Call to Order and Roll Call
The 4th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture was held on Wednesday, October 13, 2010, at 10:00 AM, at the Mill Springs Battlefield Visitor Center and Museum in Nancy, 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 Vernie McGaha, Joey Pendleton, and Kathy W. Stein; Representatives Royce W. Adams, John "Bam" Carney, James R. Comer Jr., C. B. Embry Jr., Charlie Hoffman, Terry Mills, Brad Montell, Fred Nesler, Don Pasley, Tom Riner, Steven Rudy, Kent Stevens, Wilson Stone, Tommy Turner, Ken Upchurch, and Susan Westrom.
Guests: Mark Haney, President, Kentucky Farm Bureau and Don Haney, Haney’s Appledale Farm; Ms. Susie Tanner, Director of Commodity Division, Kentucky Farm Bureau; Ms. Kara Keeton, Certified Roadside Farm Market Coordinator, Kentucky Farm Bureau, Ms. Whitney Meadows, Director of Agritourism, Kentucky Department of Agriculture; Mr. Gilbert Wilson, Director, Mill Springs Battlefield Association.
The August 26, 2010 and September 8, 2010 minutes were approved, without objection, upon motion made by Rep. Carney and seconded by Rep. Pasley.
Welcome and Opening Remarks:
Mr. Mark Haney, President of Kentucky Farm Bureau and Co-owner of Haney’s Appledale Farm, welcomed committee members and introduced special guests. Mr. Haney explained that his family had been growing apples for 140 years. In the last few years, he has seen tremendous growth in agritourism. Educating the consumer, good public relations, accurate information, and promoting wholesome products have boosted the awareness of buying locally.
Diversification in Kentucky Agriculture:
Ms. Susie Tanner, Director of Commodity Division, Kentucky Farm Bureau, Ms. Kara Keeton, Certified Roadside Farm Market Coordinator, Kentucky Farm Bureau, and Ms. Whitney Meadows, Director of Agritourism, Kentucky Department of Agriculture, discussed the impact of diversification in Kentucky agriculture. Ms. Tanner and Ms. Keeton explained that the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s Certified Roadside Farm Market Program began in 1996 with approximately 25 members, and it now has an estimated 109 members. The program is designed to help producers increase their sales, expand market areas, enhance market identity, and establish a network for the exchange of ideas. The program started with fruits and vegetables, but has expanded to include greenhouses, nurseries, Christmas tree farms, vineyards/wineries, and meat/cheese farm markets. The requirements needed to become a KFB Certified Roadside Farm Market include having a permanent structure, quality products, a safe environment, and a majority of the products being locally produced. Forty thousand directories are printed each year and distributed to all of the Kentucky State Parks and Welcome Centers. The directories and other free advertising are benefits enjoyed by members. In addition, they and others work to educate farmers by touring other farm markets throughout Kentucky and other states.
Ms. Whitney Meadows gave a brief update regarding 2009 Senate Bill 1 as it relates to agritourism. Starting in the 2011-2012 school year, every elementary, middle, and high school in the state will be required to complete a Practical Living Career Studies Program Review. This program can implement agricultural education in the classroom.
Ms. Meadows said that there are over 300 agritourism operators in Kentucky. In addition, a Farm-to-School curriculum is being developed by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the University of Kentucky Extension Service. The goal of farm-to-school is to raise awareness of where food comes from and the importance of our Kentucky farmers. Last May, the United States Department of Agriculture Farm-to-School Task Force committee visited two Kentucky schools actively participating in the Farm-to-School Program and will report their findings later in the year.
Ms. Meadows stated that 37 schools have received funds from the Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Grant through the National School Lunch Program. There are also 45 Food Service Directors participating in the Kentucky Proud program.
In response to questions, the presenters agreed that the one mistake made most often by people wanting to participate in the Certified Roadside Farm Market Program is taking on too much too soon. They also stated that, in order for the Practical Living Career Studies Program to succeed, it is important to assist teachers by providing uncomplicated education and lesson plans. Ms. Tanner explained that there are 8 regional workshops for teachers introducing them to the program and providing them with information to help guide them through the process. She agreed that incorporating the workshops for teachers through a school in-service day and/or a professional development day would be beneficial.
Mr. Gilbert Wilson, Director, Mills Springs Battlefield Association, gave a brief presentation on the history of the Mill Springs Battlefield. The Association’s mission statement is preserving, protecting, maintaining, and interpreting the Mill Springs Battlefield. The Association was formed in 1992 and has since acquired 500 acres of battlefield property, restored two historic houses, and constructed a visitor’s center which includes a community room, gift shop, museum, offices, and a board room. Mr. Wilson said that the visitor center and museum averages 10,000 visitors a year.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.