BY JORDAN STRICKLER
Frankfort, Ky —The Kentucky Agricultural Development Board (KADB) has approved $7,018,530 in 11 agricultural diversification and rural development projects across the Bluegrass State in its most recent board meeting.
Among these was the Jessamine County Young Farmers Association who was approved for $5,000 to support the upcoming 2020 Kentucky Young Farmers Convention on March 6-7 which will be taking place in Lexington. Attendees will be partaking in many activities including tours of a local distillery and the Blue Grass Stockyards.
“The KADB money we received helped us match the funds that we were able to raise for the event and will be going a long way to helping for our activities,” said Carl Waits, who helps lead the Jessamine County Young Farmers Association which will be hosting the event for the 2020 edition. “We’ll be going on some really great tours this year, including one to the Buffalo Trace distillery and the stockyards in Lexington. We’ve got a lot of families coming from western Kentucky and a lot of this money will be going to the tour buses that we will be renting.”
Various speakers will be giving presentations on the value-added process of local agriculture and the state of Kentucky’s hemp industry.
Waits says that the Convention has given them a great chance to showcase their part of the state. “We’ve gotten a chance to do some really neat things when we’ve hosted this event. The last time we hosted, we had the chance to go to the Locust Trace distillery and Alltech gave us the opportunity to tour some of their facilities.”
Among other funds awarded by the KADF, the Kentucky State Fair Board was approved for up to $6 million for repairs to the demolition and renovation of the main gate at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville. The town of Berea was allocated up to $240,000 in State funds and $10,000 in Madison County funds for the construction of a multi-use farmers market pavilion.
The Next Generation Farmer Program received a leg-up with a $30,000 allocation for their Bracken County division. The NextGen program was developed to facilitate the growing need for a specialized program that would benefit producers from the ages of 18 to 40 which have been engaged in an agricultural operation for a minimum of three years.
The KADB distributed $5,983 for the Shared-Use Equipment Program’s Daviess County section. The Shared-Use program assists broad-based community organizations with the purchase of farm equipment. The equipment purchased is made available for producer use in a specific county on a leased basis.
A total of $25,000 was distributed to the Clark County section of the Youth Agricultural Incentives Program which serves as a measure to facilitate the growing need for a specialized program that benefits youth actively engaged in agriculture.
The KADB was created by the 2000 General Assembly and serves to distribute 50 percent of the state monies received from the Master Settlement Agreement for the general purpose of agricultural development in the Commonwealth.