Research / Agriculture
SLC Regional Resource | April 2019
Note: Since the release of this report on April 15, 2019, Hurricane Michael was retroactively upgraded to a Category 5 storm.
Hurricane Michael roared onto the Florida Panhandle on October 10, 2018. A Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour — just shy of the 157 miles per hour necessary to be classified a Category 5 storm — it was the third strongest hurricane to strike the United States mainland. As Michael moved northeast across Alabama and Georgia, the hurricane’s fierce winds, towering storm surge and punishing rain caused billions of dollars in damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure in the Southern region.
For farmers in Florida, Alabama and Georgia, the timing of the storm could not have been worse. Just as harvest season for many vegetable and row crops was beginning, like a plague of locusts, Michael devoured nearly every farm in its path. This SLC Regional Resource, current as of April 15, 2019, reviews the agricultural impact of Hurricane Michael on Florida, Alabama and Georgia. Across the three states, cotton and timber were hardest hit, but damage to other agricultural products and infrastructure was equally devastating.
Other | January 2019
As the 2019 legislative cycle begins, legislators across the South are preparing and pre-filing legislation to address emerging and relevant policy issues in their states. With its regional focus, the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) is uniquely positioned to research and identify current and emerging policy issues and trends. This report was prepared by SLC policy analysts Anne Roberts Brody, Cody Allen and Roger Moore as a snapshot of issues and trends that are anticipated to emerge during the 2019 legislative term.
This report previews current and emerging trends that have been identified under the purview of the SLC’s six standing committees, which are relevant to policymakers across the South. The Agriculture and Rural Development preview discusses industrial hemp cultivation and the struggles of rural hospitals, while the Economic Development, Transportation and Cultural Affairs preview considers occupational licensing regulations and the funding of transportation and state infrastructure. In Education policy, teacher pay legislation and school counseling are trends to watch for the 2019 legislative term, while the management of coal combustion residuals — commonly referred to as coal ash — is an important emerging issue in the Energy and Environment arena. The Fiscal Affairs and Government Operations preview compares online sales tax legislation in the wake of the South Dakota v. Wayfair decision, and the Human Services and Public Safety preview examines balance billing policy at both the state and federal level.
Policy Analysis | October 2018
Transportation facilitates agriculture development by linking farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and service industries to grain elevators, processors, feedlots, markets, ports, rail, and barge facilities. Because agriculture requires large amounts of fertilizers and chemicals, it needs motor carriers that can safely haul hazardous materials. However, obtaining and maintaining a commercial drivers license can be costly and time consuming.
The inherently seasonal nature of agriculture requires drivers to be available to transport freshly harvested crops, or to provide fuel to implements of husbandry in a timely fashion. Delays caused by driver or vehicle shortages can be costly, resulting in spoiled crops and/or reduced returns. Likewise, the seasonal nature of this work means that farmers, farm workers and certain farm-related service industries need the ability to transport these goods during limited periods of time and for shorter distances than drivers for other industries. Recognizing this, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act of 2012 authorized a broad exemption from many federal regulations for vehicles that are classified as covered farm vehicles and granted states broad authority to waive certain Commercial Drivers License (CDL) requirements for farmers and employees of designated farm-related service industries. These exemptions offer the flexibility that is vital to the agriculture industry.
Federally Authorized CDL Waivers
SLC Agriculture & Rural Development Committee
Daniel B. Verdin III
Policy and Program Manager
Originally formed in 1961, the SLC Agriculture & Rural Development Committee’s agenda focuses on issues critical to the future of farming and farm communities, such as the distribution of water and other natural resources – critical for the agricultural sector – and new opportunities for the export of agricultural commodities to international markets. Several reports prepared by the committee have measured the economic impact of agricultural sector, often considered the “engine of the economy” in most Southern states. The committee's work also centers on the continued development of rural communities, highlighting access to healthcare and transportation; integration with the global economy; the many differences and surprising similarities between rural and urban America; and how to begin to bridge the infrastructure challenges that divide these communities.
More SLC Research into Agriculture
Policy Analysis | May 2018
Policy Analysis | April 2018
Webinar | June 2017
SLC Regional Resource | December 2016
Policy Analysis | September 2016
Policy Analysis | November 2015
SLC Regional Resource | January 2015
Webinar | October 2014
Policy Analysis | September 2014
SLC Issue Alert | June 2014
Webinar | May 2013
SLC Regional Resource | July 2011
Policy Analysis | October 2010
SLC Regional Resource | June 2006
SLC Regional Resource | April 2006
SLC Regional Resource | July 2005
SLC Regional Resource | January 2005
SLC Regional Resource | September 2002
SLC Special Series Report | February 2002
SLC Regional Resource | July 2001
SLC Regional Resource | August 2000
SLC Regional Resource | March 2000