District 11 Agribusiness Summit held at Holly PondPublished 10:51am Wednesday, November 6, 2013
An Agribusiness Summit, which focused on changing trends and opportunities in the agriculture industry, was hosted by District 11 State Rep. Randall Shedd at the Guy Hunt Museum in Holly Pond on Oct. 29.
Shedd, whose district includes a portion of southeastern Morgan County was joined by Holly Pond Mayor Herman Nail in welcoming presenters and attendees.
“As your representative, my goal is to stay focused on meeting the needs of agribusiness—the number one industry in this district,” said Shedd. “I think there is a great opportunity today for young people to make extra money growing and selling agricultural products. They may not realize you don’t have to have a big farm to do it and be successful.”
Two of the Summit’s presenters were Dr. Vicki Hawsey Karolewics, president of Wallace State Community College and Rachel Dawsey, coordinator of the North Alabama Agriplex in Cullman.
Karolewics talked about Wallace State’s new 2+2 Poultry Science Program in partnership with Auburn University and other services the college provides to meet the needs of agribusiness in the area.
Dawsey discussed the many activities and educational venues available at the Agriplex and the agritourism aspect of agribusiness.
The keynote speaker was John McMillan, Commis-sion of Alabama Agricul-ture and Industries. He noted a number of im-provements the agriculture agency has made over the past three years as follows:
•Reorganized the agency to meet to tough state budgets and to operate with greater efficiency and productivity
•Supported legislation to establish tax credits for farms investing in irrigation
•Supported legislation to move the Alabama Farmers Market Authority under the Agriculture & Industries Department
•Supported the establishment of a Rural Crime Unit with Gov. Robert Bentley consolidating law enforcement agencies in the state from 22 to six
•Supported legislative approval to totally revamp the weights and measures section of the agriculture department using the private sector already licensed, the ability to set up a data base to maintain and monitor, and the ability of the agriculture department to levy civil penalties.
Farm operators in attendance were given the opportunity to ask questions regarding future policy and legislation affecting agribusiness.
“The poultry industry is crucial to our area,” Shedd stated. “Our local legislators are looking at a number of ways to help farmers stay competitive and improve their incomes. Hopefull, we will have some announcements in the near future that will do just that.”