During an abbreviated spring Legislative Session, the General Fund (GF) and Education Trust Fund (ETF) budgets increased, including funding for programs important to Alabama farmers.
The $7.2 billion ETF budget, which goes into effect Oct. 1, was the largest in state history. Overall, the Career Tech line item was $8.3 million, including $451,900 for agribusiness education programs such as Ag in the Classroom.
Funding at Auburn University included $250,000 to revive the livestock judging program.
The Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station saw an increase of $673,000 to $34.3 million, while funding for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System increased $707,000 to $36 million. The Rural Broadband Grant Program through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) was level funded at $20 million.
In the $2.4 billion GF budget, the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries received almost $15 million, including new funds for the Sweet Grown Alabama state agricultural brand, $250,000; and Farm to School, $120,000.
Funding for the Concentrated Animal Feed Operations (CAFO) program at the Alabama Department of Environmental Management was preserved at $575,000. The Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) received an additional $1.6 million for a total of almost $10.4 million. AFC appropriations included $1.7 million for rural and community fire protection.
Funding for Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) programs increased to $4 million. The Soil and Water Conservation Committee (SWCC) received $2.9 million, including more than $81,000 in matching funds for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program to increase on-farm irrigation, and more than $350,000 in matching funds for the Feral Swine Program. SWCC received an additional $200,000 in the ETF for a total of $2.1 million, while the education appropriation for RC&D was up to $3.1 million.