Dale Peterson | Alabama Agriculture questions and answers

Tractor on a farm

The Agricultural Commissioner has a $30 million budget and controls hundreds of jobs. Image from Flickr.

In some major political races, accusations of lying and cheating are being thrown around left and right, but the Dale Peterson for Alabama Agriculture Commissioner campaign isn’t taking any guff. Posted less than 24 hours ago, the Dale Peterson Alabama Agriculture Commissioner commercial has gotten almost a half-million hits on YouTube. This video is sure to lead to some cash advance money for the Dale Peterson Alabama campaign — and raise questions about the Alabama Agricultural Commission position.

The Dale Peterson Alabama advertisement

The video that advertises Dale Peterson for Alabama Agricultural Commissioner seems to make anyone who sees it sit up and take notice. It plays like a checklist of Alabama Republican stereotypes: Riding a horse on a farm? Check. Aviator sunglasses and a big cowboy hat? Check. History of military service and a drill-sergeant voice? Check. Big gun? Check. Standing up for the little guy? Check. It may sound like parody, but this video — for the Dale Peterson campaign — means business.

See the Dale Peterson Alabama video

Why is the Agricultural Commissioner elected?

The Dale Peterson Alabama Agricultural Commissioner advertisement raises questions about the Alabama elections. First, why is the Agricultural Commissioner elected? Most people don’t realize how much money (several million dollars) the commissioner controls. While many states elect agriculture commissioners, in several others it as an appointed position. One argument is that more elections means more electorate involvement and therefore a more representative government. However, the other side argues that with so many elections, voters simply cannot inform themselves about every candidate.

The department Dale Peterson as Alabama Agriculture Secretary would control

The Alabama Department of Agriculture that Dale Peterson is running to head has been around in one form or another since 1883. The head of the department has been elected since 1891 and serves for four years. The Department of Agriculture and Industries is responsible for helping to regulate food, drug and animal feed safety, inspecting weights and measures devices, livestock reporting, agricultural chemicals, environmental impacts and more. The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industry employees almost 675 people and has an operating budget of $30 million.

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