Call to Order and Roll Call
The4th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture was held on Friday, September 14, 2012, at 10:00 AM, at the E.S. Good Barn, University of Kentucky, 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, and Damon Thayer; Representatives Royce W. Adams, Will Coursey, Jim DeCesare, Mike Denham, Myron Dossett, Sara Beth Gregory, Richard Henderson, Kim King, Martha Jane King, Brad Montell, Ryan Quarles, Tom Riner, Bart Rowland, Steven Rudy, Wilson Stone, and Tommy Turner.
Guests: President Dr. Eli Capilouto, University of Kentucky; Scott Smith, Dean, UK College of Agriculture; Drew Graham, Senior Assistant Dean, Director of Advancement, UK College of Agriculture; Nancy Cox, Associate Dean for Research, Director of Ag. Experiment Station, UK College of Agriculture; Larry Grabau, Associate Dean for Instruction, UK College of Agriculture; Kenny Burdine, Extension/Livestock and Forage Specialist, UK College of Agriculture; Will Snell, Professor, Agriculture Economics, UK College of Agriculture; and Dr. Robert Stout, Kentucky State Veterinarian.
The August 23, 2012 minutes were approved, without objection, by voice vote upon motion made by Senator Bowen and second by Representative Stone.
UK College of Agriculture Overview
Scott Smith, Dean, UK College of Agriculture, said the UK Extension Service is ranked fifth in the country. The Extension program has agent vacancies in some areas of the state but is working closely with local extension boards to continue service. The Extension Service is constantly seeking ways to become a valuable part of the community by keeping up with new demands, such as economic development. The UK College of Agriculture strongly supports the extension systems.
Larry Grabau, Associate Dean for Instruction, UK College of Agriculture, said that enrollment for the College of Agriculture has increased by 21 percent. The programs include human nutrition, animal science, biosystems, and equine. The most employable degree offered is agriculture economic development. Equine and animal science are the most popular programs for freshman. Seventy percent of the freshman class are women.
In response to Representative McKee, Mr. Grabau stated that the College of Agriculture is at its limit and cannot accept any students.
In response to Senator Givens, Mr. Grabau stated that not many students are involved in production agriculture.
Nancy Cox, Associate Dean for Research, Director of Ag. Experiment Station, stated that the Research Department offers the following programs: economics, pasture management, environmental compliance, animal composition, and equine. The department is conducting an equine study counting all horses in the state. The equine reproduction team (20 students) is in the process of working the Keeneland sales.
The UK President, Dr. Eli Capilouto, stated that he had toured extension offices around Kentucky and fully supported the Extension Service. Student enrollment at the university is at its largest. UK is working hard to keep National Merit Scholars in Kentucky and has expanded the honors program. It is important that students graduate with a quality educational degree.
Drought Impact and Agriculture Economic and Tobacco Outlook
Kenny Burdine, Extension/Livestock and Forage Specialist, stated that the lack of rain and high heat had impacted grain and high quality hay prices, which in turn has affected the equine, dairy, and beef industries. Beef prices are still strong. Alternative feed sources are much more expensive than hay.
In response to Senator Bowen, Mr. Burdine said that the aging population of farmers and high feed prices has caused many to sell dairy. Some new smaller dairies are starting.
Will Snell, Professor, Agriculture Economics, stated that the Kentucky agriculture economy has done fairly well. Those areas with access to water have good tobacco crops. Tobacco contracts are up 5 cents, and the sale of dark tobacco and burley has remained fairly steady, bringing in $350 million dollars. The overall agriculture economy shows $5 billion in cash receipts. Kentucky’s net farm income will not reach the $1 billion mark due to higher feeds costs. In the very near future, it will be hard for farmers to replace the tobacco buyout direct payments, which will be ending soon.
In response to Senator Givens and Senator Hornback, Mr. Snell said that there would be marginal impact on agriculture in the next ten years as a result of farmers using pasture land to grow corn and soybeans due to high prices.
Update on the Kentucky Livestock Care Standards Commission
Dr. Robert Stout, Kentucky State Veterinarian, stated that the mission of the Commission is to establish, maintain, or revise standards governing the care and well-being of on-farm livestock and poultry. The commission has 16 members who have met ten times since October, 2010. The next meeting, scheduled for September 28, will include a review of current draft of the standards and current scientific information.
In response to Senator Givens, Dr. Stout said that a draft of the new proposed standards is available to the public through an open records request or can be found on the KDA web site. The most current document is dated July 19.
Representative McKee stated that no changes have been made to the animal cruelty statute.
No action was taken on 302 KAR 16:091.