SPARKS URGES PASSAGE OF FARM BILL
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Ron Sparks, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries, urged Congress on Monday to pass a farm bill, saying that further delays will harm the nation's farmers.
"Farmers are within days of planting their crops and farmers must know how to plan for the year, they can not do that without a farm bill," said Sparks. "The farm bill affects all citizens because it strengthens and expands programs that reduce hunger and improve nutrition in the U.S. as well as increase investments that make rural communities stronger."
Alabama's agribusiness industries account for 476,000 jobs -- 21 percent of the state's workforce -- with annual earnings of more than $9 billion. No less than 48,000 Alabamians call themselves farmers, farmers who pump more than $40 billion into the state's economy.
"Farm bill programs enhance the quality of life in communities nationwide by protecting the farms and ranches that provide fresh food, beautiful landscapes and maintain local communities," said Sparks. "I urge the U.S Congress and the President to pass the farm bill because the future of Alabama as we know it depends on it."