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February 27, 2013   Email to Friend 

Mary Johnson
(334) 235-1406
February 27, 2013

Alabama Farmers Market Authority Director Don Wambles, at podium, says consolidating the FMA into the state Department of Ag and Industries will benefit farmers, consumers and communities. State Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan, second from left, also announced bills streamlining the certification process for measuring devices, which are sponsored by Rep. Paul Lee, R-Dothan, left, and Sen. Billy Beasley, D-Clayton, right.

MONTGOMERY, Ala., - Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan announced a bill proposing the transfer of the Alabama Farmers Market Authority (FMA) to the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries. McMillian and FMA Director Don Wambles discussed the measure during a press conference Tuesday at the state house.

Sponsored by Rep. Chad Fincher, R-Semmes and Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, the legislation would consolidate the two agencies. McMillan said the proposal would save taxpayer money and improve efficiency.

“As I have traveled around the state, everybody thinks they are part of the department now,” McMillan said. “(The FMA) has done a fantastic job. Their responsibilities have increased at the same time their resources have decreased. We know we can do a better job as one entity than we can as two under-manned, under-funded organizations.”

Since 1999, the number of farmers markets in Alabama has increased from 17 to 140, according to Wambles.

“I saw the end of the road. I could not allow our department and what we have worked for over the last 18 years to (dissolve), not for our farmers or for our communities across the state,” Wambles said. “In the overall scheme, I think the consumers of the state of Alabama will win.”

At the press conference, McMillan also discussed bills streamlining the certification process for measuring devices, including fuel pumps. Rep. Paul Lee, R-Dothan, and Sen. Billy Beasley, D-Clayton, are sponsors of the legislation.

The FMA is controlled by a nine-member board of directors with one member from each congressional district, an at-large appointment and the commissioner of ag and industries. They serve to promote, advocate and educate farmers and consumers about opportunities with farmers markets.

For more information, visit www.fma.alabama.gov.

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