Birmingham, Alabama , United States
Oct 03, 2015 10:35pm
Caucasian - Conservative - Government Reform - Pro- gun - Married - U.S. Marine Corps - Straight -
|Info||Running on a platform of AgriBusiness leadership, profitability and bringing more jobs to Alabama, Dale Peterson believes there is tremendous untapped opportunity to grow employment in Alabama through expansion of agriculture and its related industries, while simultaneously protecting the environment. |
Dale says, "Today's Alabama agriculture industry faces many problems. Alabama has a constantly shrinking number of farmers and ranchers who have no choice but to abandon agribusiness - because they can't make a living at it." Why has this happened? Demand continues to increase for agricultural products to feed, clothe and house the population - not only in Alabama, but also around the world. The average age of an Alabama farmer is 55. There are fewer than 50,000 farmers in Alabama, and fewer young people are pursuing farming as a means to make a living because it has become increasingly more difficult to earn a living in agribusiness.
The agricultural lifestyle is unique. Along with it come many rewards and also many hard times. I personally understand this. During the 1980’s I owned over 1,000 acres of farmland in Georgia. We grew cotton, peaches, pecans and other row crops. Every day was fraught with some kind of problem. The machinery would break, workers wouldn’t show up, we had either too much or too little rain, pests tried to destroy the crops, etc. Even so, at the end of each day we had a feeling of accomplishment, because we worked through all of the problems that we faced. It’s hard to understand or appreciate the feeling of gratification that comes from tilling, planting, growing and harvesting crops if you’ve never done it.
If our country is to continue as a world leader in agricultural production - and it must - we need more farmers and ranchers. We need young people to return to farming and ranching. We need to help them be successful and able to make a decent living. "As Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries, that’s one crucial area I will concentrate on.”
Born in Mobile, Alabama, in 1945, Dale moved to Birmingham when he was eight years old. He joined the Marine Corps in 1963, returning to Birmingham in 1967, where he became a police officer. He graduated from the University of Alabama with a B.S. degree in Sociology in 1971. Following graduation, he held several different marketing and production positions with a national industrial laundry chain.
In 1977 Dale started Alabama's first pre-washed blue jeans laundry facility in Opp, Alabama. After selling the company to a national blue jeans manufacturer, Dale approached the State of Alabama and pointed out ways he could save the State millions of dollars each year if they would outsource the State's laundry needs. Dale won a competitive bid contract and built the largest industrial laundry facility in the Southeast in Tuscaloosa. Until the facility was sold, Dale continued to live up to his promise of saving the State of Alabama millions of dollars each year.
Next Dale convinced our U. S. military leaders that he could save our military men and women considerable money on the cost of making their long distance telephone calls home. His proposal was accepted, and Dale won multiple competitive bid contracts at various military bases around the U. S. He later sold the contracts to one of his competitors.
When Dale's wife, Kathy, retired from Bell South, the couple started a chain of pet stores in Alabama. After nearly a decade, they sold the chain and retired.
"Although Agriculture is Alabama's #1 industry, it has not been treated like Alabama's #1 industry", says Dale. "My proven drive and determination to succeed at whatever task is at hand, coupled with my willingness to explore opportunities outside the box, set me apart from traditional state politicians."
When Dale built the largest laundry facility in the Southeast in Tuscaloosa, the entire country was in dire financial straits, much like today. Interest rates were topping out at 23%, unemployment was at an all-time high, businesses were failing left and right, and the speed limit on the interstate highways was 55 MPH. Still, even at those unprecedented interest rates, Dale was able to borrow money, put people to work building the facility, hired the unemployed to work in the facility when built and saved the State of Alabama millions of dollars each year.
With a strong background as an entrepreneur and innovator, Dale says, "I want to give back and serve the state I love and have lived in all of my life. I am asking the people of Alabama for the opportunity to be their next Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries." Not a professional politician, but always a driven businessman, "I'm uniquely positioned at this time in my life to devote whatever it takes to promote Agriculture and Industry for Alabama."
With Dale's leadership and entrepreneurial vision, growth and profitability are achievable for all aspects of Alabama agriculture. Residents can save money and enjoy farm fresh foods by purchasing Alabama agricultural products. Overseas jobs can be brought back to Alabama mills, factories, farms and ranches. Youth can be brought back to the family farm.
Dale believes Alabama agriculture producers, the State of Alabama, corporate agriculture and non-agriculture businesses must be brought together to the same table for the same common goal: Growing Alabama AgriBusiness and making it profitable, while simultaneously being guardians of the environment.
Dale says, "It can be done. The most important thing to remember is that it's always about the people."
Dale and his wife, Kathy, have been married for over three decades. They live on a small farm in Shelby County. Both Dale and Kathy have been livestock judges for more than two decades. Their daughter, Cindy Dickson, son-in-law, Steve, and two grandsons, Grant and Jack, live in Helena.