Henry County was well represented at three major state agriculture conferences last week at the Lexington Convention Center. Local agricultural leaders worked in the Kentucky Cattleman’s Association, the Kentucky Horse Council and the Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative. Leading workshops, participating in committee meetings, and serving as voting delegates, these local leaders helped their organizations shape direction and policy in some very important issues which affect many Henry Countians as well as farmers across the Commonwealth.
During the Horse Council and the Cattleman’s Association deliberations, one important issue is that of animal care. Most folks describe the crux of the issue as a difference of opinion between animal welfare and animal rights. The Kentucky Livestock and Animal Standards Commission has now been legislatively formed to work on the issue, but it seems the road is not real smooth.
The Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative is working to assist tobacco growers in many ways, but the industry has changed dramatically since the buyout. New ideas and programs are constantly being challenged by company policies and the global tobacco situation.
I was fortunate to attend some of the meetings of these three important organizations last Friday, in particular the joint trade show. I was indeed proud to see so many folks from Henry County networking, finding useful products and services in the trade show, and participating in their organizations’ proceedings. Our Henry County farmers were well represented by their chosen organizational leadership.
Phase I update
The Kentucky Agricultural Development Board met last Friday, also in Lexington, also at the Lexington Convention Center. They have officially decided to allow some retroactivity in the 2011 program, meaning that folks who complete a project and therefore have eligible expense even before they are officially approved in the application process can still receive 50 percent cost share. They also approved the use of fertilizer for the seeding year of perennial forages (lime also, according to a recent UK soil test). They are working on the final version of the farmer application itself, and it would appear the questions won’t change so much as the point values.
The Henry County Agriculture Council and the entity which conducts the County Agriculture Investment Program, the Cattleman’s Association will be meeting over the next few weeks to make plans for the 2011 Phase I program. Please stay tuned to this column for updates as plans are finalized and approved.