Alabama announces strategic plan to bolster ag and forestry sectorsAlabama announces strategic plan to bolster ag and forestry sectors
Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan announced the “Strategic Plan to Grow Alabama’s Agriculture, Agribusiness, Forestry and Forest Products Industries” Feb. 10 to Gov. Robert Bentley.
February 12, 2015
Alabama agriculture groups and leaders hope a new strategic plan will add $7 billion to the state’s economy and create 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.
“This plan is not a wish list,” McMillan said. “It tells us what we can do to work together among state agencies, private industry and other stakeholders to accomplish these goals.”
McMillan told the governor that following the strategic plan would result in a 10-percent increase in employment and economic impact from the state’s agriculture and forestry industries.
Bentley said we should always remember how important agricultre and forestry are to our state.
“Agriculture, forestry and related businesses represent nearly 40 percent of Alabama’s economic output of $70.4 billion a year, and this strategic plan provides a clear and concise direction of improving the lives of Alabama’s working families through economic expansion,” Bentley said.
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. Each key describes a list of actions necessary to achieve goals.
Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell and Executive Director Paul Pinyan served on the 12-member steering committee that developed the plan.
“This committee showed what our groups are capable of achieving by working together,” Pinyan said. “By continuing this partnership, we can achieve the lofty goal of increasing the state’s agriculture and forestry industries by 10 percent, which will benefit all Alabamians.”
Other steering committee members were
Johnny Adams, Executive Director, Alabama Poultry & Egg Association
Dr. William Batchelor, Dean, Auburn University School of Agriculture
Leigha Cauthen, Executive Director, Alabama Agribusiness Council
Stephen Cauthen, Executive Director, Alabama Soil & Water Conservation Council
James Harwell, Executive Director, Alabama Nursery & Landscape Association
Chris Isaacson, Executive Vice President, Alabama Forestry Association
Dr. Gary Lemme, Director, Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Dr. Graeme Lockaby, Interim Dean, Auburn University School of Forestry
Greg Pate, State Forester, Alabama Forestry Commission
Dr. Billy Powell, President, Alabama Cattlemen’s Association
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