Department of Agriculture Cuts

Ron Sparks AL Agriculture Comm

Alabama's Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks says he is shocked by the astronomical cut for his agency.

Sparks says he spoke with Governor Riley a few days before the tax vote and the governor didn't mention anything about cutting 32-percent of his budget.

Agriculture is a $4.7 billion industry pouring more than $40 billion into the state's economy.

The Department of Agriculture is the second largest office in the state.

Half of its budget comes from agriculture fees and the other half comes from a general fund that the governor cut.

The cuts amount to almost $5 million.

Sparks thinks politics played a role in Riley's proposal to cut his department. He is talking about the previous agriculture commissioner, Charles Bishop, who was vocally opposed to the governor's tax package.

He says he will appeal the 32-percent cut in his agency's budget.