Growing Kentucky Agriculture: State Forums

 Raindrops on Daylily Foliage, Campsie Garden, 2011

Raindrops on Daylily Foliage, Campsie Garden, 2011

We got lucky in Kentucky when policymakers invested money from massive tobacco lawsuits in new types of agriculture for our abundantly, gloriously agricultural state. No, not every dollar went where I can applaud it. Yes, I wish still more of the settlement dollars had gone to transforming agriculture.

Yet I like what I know about the benefits of the $340 million invested through the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund in "county, regional and state projects designed to increase net farm income and create sustainable new farm-based business enterprises." That's from the Governor's Office of Agricultural Policy*, which then-Governor Paul Patton formed more than 10 years ago.

Some other states applied their tobacco settlement funds to general state needs. Kentucky did better than that, and we have some farm successes, some expanded markets, and some new food and agriculture habits as a result.

Now forums are launching across the state to collect new ideas for uses for additional tobacco settlement dollars. As I write, I am planning to go to the first forum, in Frankfort, tonight, May 19. The "charge" for the forums and the list of places and times throughout Kentucky are below, copied from the GOAP website.

The agenda (a pdf file I cannot link to easily) suggests -- it's not entirely clear -- that these will be the topics for public comment:

  • Regional Challenges & Solutions
  • Leveraging Resources
  • County Collaboration
  • Area Trends
  • Continued Support of the KADF [Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund]

We'll see. I'll report. And if you go to a forum and want to let others know what happened, feel free to use Savoring Kentucky's comment area.

Here is a copy-paste from the GOAP website describing the goal and providing the schedule:

The goal of these meetings is to facilitate a discussion with agriculture leaders, regional economic development specialists, education professionals, local and government officials, and all who have a vested interest in the goals and objectives of the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund. These regional venues will provide participants a forum to offer new and innovative ideas and share the successes of the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund in their communities.

May 19, 2011 – Frankfort, KY 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT Thomas D. Clark Center for History Brown Forman Room

May 24, 2011 – Maysville, KY 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm EDT Maysville Community & Tech. College Auditorium

June 1, 2011 – Somerset, KY 7:00 pm -8:30 pm EDT The Center for Rural Development Room TBD

June 7, 2011 – West Liberty, KY 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm EDT MSU Regional Enterprise Center Room TBD

June 14, 2011 – Bowling Green, KY 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm CDT Sloan Convention Center Room 1 & 2

June 15, 2011 – Elizabethtown, KY 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm EDT Pritchard Community Center The Oak Room

June 21, 2011 – Gilbertsville, KY 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm CDT Kentucky Dam Village State Park Conference Center

June 22, 2011 – Owensboro, KY 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm CDT Daviess Co. Extension Office Room TBD

*Disclosure: Loooong ago, the GOAP engaged my professional firm, RKI, to help develop a plan for Kentucky agriculture and make its website more user-friendly.

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