive an additional $200,000, and Career Tech Operations and Management would maintain level funding. A new appropriation of $500,000 would go to enhance civics education programs conducted by the Liberty Learning Foundation, which the Alfa Foundation and county Federations support.
The $6.6 billion ETF includes level funding for rural medicine programs in Alabama, as well as the Alabama Agricultural Land Grant Alliance, Soil and Water Conservation Committee and Resource Conservation and Development Program. The governor’s proposal includes slight increases for the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and Alabama Cooperative Extension System.