Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Ernie Fletcher Presents Diversification Funds to Laurel County AG Development Council

Press Release Date:  Thursday, August 17, 2006  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Angela Blank

Laurel County Historical Museum and Genealogy Center also receives funding

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher presented a check to the Laurel County Agricultural Development Council in the amount of $203,253 for agricultural diversification efforts in the Commonwealth. The programs currently being operated with a portion of the 2006 April payment of Agricultural Development Funds are the following: Cattle Genetics Improvement, Farm Livestock Fencing Improvement, and Goat and Sheep Diversification.

“With the continued support of diversification efforts, the Laurel County Agricultural Development Council has enabled the county’s producers to continue to change traditional views of farming to fit a new agricultural economy,” said Governor Fletcher.  “This not only affects the agriculture sector but has a tremendous effect on the total economy of Laurel County and the entire Commonwealth.”

The Laurel County Cattlemen’s Association continues to support cattle diversification efforts in the county.  They were awarded $16,000 to support the Genetic Improvement program.  This program was created to increase the genetic quality of dairy and beef cattle in Kentucky through the selection of superior sires, either through purchase or lease of sires or artificial insemination.

The Laurel County Cattlemen’s Association was awarded $10,000 for the Goat and Sheep Diversification Program. The purpose of this program is to assist producers as they venture into goat and sheep production. The program was developed to promote animal health and encourage science–based solutions to herd management.

The Laurel County Cattlemen’s Association was awarded $100,000 to use for the Farm Livestock Fencing Improvement program.  This program offers cost-share assistance to individual producers in Laurel County to improve pasture quantity, quality and efficient use for livestock producers resulting in increased net farm income.

The Kentucky Legislature continues to make great strides towards 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 $216 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 Laurel County diversification programs represent over 2,548 projects that have been funded through the Agricultural Development Fund, since the inception of the program in January 2001.

For more information about the sign-up period and the guidelines for county programs contact the Laurel County Cooperative Extension Office at (606) 864-4167.  To learn more about cost-share and loan programs available in your area contact the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy at (502) 564-4627.

Laurel County Historical Museum and Genealogy Center

While in Laurel County, Governor Fletcher also presented a ceremonial check to local officials for $1 million in budget bill line-item funding that will be used to construct the Laurel County Historical Museum and Genealogy Center.  The facility will be an important component of the Kentucky Hills Heritage Center and is part of the conceptual design for the center.

“This new museum will provide a great opportunity for visitors to discover Laurel County and learn about the history of the region,” said Governor Fletcher. “The center will offer many resources, including the ability to research genealogy, explore the history of the Civil War and learn about the early history of the Wilderness Road.”

“I am pleased that the General Assembly was able to include funding for this worthy project in the budget,” said Senator Tom Jensen (R-London). “The Historical Museum and Genealogy Center is a central piece of the Kentucky Hills Heritage Center and will greatly benefit Laurel County.”

The London/Laurel County Tourist Commission requested the funding. Budget bill line-item funding of this type is administered by the Governor’s Office for Local Development (GOLD) through the Office of State Grants.