March 2020 Update from KY Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles

March 2020 Update from KY Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles

By Dr. Ryan Quarles, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture

It’s budget season in Frankfort, and we are working hard to advocate for reasonable, commonsense solutions for all of Kentucky’s families and businesses. At the time of this writing, we have passed numerous bills this session dealing with everything from E-15 to hemp, and are working with the legislature on our budget. While we are not yet exactly sure how the budget will shape up in its final form, we are making sure that state legislators are informed about the important consumer protection roles performed by Kentucky Department of Agriculture staff each and every day.

I recently returned from a trip to Washington, D.C. as part of my responsibilities as Vice President of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. This gave Kentucky the opportunity to meet with the heads of several agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, as well as members of our congressional delegation. We discussed a number of topics, like economic challenges on the farm, new crops, and the ever-increasing importance of agricultural technology and rural broadband. I was particularly emboldened by reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture about new international trade opportunities on the horizon. The Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agriculture Affairs, Ted McKinney, discussed at length his optimism about trade prospects with Japan, one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and India, a protectionist country that may be interested in expanding agricultural trade in the coming years.

When it comes to developing economic and trade relationships in Kentucky, we are maintaining strong partnerships that have served us well over the last several years. For the fourth year in a row, the KDA is working with the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM) to raise demand for Kentucky farm product through a series of economic development meetings. The Linking Agriculture for Networking & Development (LAND) forums unite various agricultural and manufacturing interests to talk about how they can work together and expand economic opportunities for all Kentuckians. While each session has a different deadline to register, this year’s LAND forum dates and locations are as follows:

  • June 18 | Somerset | Somerset Community College
  • June 23 | Bardstown | Spalding Hall
  • July 7 | Grayson | Ashland Community College
  • July 30 | Morgantown | Butler County Cooperative Extension
  • July 31| Paducah | Murray State University – Paducah Campus
  • August 18 | Covington | Kenton County Cooperative Extension
  • September 10 | Jackson | Robinson Center for Appalachian Resource Sustainability
  • September 21 | Shelbyville | Gallrein Farms

These forums are made possible through the financial support of the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund and other regional sponsors. I hope you will visit to learn more and register for a LAND forum (which includes a Kentucky Proud lunch!). I hope to see you there.

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