MONTGOMERY, Ala. (July 22, 2020) – Today, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Commissioner Rick Pate, Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) to establish collaborative efforts and strengthen relationships between agencies.
“The signing of the MOU is a momentous event between the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries and EPA. This demonstration of commitment to partnership between our agencies, recognizes the integral and necessary relationship between agricultural production and environmental stewardship,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “EPA is excited and looks forward to collaborative opportunities with ADAI.”
“The agreement we signed today formalizes the long-standing partnership between our department and EPA,” said Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Rick Pate. “We look forward to developing and implementing science-based solutions that protect the environment and enhance the sustainability of agriculture in our state.”
The MOU between EPA and the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries includes communication/coordination; education and outreach; and recognition of environmental stewardship activities.
Highlights in the MOU include:
- Hosting Agriculture Roundtables and/or Educational Farm Tours to foster a dialogue between EPA and the agricultural community on the successes, challenges, and opportunities to work together to achieve well-managed, productive farms and a clean environment.
- Participating in agricultural events such as State fairs, farm shows, and technical field days to expand open discussion between EPA and the agricultural community.
- Recognizing farmers for their environmental stewardship and conservation efforts that contribute to efficient farms, healthy soils, and clean water.
Agriculture is one of the top industries in Alabama, contributing approximately $70.4 billion to the state’s economy and employing approximately 22% of the state’s workforce. Alabama’s top ten commodities are broilers, cattle & calves, soybeans, eggs, cotton, peanuts, corn, wheat, aquaculture and hogs. Alabama’s poultry industry generates more than $15 billion in revenue each year, accounts for an astounding 65.6% of the state’s annual farming revenue and employs more than 86,000 workers on farms, processing plants and allied industries. There are over 43,000 farms in Alabama covering 8.9 million acres of farmland. Alabama boasts the third most timber acreage in the U.S., with two-thirds of the state covered in forest land (22 million acres).