The Kentucky Agricultural Development Board (Board) approved a $228,500 grant and a $200,000 loan in state funds to the Western Kentucky Growers Cooperative (WKGC) during a special board meeting on Friday, January 7th held in Owensboro.
The Board provided a disaster grant in the amount of $200,000, to cover WKGC 2004 operating losses. The WKGC was financially devastated in 2004 due to extreme weather that destroyed many horticulture crops in the area.
The Board also approved a $200,000 loan for WKGC’s 2005 working capital. The $200,000 loan will provide WKGC with operating funds to meet cash flow obligations for the 2005 growing season. The $200,000 loan will be available only after WKGC raises $100,000 in matching operating funds for 2005 and fulfills additional conditions required by the agreement.
In an effort to improve producer’s yields and processing efficiencies at the cooperative the Agricultural Development Board approved a $28,500 grant for half the salary to establish a Production Manager position in 2005.
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. 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.
For more information on the West Kentucky Cooperative contact Joe Cecil at (270) 764-2667. 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.