Agriculture and forestry are positioned well in the Alabama General Fund budget approved Tuesday by a Senate committee.
The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee voted 13-1 in favor of the $2.38 billion package, which will be considered by the full Senate when the Legislature convenes Monday.
The plan calls for the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries to receive $14.8 million, up $1.9 million from the current fiscal year. The total includes $250,000 for the Sweet Grown Alabama agricultural brand program, $120,000 for the Farm-to-School program, $130,000 for the industrial hemp program and $3.8 million for the Resource Conservation and Development Program (RC&D). The Agricultural Conservation and Development Commission would receive $500,000 for a variety of programs.
The Soil and Water Conservation Committee is set to receive $2.9 million, including over $81,000 in matching funds for on-farm irrigation through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) and over $350,000 in matching money for the Feral Swine Program.
Alabama Forestry Commission funding is set to increase $1.25 million, to almost $10 million. Under the plan, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management would retain $575,000 for the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) program.
The committee-approved budget represents a $167.3 million increase over the current fiscal year, but $173.8 million less than Ivey's proposal prior to the pandemic. Ivey has said publicly she expects Alabama tax revenues to decline at least $1 billion due to COVID-19; however, the largest impact will be on the Education Trust Fund budget.
The full Senate is expected to vote on the General Fund budget early next week. If approved, it will go to the House of Representatives for consideration.