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 June 30.
Bentley said the country of origin labeling law helps customers make informed decisions before ordering catfish in Alabama.
“HB186 is an important consumer protection measure for Alabamians,” Bentley said. “The legislation ensures 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 helps catfish farmers and consumers alike.
“The country of origin label helps 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 answers they want.”
Bentley also signed a bill making the queen honeybee Alabama’s 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, Federation State Bee & Honey Committee chairman. “This bill will encourage honeybee education and awareness so more people will know where their food comes from.”
Bentley thanked Federation members for attending the signing, adding he’s optimistic about educational opportunities the law brings.
“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 Alabama and will educate our citizens about the honeybee through Agriculture in the Classroom and other educational efforts.”
Federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan said the new laws reflect months of work by Federation members and support from legislators who appreciate agriculture.
“We are grateful to the sponsors of these bills and to the legislators who helped get them passed,” Pinyan said.