Alabama Agricultural Symposium


  John McMillan

Commissioner of Agriculture & Industries


The population of Planet Earth passed the seven billion mark this October, more than doubling in only 50 years. How will we feed and clothe so many, given a finite supply of water and arable land?


Alabama farmers and agribusinesses are working to meet the challenge. But, how well positioned are we for a future of burgeoning population growth?


On Tuesday, November 29, some of the best minds in America and Alabama will meet to discuss this and other issues concerning our food and fiber future. Nearly 150 Alabama leaders from business, higher education and government will gather for a day of discussion with the purpose of creating a strategic plan to maximize our agricultural output while ensuring the safety and security of our food supply.


A key element is managing Alabama's vast water resources. We have 15 watersheds in Alabama, yet we remain unprepared for the demands of our municipalities, industries and agricultural interests. Our long and arduous legal battle with the State of Georgia over water rights should have been a wake-up call. Yet, Alabama has only one-tenth the irrigated farmland of our neighbor to the east.


Other issues, such as bioengineering, foreign trade and something called "sustainable agriculture" will be debated in our daylong conference in Birmingham. Any one of these topics evokes some measure of heated discussion, and you can be assured there be some of that.


As stated earler, our mission is to provide the framework for a strategic plan for Alabama's future in feeding a raidly growing world. We intend to do that and report back to you in the near future.