Ensuring freedom to operate

Unreasonable regulations that are not science based restrict industry growth by limiting options, preventing the adoption of emerging technology, and increasing costs. Inconsistencies among regulatory agencies at the local to federal level result in industries being controlled by the most restrictive regulations. Growth in agricultural and forestry industries requires priority access to water, land, energy, transportation infrastructure, and digital technology. The importance of agricultural and timber products will grow with the increased global population and demand for food and shelter. Alabama must position itself to capitalize upon local, regional, and global markets. Unreasonable regulations will limit the viability of the agriculture, agribusiness, forestry, and forest products industries.

Goals

  1. Ensure that laws and regulations impacting agriculture, agribusiness, forestry, and forest products industries are reasonable, affordable, and coordinated at the municipal, county, state, and federal levels.
  2. Encourage a statewide “pro-growth” culture for agriculture, agribusiness, forestry, and forest products industries that fosters expansion and product diversification among existing businesses, attracts allied industries, and encourages local entrepreneurs.

Actions

  1. Provide economic incentives to utilities to encourage adequate and reasonable cost of service to agricultural customers.
  1. Ask Governor Bentley to petition the Alabama Legislature, congressional delegation, and regulatory agencies to consistently ensure that public policy and regulations are supporting agriculture, agribusiness, forestry, and forest products industries’ access to surface and groundwater resources.
  2. Require the Alabama Geologic Survey to provide landowners information on ground and surface water resources to support responsible irrigation development.
  3. The Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries will keep representatives of the agriculture, agribusiness, forestry, and forest products industries informed of the Alabama Water Agencies Working Group (AWAWG) process and recommendations. This will help to ensure that agriculture, agribusiness, forestry, and forest products industries can capitalize upon Alabama water resources.
  4. Agriculture, agribusiness, forestry, and forest, products industry leaders will be involved in the AWAWG process to encourage building and use of environmentally safe agricultural runoff, storage, and retention structures to support irrigation.
  1. The Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries will form a task force composed of the Alabama Public Service Commission (PSC), Alabama Power Company, Alabama Electric Company, Tennessee Valley Authority, PowerSouth Energy Cooperative, and Alabama Rural Electric Association to facilitate planning for future energy needs of the agriculture, agribusiness, forestry, and forest products industries.
  2. Agricultural Experiment Stations and Extension will conduct research and education programs to improve energy efficiency and develop energy saving technology for farms, food, and forest product processing plants and agribusinesses.
  3. The Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries will form a working group composed of Alabama’s energy providers and leaders in agriculture, agribusiness, forestry, and forest products industries for the purpose of achieving affordable energy for farms and businesses, especially at a rate consistent with industrial and manufacturing customers.
  4. Provide tax incentives to foster adoption of energy conservation practices and technology.
  1. The Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries will encourage digital service providers and the PSC to ensure that reliable and affordable high speed digital services are available to all rural communities by 2020.
  1. The Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries will form a cross industry task force to review the nutrient management permitting process and standards. The task force will suggest constructive administrative changes to the AFO/CAFO permit process
  1. The Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries will seek methods to streamline the process for site assessment and permitting.
  2. Land grant universities will develop and verify reliable methods of measuring storm water runoff from agricultural and forestry operations.
  1. Work with the legislature to enact legislation making it a crime for a member of the general public to apply for and gain employment under false (deceptive) pretenses in an effort to gain knowledge of intellectual properties, trademark secrets, internal strategy and policy, and workforce practices.
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