The8th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture was held on Thursday, October 8, 2009, at 10:00 AM, in Scottsville, Kentucky, at the Allen County Extension Office. Senator David Givens, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator David Givens, Co-Chair; Representative Tom McKee, Co-Chair; Senators David E. Boswell, Dan Kelly, Dorsey Ridley, and Damon Thayer; Representatives Royce W. Adams, James R. Comer Jr., C. B. Embry Jr., Richard Henderson, Charlie Hoffman, Don Pasley, Tom Riner, Dottie Sims, Kent Stevens, Wilson Stone, Tommy Turner, and Ken Upchurch.
Guests: Richie Sanders, Scottsville-Allen County Industrial Development Authority; Mayor Rob Cline; Allen County Judge Executive Bobby Young; Janet Johnson and Steve Osborne, Allen County Extension Agents; Al Pedigo, Allen County Agricultural Development Council; Jennifer Smith, Western Kentucky University; Buddy Steen, Central Region ICC/WKU Center for Research and Development; Dr. Ron Hustedde, Kentucky Entrepreneurial Coaches Institute; Jim Fortsch, UPS Capital; John McCarthy, McCarthy Strategic Solutions; Joel Neaveill and Angela Blank, Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy; Margaret Gerald, Allen County Extension District Board; Laura Knoth, Kentucky Farm Bureau.
LRC Staff: Biff Baker, Lowell Atchley, and Kelly Blevins.
Chairman Givens welcomed committee and audience members to the meeting. He then recognized Representative Wilson Stone; Scottsville Mayor Rob Cline; Allen County Judge Executive Bobby Young; Al Pedigo, Vice Chairman of the Allen County Agricultural Development Council; and Jennifer Smith from Western Kentucky University for welcoming comments. Chairman Givens then recognized Chairman McKee who expressed his thanks for the opportunity to tour agriculture across the south-central part of the state.
Richie Sanders, Scottsville-Allen County Economic Development Director, welcomed the committee to Scottsville and described some of the exciting entrepreneurial endeavors that were taking place in the community. He introduced Buddy Steen, the Executive Director of Central Region Innovation and Commercialization Center (Central Region ICC) located at Western Kentucky University’s (WKU) Center for Research and Development. Mr. Steen stated that creating opportunities for young farmers is crucial to the state. He explained that the Central Region ICC’s 3 areas of focus are:
· Culture- Facilitating programs that strengthen the entrepreneurial culture;
· Clientele- Assisting entrepreneurs to acquire resources necessary to locate and expand businesses in the region; and
· Infrastructure- Creating, developing, and managing critical infrastructure required to create, grow, recruit, and retain science and technology.
Mr. Steen explained that companies with national and international markets are crucial; they not only bring money into the state, but they grow quickly and provide incredible opportunity. He noted that infrastructure is a necessity and that a company will quickly move to an urban area where infrastructure is available if it is not available in the rural area where the company is originally established. Mr. Steen noted that to move forward there is a need for a high-tech workforce and commercial broadband.
Sen. Boswell mentioned key issues of self-sustainability and affordable energy and noted how important those issues are to economic recovery. He asked if WKU is collaborating with the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research on renewable energy issues. Mr. Steen replied that there is collaboration but that more can be done to interrelate. He noted that WKU has done nationally renowned research on mercury reduction in coal-fired power plants by aiding them in removing that harmful agent. A copy of Mr. Steen’s presentation is on file with the LRC Library.
Mr. Sanders then introduced Dr. Ron Hustedde, who discussed the Kentucky Entrepreneurial Coaches’ Institute. He noted that the institute was developed after recognizing that rural leaders within communities did not know how to make their communities entrepreneurial friendly. He explained the three traditional development approaches: Industrial Recruitment, Business Retention and Expansion, and Entrepreneurship. He noted that the United States Department of Agriculture estimates that by 2015 one-fourth of all rural residents will be self employed. Mr. Hustedde then explained the institute’s objectives to encourage the diversification of the economies within tobacco dependent counties, to stimulate small business start-ups and expansions, to provide local grass roots leaders the tools needed to become community coaches, and to strengthen community groups and institutions and their receptiveness to entrepreneurs.
Mr. Hustedde responded to a question noting that the institute’s funding comes from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund. The institute started in 2004 and was asked to stimulate entrepreneurship in 19 northeastern Kentucky counties. That project was very successful, and they are currently conducting another training class in several counties in south-central Kentucky, including Allen County. He said they had an investment of $2.1 million over the past five years that has been used for speakers, lodging, national conferences, one full-time coordinator, and a new full-time alumni coordinator in northeastern Kentucky.
Mr. Miller Slaughter, Allen County businessman, noted how entrepreneurs are a necessity to communities. He asked what Dr. Hustedde sees as the largest obstacles to stimulating entrepreneurship in the communities and what can the state do to help the institute be successful. Dr. Hustedde responded that there are many keys to the success of entrepreneurship, including industrial recruitment, access to fiber optic cable, and recognizing the importance of agriculture. A copy of Dr. Hustedde’s presentation is on file with the LRC Library.
Next, Mr. Sanders introduced Mr. Jim Fortsch of UPS. Mr. Fortsch explained how UPS and UPS Capital have been providing financing to United States companies to help them win more business overseas. He said that UPS provides the three critical components of global commerce; goods, information, and funds. This allows UPS to maximize its logistics capabilities and technology. He pointed out that based on 2008 data, Kentucky ranks twenty-first in terms of U.S. exportation of goods at $19.7 billion.
Mr. Fortsch next explained two other programs that UPS administers. One provides term financing to emerging market-based companies to finance their purchases of capital equipment manufactured by U.S. companies. The other provides a line of credit for emerging market-based companies to finance their purchase of goods from U.S. exporters. A copy of Mr. Fortsch’s presentation is on file with the LRC Library.
Chairman Givens then introduced John McCarthy, who explained the New Market Tax Credit program. This program could provide access to capital for small businesses in Kentucky’s low income communities. A copy of Mr. McCarthy’s presentation is on file with the LRC Library.
There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 12:30 pm.