Call to Order and Roll Call
The5th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture was held on Wednesday, November 10, 2010, at 1:00 PM, in Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Tom McKee, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator David Givens, Co-Chair; Representative Tom McKee, Co-Chair; Senators Ernie Harris, Bob Leeper, Vernie McGaha, Dorsey Ridley, Kathy W. Stein, Damon Thayer, and Ken Winters; Representatives Royce W. Adams, John "Bam" Carney, Mike Cherry, James R. Comer Jr., Mike Denham, C. B. Embry Jr., Richard Henderson, Charlie Hoffman, Terry Mills, Brad Montell, Fred Nesler, David Osborne, Sannie Overly, Don Pasley, Tom Riner, Steven Rudy, Kent Stevens, Wilson Stone, Tommy Turner, and Ken Upchurch.
Guests: Craig Maffet, Chief of Staff, Jason Glass, Metrology Lab, and Mac Stone, Kentucky Department of Agriculture; Roger Thomas, Executive Director, and Joel Neaveill, Chief of Staff, Governorís Office of Agricultural Policy; Dr. Scott Smith, Dean, and Dr. Nancy Cox, Associate Dean for Research, UK College of Agriculture; Mark Haney, President, and Jeff Harper, Director of Public Affairs Division, Kentucky Farm Bureau; Adam Barr, President, Community Farm Alliance (CFA).
The October 13, 2010 minutes were approved, without objection, upon motion made by Representative Nesler and seconded by Representative Pasley.
The Subcommittee Reports for Rural Issues and Horse Farming were approved, without objection, upon motion made by Senator Thayer and seconded by Representative Denham.
Legislative Proposals for the 2011 Session
Craig Maffet, Kentucky Department of Agriculture, recommended the following statutory changes or modifications:
(1) Cap the ceiling for bonding grain dealers at $1 million
(2) Allow the metrology lab to establish fees by statute rather than putting the authority in the budget bill
(3) Adopt federal ASTM standards for propane and kerosene
(4) Allow the department to negotiate penalties for violations of motor fuels laws
In response to questions, Mr. Glass stated that the department is aware of the locations that sell motor fuels, propane, and kerosene, and that it would work with industries regarding regulations for propane and kerosene.
Roger Thomas and Joel Neaveill, Governorís Office of Agricultural Policy, discussed some of the programs administered by the office. Mr. Thomas stated that GOAP had just finished implementing changes to the makeup of county councils as set out in 2009 Senate Bill 83. He also said that disaster assistance had been approved for 91 counties affected by drought, and that an Executive Order had been issued exempting some size restrictions on trailers transporting certain agricultural products such as hay.
Mr. Thomas also discussed using county agricultural investment program funds for the removal of dead animals. He suggested that those funds could be used as a temporary solution to the problem of dead animal disposal as the state explores other options. He hoped that counties would partner with local governments or create regional dead animal disposal programs to fund their programs.
Mr. Neaveill explained that the Kentucky Agricultural Finance Program has loaned over $38 million in low interest rates for 2009.
Mr. Thomas said that the GOAPís energy program received $2 million in federal stimulus funds for energy-related issues. There have been a total of five energy field days in addition to an Energy Symposium.
Dr. Scott Smith and Dr. Nancy Cox, UK College of Agriculture, informed the members that the Diagnostic Center has been renamed the UK Veterinarian Diagnostic Lab. Dr. Smith also stated that the college appreciated the funding it received for upgrading some of the 4-H facilities, but that budgets cuts have affected filling vacant positions and has forced the college to defer maintenance on its farms.
Mr. Mark Haney and Mr. Jeff Harper, Kentucky Farm Bureau, stated that the KFB had reached a milestone with their membership. For the first time, the KFB has exceeded 500,000 members. Mr. Haney explained that KFB had not yet considered legislative issues, but would decide on their issues at their annual meeting in December. He did say that several hundred resolutions had been submitted by the various county Farm Bureau offices, including resolutions relating to dead animal disposal, the makeup of the State Board of Agriculture, and preserving agricultureís 50 percent of the Master Settlement Agreement funds.
Mr. Adam Barr, Community Farm Alliance, discussed some of his groupís thoughts regarding agriculture. CFA supports protecting the intent of HB 611, which is to promote the farmer. It also feels that it is important to promote agriculture education, clean energy policies, and farm profitability.
Mr. Barr also stated that his business of providing healthy food to consumers continues to grow. Tricia Houston, also with the CFA, stated that in northern Kentucky they cannot keep up with the demand for fresh food. She is hopeful that a planned Northern Kentucky Agriculture Center will be developed. She also stated that mentoring programs to help young and beginning farmers would be helpful in promoting agriculture.
Mr. Mac Stone, Kentucky Department of Agriculture, gave an overview of the Kentucky Milk Commission report. He discussed the status of the milk industry and the activities that the commission has undertaken since its creation.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.