A new strategic plan for agriculture provides the framework for adding $7 billion to the state’s economy and creating 58,000 jobs by 2020.
Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan announced the “Strategic Plan to Grow Alabama’s Agriculture, Agribusiness, Forestry and Forest Products Industries” to Gov. Robert Bentley Feb. 10 at the State Farmers Market in Montgomery.
“Our steering committee and commodity groups representing the entire spectrum of Alabama’s agriculture and forestry industries have spent several hundred hours working on this strategic plan and are to be commended for their fine work,” McMillan said. “This plan tells us what we can do to work together among state agencies, private industry and other stakeholders to accomplish our goals.”
McMillan said following the strategic plan will result in a 10-percent increase in employment and economic impact from the state’s agriculture and forestry industries.
The plan identified seven keys to future growth: fostering capital investment, developing a quality workforce, ensuring freedom to operate, maintaining transportation infrastructure, expanding trade, strengthening the mission of land grant universities and promoting economic development. The plan lists specific actions needed to reach individual goals.
Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell and Executive Director Paul Pinyan served on the 12-member steering committee that developed the plan.
Federation Governmental and Agricultural Programs Department Director Brian Hardin said input given by Federation division directors and members representing the state commodity committees helped develop the plan’s goals.
“We are looking toward building a better future for farmers in Alabama, and no one knows better how to do that than farmers themselves,” Hardin said. “We appreciate our members and staff for the work they did to help produce this document. By working together with other groups across the state, we can achieve the goals of increasing employment and economic impact of farming by 2020.”
Alabama Cooperative Extension System Director Gary Lemme also served on the steering committee
“This is our road map to success,” Lemme said. “Our world, our country and our citizens are depending upon agriculture and forestry in Alabama to meet growing demands. Together, we will build a greater tomorrow.”
The plan can be viewed online at AlabamaStrategicPlan.com