Call to Order and Roll Call
The2nd meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture was held on Thursday, August 26, 2010, at 10:00 AM, at the Kentucky State Fair VIP Room, Louisville, Kentucky. 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, Bob Leeper, Vernie McGaha, Joey Pendleton, Dorsey Ridley, Kathy W. Stein, and Damon Thayer; Representatives Royce W. Adams, John "Bam" Carney, Mike Cherry, James R. Comer Jr., Mike Denham, C. B. Embry Jr., Jeff Greer, Richard Henderson, Charlie Hoffman, Martha Jane King, Terry Mills, Brad Montell, Fred Nesler, David Osborne, Sannie Overly, Don Pasley, Tom Riner, Steven Rudy, Dottie Sims, Wilson Stone, and Tommy Turner.
Guests:† Senate President, David Williams; House Speaker Greg Stumbo; Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark; Senator Robin Webb; Representative Dennis Horlander; Representative Dwight Butler; 2010 Miss Kentucky Djuan Trent; Mike Burchett, Kentucky Soybean Association; Mac Stone, Executive Director, Kentucky Department of Agriculture Marketing and Product Promotion; Angela Blank, Agricultural Liaison, World Equestrian Games; Harold Workman, President and CEO, and members of the Kentucky State Fair Board.
The July 14, 2010 minutes were approved, without objection, upon motion made by Senator Boswell and seconded by Senator Damon Thayer.
Report of the Kentucky State Fair Board
Mr. Harold Workman, President and CEO of the Kentucky Fair Board, informed the members that the State Fair, the National Farm Machinery Show, and the North American Livestock Show have a combined annual financial economic impact of approximately $450 million. The total attendance for this yearís fair will be over 600,000. Of that total, he said over 150,000 people attend the concerts, particularly the free concerts held in the old Cardinal Stadium. Since schools have started their school year earlier, there has been a decline in attendance. To continue growing, it was important to maintain the condition of all facilities, including Cardinal Stadium, which is in poor condition. He asked the General Assembly to consider replacing the stadium with an outdoor amphitheatre that would seat 12,000 people. The fair board feels that the public would support an amphitheatre that would bring concerts to Louisville throughout the summer, creating revenue for the board and for the Commonwealth.
Mr. Workman also pointed out that the Board was responsible for the downtown Convention Center and the new Arena that is supposed to open in October.
In response to questions, Mr. Workman stated that the board has been active in acquiring the ownership of Six Flags, pending approval by the Bankruptcy Judge. He said that the board has selected a company to redevelop the Six Flags park. The company will address the board in October to present its report on the economic impact, business plan, and financial picture of the park. It is estimated that the park will provide 100 permanent and 1,000 part-time jobs, and should be re-opened in the spring of 2011.
Commissioner Richie Farmer noted that the State Fair provides opportunities for children to visit the various agricultural exhibits and participate in agricultural related events. The Division of Shows and Fairs is an important part of the department, and approximately 110 of the 120 counties have a county fair.
Presentation and Update of the World Equestrian Games
Angela Blank, Agricultural Liaison for the World Equestrian Games, and Mac Stone, Kentucky Department of Agriculture, showed a video promoting the World Equestrian Games. The video highlighted the role that Kentucky Proud will play at the games. Kentucky Proud products will be housed in The Kentucky Proud Product Pavilion. Ms. Blank stated that many entities have come together to make the Pavilion a reality, including the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, the Governorís Office of Agricultural Policy, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, and the Artisan Center of Berea. Ms. Blank stated that products will be for sale along with demonstrations.
Mr. Stone explained that the James Beard Foundation is helping promote the games and Kentucky Proud. To be named a James Beard Chef is the highest honor in the culinary world. There will be 16 nights with 48 chefs preparing meals with Kentucky Proud Products.
Mr. Stone also stated that the State Veterinarian and his staff have worked hard to insure the safety of the horses that will be participating in the games. This will be the largest air-lift of horses across the Atlantic since World War II, with approximately 775 expected.
In response to a question, Ms. Blank stated that tickets are still available on the web-site or at the door. Approximately 300,000 tickets have been sold.
Senator Givens and Representative McKee expressed concerns over proposed regulations by the World Health Organization (WHO) that would ban most ingredients from blended cigarettes. If passed, the ban would adversely affect the sale of burley tobacco. The Co-Chairs asked committee members to consider sending a letter to the nations participating in the discussions, asking the nations to vote against the proposed regulations.
Commissioner Farmer stated that he and the Commissioner from North Carolina have had letters drafted on behalf of the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture and National Association of State Departments of Agriculture opposing the regulations.
There was a motion made by Representative Richard Henderson and seconded by Representative Don Pasley to approve the letter being prepared to send to the nations participating in the discussion regarding the WHO regulations. Without objection, the motion passed.
Mike Burchett, Kentucky Soybean Association, presented Senator Givens with a Friend of Agriculture award honoring him for his work on creating the Kentucky Livestock Care Standards Commission legislation (2010 HB 398).
Representative Martha Jane King invited members to the IJC on Agriculture meeting in Logan County on September 8.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.