Governor's Office of Agricultural Policy
Agricultural Development Board Approves Policy Changes

Press Release Date:  Friday, March 20, 2009  
Contact Information:  Sandra Gardner
502-564-4627
sandra.gardner@ky.gov
 


FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 20, 2009) -The Kentucky Agricultural Development Board (KADB), chaired by Gov. Steve Beshear, today adopted policy and program revisions intended to broaden access to diversification funds and enhance accountability, during their monthly board meeting.

“I commend my fellow board members for taking the past several months to thoroughly consider these policy changes,” said Gov. Beshear. “At this juncture in the agricultural development process, it is critical to evaluate and, if necessary, revise policies and programs to maintain the viability of the Agricultural Development Fund for the future of Kentucky agriculture.”

The most notable changes are related to what are currently called the county model cost-share programs, which are designed to provide farmers with cost-share funding to allow them to improve and diversify their current production practices.  The county model cost-share programs will now be offered as investment areas under the umbrella of the County Agricultural Investment Program (CAIP).  This will offer a more streamlined approach to applying for funds for both the program administrators and the local farmers.  Since all programs will be offered in counties that adopt this program, there will be broader access for all farmers, regardless of their focus enterprise.

In addition to the current investment areas, CAIP will include a new investment area called “On-farm Energy Efficiency & Production”.  This investment area will be a tool to help farmers increase energy efficiency in their current production practices, while ultimately increasing net farm income through realized cost savings.

“After months of soliciting feedback and suggestions for these monumental policy revisions, the board has approved a set of policies that I believe are truly positive changes to the programs that continue to mean so much to rural Kentucky and our farmers.” stated Roger Thomas, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy (GOAP).

The board also modified its policy on regional projects where the applicants may be required to garner significant county fund contributions to their projects.  With state dollars dwindling, this will help spread state funds further across the Commonwealth, and encourage applicants to get buy-in from those counties they expect to impact.

Policy changes will be disseminated directly to the chairs of the County Agricultural Development Councils, the cooperative extension service, and county program administrators.  Information will also be available and discussed at a series of regional workshops to be held in April and May throughout the Commonwealth.

For questions about these policy changes, please contact GOAP at (502) 564-4627.

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Governor Beshear and the General Assembly continue to make great strides toward lessening Kentucky’s dependence on tobacco production while revitalizing the farm economy by investing 50 percent of Kentucky's Master Settlement Agreement into the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund. 

To date, Kentucky has invested more than $280 million to an array of county, regional and state projects designed to increase net farm income and create sustainable new farm-based business enterprises. The diversification programs represent more than 3,407 projects that have been funded through the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund, since the inception of the program in January 2001.