CHARLES BISHOP TO BE HONORED WITH SERVICE TO AGRICULTURE AWARD
"MONTGOMERY, Ala." Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bishop will be honored with the Service to Agriculture Award at the 79th annual meeting of the Alabama Farmers Federation in Mobile. It is the highest award presented by the Farmers Federation which is the largest farm organization in the state.
Nearly 2,400 Federation members are expected to attend the two-day meeting held at the Mobile Civic Center on Sunday and Monday. Bishop, who was elected Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries in 1998, has been an outspoken advocate for farmers and consumers in the state. He will be honored in the second general session of the Federation's annual meeting from 9-10:30 a.m. on Monday.
Gov. Don Siegelman will speak at the first general session set for the Sunday meeting at 7:30 p.m. and Lt. Gov. Steve Windom will speak at the second general session.
"As a farmer himself and a former Alabama senator, Commissioner Bishop knows the importance of standing up for farmers' rights," said Alfa Farmers President Jerry Newby. "He knows how valuable research dollars are and how much things like current use and tax exemptions can mean to a farmer's bottom line."
Commissioner Bishop carried those same passions with him when he was elected as the Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries in 1998. He often spoke out on behalf of farmers when he was a member of the Alabama senate, Newby said.
"This past year, Commissioner Bishop led the charge to bring much needed relief to Alabama cattlemen whose herds were suffering from the drought," Newby said. "The drought not only caused pastures to dry up, it ruined the hopes of many farmers who depend on hay to get their herds through the winter."
Commissioner Bishop's office coordinated a hay lift program that delivered hay to drought-stricken areas of the state. He also lobbied for $5 million in emergency feed assistance for Alabama farmers that was included in the agricultural appropriations bill. Newby also praised Bishop for his work in protecting consumers, adding that the commissioner has been a watchdog for food safety, insisting that outdated food be removed from grocery store shelves.