Responding to recent budget cuts, the Alabama Department of Agriculture recently announced significant layoffs to the state’s agricultural investigators. Governor Robert Bentley recently announced significant budget cuts, including a large reduction of the state’s Agricultural Department budget. As a result of these cuts, the state issued layoffs to 2/3 of the Agriculture Department’s agricultural investigators.
Alabama agricultural investigators essentially monitor and police animal rights abuses, investigate cruelty to animal charges, and deal with livestock and farm equipment theft. Essentially, they serve as agricultural police, relieving burdens on rural law enforcement. Agricultural investigators also inspect farms and ranches and help enforce agricultural regulations.
The Alabama cutbacks are part of a larger national narrative. The economic downturn and the current recession have led many states to reduce their budgets in an effort to avoid deficit spending. Agricultural regulatory agencies are often on the chopping block. State like Iowa, for example, are considering changes to water regulation in hopes to spend money more efficiently. Other states like Idaho are reducing regulatory power in an effort to attract agricultural businesses to the state.
The overall impact of the layoffs is yet to be seen. However, Governor Bentley is planning further budget cuts for the 2012 fiscal year, further reducing the Agriculture Department’s funding and risking further layoffs.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer