By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama state Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, announced that he is seeking the Republican nomination for commissioner of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries.
Dial said that his campaign is focused on creating jobs in the state – whether it be agriculture, professional services or anything in between.
“I have a reputation of rocking the boat, stepping on the status quo,” Dials said. “We need someone to carry on Commissioner McMillan’s legacy, who will stand up for Alabama farmers and continue to bring more jobs to our great state.”
Dial is a retired general in the National Guard and former educator.
Dial describes himself as a get-it-done conservative who says he is ready to serve the people of Alabama.
Sen. Dial said that agriculture, forestry and related industries have an annual economic impact of more than $70 billion and account for 580,000 jobs in the state of Alabama and that as a third-generation Alabamian, he knows the importance of agriculture.
Dial said that he wants to continue to grow agriculture and industry in the state by putting Alabama jobs first. This includes promoting Alabama’s agricultural exports with Cuba and South America, developing a statewide irrigation program and creating an agricultural cabinet that would share best practices and feedback from farmers.
“I want to grow all of Alabama by creating jobs and better opportunities for the people of our state,” Dial said. “We have to increase agricultural exports, protect our farmland and food sources, and work with our agricultural research universities to ensure the future of farming in Alabama.”
Current Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan is term-limited from serving another term. Dial has served for decades in the Alabama Legislature. While agriculture and forestry are Alabama’s largest and most important industries, the Department of Agriculture and Industries has been hard hit by deep cuts over the last decade.
Poultry is the largest sector of Alabama’s farm economy. Alabama is the number two state in the country from producing broilers (chickens raised for human consumption). Poultry houses have an average cost of over $500,000 each. Over 600 were constructed in Alabama in 2015, alone.
In Alabama, 3.4 percent of farms earn $1.0 million or more. They accounted for nearly 63 percent of the value of sales for Alabama products. Farms with less than $1,000 in sales accounted for 32 percent of Alabama’s farms.
The major party primaries will be on June 5, 2018.