Call to Order and Roll Call
The3rd meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture was held on Thursday, August 22, 2013, at 10:00 AM, in the VIP Room, Kentucky State Fair, Louisville, Kentucky. Representative Tom McKee, Co-Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Paul Hornback, Co-Chair; Representative Tom McKee, Co-Chair; Senators David P. Givens, Sara Beth Gregory, Stan Humphries, Dennis Parrett, Dorsey Ridley, Kathy W. Stein, Damon Thayer, and Robin L. Webb; Representatives Lynn Bechler, Mike Denham, C.B. Embry Jr., Derrick Graham, Richard Heath, James Kay, Kim King, Martha Jane King, Michael Meredith, Terry Mills, David Osborne, Ryan Quarles, Tom Riner, Bart Rowland, Steven Rudy, Jonathan Shell, Rita Smart, and Wilson Stone.
Guests: Members of the Kentucky State Fair Board; Louisville Mayor, Greg Fischer; House Speaker Greg Stumbo; House Minority Whip John Carney; Roger Thomas, Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy; John McCauley, USDA-FSA; and Jenna Day, Miss Kentucky.
The July 10, 2013 minutes, were approved as amended, upon motion made by Representative Stone and seconded by Representative Graham.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer welcomed the committee to Louisville and discussed the business of locally grown products being introduced into institutions such as Jefferson County Public Schools and hospitals. He discussed the importance of the Bourbon Trail influencing the economy through tourists.
Report of the Kentucky State Fair Board
President and CEO, Clifford “Rip” Rippetoe, Kentucky State Fair and Exposition Center, discussed the fairgrounds and the operations of the Kentucky State Fair. He said that several people from other states had visited the fairgrounds in trying to find ways to improve their own state fairs. There are several state fairs that are financially struggling. The Expo Center is the 6th largest in the United States and the largest indoor state fair facility.
Mr. Rippetoe said that one of the missions of the State Fair Board is to entice more trade shows to the facilities. Customer service and parking are important improvements to the environment of the fair this year. He said that Cardinal Stadium is in disrepair and the building is unsafe. Arrangements were made for temporary outside housing of 500 show horses along with mules and jacks. It would be very costly to demolish the stadium because of the underground utilities beneath the stadium floor. The board has directed master plan study for fairgrounds improvements. Kentucky Kingdom is scheduled to open in May 2014, which will provide a positive vibe and another source of income.
Mr. Rippetoe said that he had traveled to several counties visiting with people at county fairs, and had also attended Farm Bureau meetings. It is important to know the people of the Commonwealth and their issues.
Mr. Rippetoe stated that, between the Convention Center and the State Fair, over 2.5 million tourists visit the facilities. The economic impact of those tourists is approximately $33 million.
In response to Senator Webb, Mr. Rippetoe said that he did not know when the feasibility plan for the stadium would be final because the board is still working on a request for proposals.
In response to Representative Graham, Mr. Rippetoe said that the board requested architects and building inspectors to look at the safety concerns of fair attendees sitting on the field rather than in the stands. It was determined that placing chairs on the field was within safety codes.
The meeting adjourned at 11:45 p.m.