Today’s Topic: State budget update

by | Jun 4, 2013

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

Southern Farm Network logoThe state Senate recently passed its budget plan for the next fiscal year, and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services fares pretty well overall in the proposal.

Like the governor’s budget, the Senate’s version includes funding for the Agricultural Water Resources Assistance Program, or AgWRAP, which is important for helping soil and water conservation districts across the state keep pace with increasing demand for water resources. The Senate’s budget also restores funding for the Southeastern N.C. Agricultural Events Center and the N.C. Wine and Grape Growers Council, and it provides additional funding for the department’s international marketing efforts.

In addition, there is money in the budget to bolster the department’s food safety efforts and to modernize equipment at the state’s agricultural research stations.

The Senate also wants to provide additional funding to support the operations of the N.C. Forest Service. Commissioner Troxler says the Forest Service has seen extensive cuts in its operating funds in recent years, and these cuts have begun to affect the staff’s ability to fight wildfires around the state.

Not everything in the Senate’s budget is to the department’s liking. The bill also asks the department to identify budget reductions of $1.5 million.

Click on the audio player below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda discuss the Senate’s budget and the next steps in the budget-making process.

You can get a snapshot of the Senate budget in the money report here, or read the entire budget bill here.

[Audio:|titles=Today’s Topic for June 4]

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