The Kentucky Agricultural Development Board approved five new county model cost-share programs at its December meeting: Dairy Diversification, Shared-use Equipment, Swine Diversification, Technology, and Timber Production, Utilization and Marketing. The county model cost-share programs were developed by the Agricultural Development Board to allow individual producers on the local level to utilize tobacco settlement funds that are allocated for each county.
The Dairy Diversification Program was established to encourage and assist existing and new dairy producers throughout the Commonwealth in renovating and modernizing dairy facilities.
The Shared-use Equipment Program was designed to help producers access technology and equipment necessary to improver their operations, but cannot justify ownership expenses associated with the equipment.
The Swine Diversification Program was established to assist new and existing swine producers to establish or renovate pork facilities.
The Technology Program was established improve net farm income through cost-share on technology that will improve farm operation efficiency.
The Timber Production, Utilization, & Marketing Program was established to promote timber production and processing on rural lands, while developing new revenue sources for farmers by growing and utilizing existing and new natural resources.
The approval of the five new programs makes a total of thirteen model cost-share programs counties can apply to for funding. The eight existing programs include: Agricultural Diversification; Cattle Genetics Improvement; Cattle Handling Improvement; Fencing Improvement; Forage Improvement and Utilization; Goat Diversification; Hay, Straw and Commodity; and On-farm Water Enhancement.
The Kentucky Legislature continues to make great strides towards lessening Kentucky’s dependence on tobacco production while revitalizing the farm economy by investing 50% of Kentucky's Master Settlement Agreement into the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund. Of this 50% allocation, 65% of the Fund is set aside for regional and statewide agricultural projects, while 35% is earmarked for individual counties on the basis of their tobacco dependence. Since the inception of the program in January 2001, the Agricultural Development Board has approved over 1900 proposals committing over $167 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 guidelines for the new county model programs will be available January 4, 2005 on the Governor's Office of Agricultural Policy website at http://agpolicy.ky.gov. To learn more about cost-share grant and loan programs available though the Agricultural Development Fund contact the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy at (502) 564-4627.