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June 23, 2009   Email to Friend 

New, Redesigned Farming Feeds Alabama Tags Now On Sale
Debra Davis

Newly redesigned Farming Feeds Alabama license plate now available.
Alabama motorists can show support for the state's largest industry, agriculture, and help educate thousands of school children about farming by purchasing a Farming Feeds Alabama vehicle tags.

Commonly known as the "ag tag," the license plate was redesigned this year and continues to feature scenes of Alabama agriculture. The tag also helps fund the award-winning Farming Feeds Alabama television commercials. In 2008, ag tag sales reached their highest mark with 4,096 tags sold that year.

"State law requires that affinity tags be redesigned every five years," said Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry A. Newby. "The new design is similar to the previous tag which has been popular with farmers and urban motorists alike. The impact the ag tag has had on our industry has been tremendous. Not only does it allow drivers to show their support for agriculture, it helps us spread that message through teachers and television commercials."

Farming Feeds Alabama commercials, which were filmed on location at Alabama farms, showcase the state's agricultural diversity. An estimated 195 million viewers have seen the commercials.

Kim Earwood, chairman of the Alabama Ag in the Classroom Steering Committee, said proceeds from ag tag sales have made a huge impact on that program. "The ag tag is the main source of funding for the annual Alabama Ag in the Classroom Summer Institute for educators," she said. "Teachers earn continuing education credits while they learn ways to use agricultural-based lessons for math, science, reading and history."

Teachers trained by the Ag in the Classroom program cumulatively have an estimated 6,500 students a year, and that number increases each year considering those teachers use the activities and teaching aids for years to come, she said.

Funding from the ag tag also is used for Ag in the Classroom county workshops for local teachers who couldn't attend the summer institute.

Ag tag proceeds also provide funding for agricultural educational grants for classroom projects. Teachers have used the grants, up to $500 each, to purchase beehives, plant school gardens and purchase incubators to hatch eggs.

An ag tag can be placed on a truck so long as the truck's gross vehicle weight (GVW) doesn't exceed 12,000 pounds. If a pickup truck is being driven for personal or agricultural uses only and not in conjunction with a commercial operation in any way, the driver may declare the GVW of the vehicle only without regard to the heaviest load to be carried, even if it is used in combination with something else (pulling a trailer) or carrying a load. The allowance only applies to pickup trucks with two axles that are used for agricultural or personal use (non commercial).

If the truck has an empty weight of 8,000 pounds or less, the registration fee is $23 for the standard license plate (plus an additional $50 for the ag tag).

An ag tag cannot be used if registering the truck with a farm (F1) tag. Also, an F1 license plate must be registered at the combined gross vehicle weight (truck, trailer and heaviest load) of up to 30,000 pounds and can only be used to transport farm products or personal property of the farmer for use on his or her farm.

For example, trucks displaying a farm license plate cannot be used to tow a travel trailer or boat for personal and/or recreational purposes. It must be for use on the farm. The price of the F1 tag is $30. A farmer may consider purchasing a standard pickup truck license plate, rather than a farm plate because of the cost and it can be used to transport personal property. Another reminder is that trailers used for agricultural purposes do not have to be registered.

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