Call to Order and Roll Call
The4th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture was held on Friday, September 9, 2011, at 10:00 AM, at the University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Lexington, 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 Joe Bowen, Paul Hornback, Vernie McGaha, Dennis Parrett, Joey Pendleton, and Robin L. Webb; Representatives John "Bam" Carney, James R. Comer Jr., Will Coursey, Mike Denham, C. B. Embry Jr., Jim Glenn, Richard Henderson, Kim King, Martha Jane King, Michael Meredith, Terry Mills, Brad Montell, Fred Nesler, David Osborne, Sannie Overly, Tom Riner, Steven Rudy, Rita Smart, Wilson Stone, and Tommy Turner.
Guests: Drew Graham, Senior Assistant Dean, Director of Advancement; Dr. Nancy Cox, Associate Dean for Research and Director, Ky. Agricultural Experiment Station; Dr. Jimmy Henning, Associate Dean and Director, Cooperative Extension Service; Dr. Craig Carter, Director, UK Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory; Steve Byers, University of Kentucky; Dr. Oran Little, former Dean, University of Kentucky; and Representative John Will Stacy.
The August 25, 2011, minutes were approved, without objection, upon voice vote, on a motion made by Representative Rudy and seconded by Representative Montell.
Drew Graham, Senior Assistant Dean, Director of Advancement, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, welcomed the committee and introduced the speakers.
Dr. Nancy Cox, Associate Dean for Research and Director, Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, discussed the college’s investment in buildings and personnel. She also noted that the college has acquired $34 million in funds for research, and that the college realizes a $10 return for every $1 spent on research investments. Dr. Cox briefly reviewed some of the majors that the college offers, and noted that 66 percent of the students enrolled are from out-of-state.
Dr. Jimmy Henning, Associate Dean and Director, Cooperative Extension Service, stated that there are more than 400 extension agents in the Commonwealth. He said that in order to adjust to budget cuts of over $1 million, 30 vacancies have not been filled. He explained that some county committees have provided extra local funding to hire agents. Dr. Henning also briefly talked about renovations to the Lake Cumberland 4-H camp and the North Central 4-H camp.
Dr. Craig Carter, Director, UK Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (Lab), pointed out that the Lab’s primary goals are to develop, apply, and utilize state-of-the-art technology and scientific knowledge to improve animal health and marketability, to preserve the human-animal bond, and to help protect public health.
Dr. Carter explained that the Lab has cutting-edge diagnostic testing and regulatory testing to allow for a smooth flow of animals in the markets. The Lab and the Breathitt Diagnostic Center are the only centers in the state that can diagnose zoonotic diseases that can be transferred from animals to people. The Lab also provides research to develop new and better diagnostic testing methods.
Dr. Carter discussed the recent completion of the $28.5 million renovation of the Lab, and noted that the Lab attained full accreditation by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians in 2009 and is a member of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, a network that provides valuable assistance and research to federal laboratories.
Dr. Carter stated that the Lab continues its goal of achieving Service Center status at the University, continues to expand its uses of information technology, and strives to increase its marketing and testing services within Kentucky and nationally. He also noted that some of the Lab’s current research projects are related to equine diseases and the continuous health monitoring of cattle.
In response to questions, Dr. Carter explained that the Lab is qualified to assist with disease testing if federal laboratories are overloaded. He confirmed that the Lab is equipped to handle an outbreak of Equine Infectious Anemia should it occur. He also said that the Lab was poised and ready to help with any problems that might have arisen at the World Equestrian Games, and that some testing was done for the games.
Dr. Carter briefly discussed the post-doctorial program offered by the Lab and answered that the program has three slots. Dr. Cox stated that it is the college’s policy to take all students who qualify for the program.
Responding to questions, Dr. Henning stated that the Cooperative Extension Service does communicate with its agents regarding the services at the Lab, and that there is an Extension Veterinarian on staff at the Lab. Dr. Carter confirmed that the Lab and the Extension Service communicate well with each other. He mentioned that the Lab collects disease data from around the state, including data from the Breathitt Diagnostic Center. That data is collected daily and is loaded into the Lab’s computer. The computer analyzes the data and if necessary it sends out alerts of a possible crisis, and those alerts are communicated to the Extension agents. Dr. Cox stated that Kentucky is the only state that has this type of surveillance. Dr. Henning also noted that the Extension Service has three specialists in Nutrition and Food Services that address human health concerns such as diabetes.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:45 a.m.