Call to Order and Roll Call
The4th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture was held on Friday, September 6, 2013, at 9:00 AM, at the E.S. Good Barn, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky. Senator Paul Hornback, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Paul Hornback, Co-Chair; Representative Tom McKee, Co-Chair; Senators Carroll Gibson, David P. Givens, Stan Humphries, Kathy W. Stein, Damon Thayer, and Robin L. Webb; Representatives Lynn Bechler, Mike Denham, C.B. Embry Jr., Jim Glenn, Derrick Graham, Richard Heath, Richard Henderson, James Kay, Kim King, Martha Jane King, Michael Meredith, Terry Mills, David Osborne, Sannie Overly, Ryan Quarles, Tom Riner, Bart Rowland, Jonathan Shell, John Short, Rita Smart, Wilson Stone, Tommy Turner, and Susan Westrom.
Guests: Drew Graham, Assistant Dean, UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences; Scott Smith, Dean, UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences; Nancy Cox, Associate Dean for Research, Director of Ag. Experiment Station, College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences; Will Snell, Professor, Agriculture Economics, College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences; Stephen McMurry, Fertilizer Regulatory Program Coordinator, College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences; former Dean of the College of Agriculture, Dr. Oran Little; Clifford “Rip” Rippetoe, President and CEO, Kentucky State Fair Exposition Center, and Representative Tanya Pullin.
The August 22, 2013 minutes were approved by voice vote without objection upon motion made by Representative Bechler and second by Senator Thayer.
Opening Remarks and Update on Hiring of New Dean of UK College of Agriculture
Drew Graham, Assistant Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, welcomed committee members and introduced Dr. Scott Smith, Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. Dr. Smith stated that committee had yet to announce the selection of the new Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. Dr. Smith stated that the College continues to grow with nutrition and pre-veterinarian programs having the largest enrollments. The Extension Service is still strong with only 15 vacant positions open. Last year, the number was as high as 30 vacancies. He attributed the low number of vacancies to the support of the local communities and grant funding. Dr. Smith stated that 4-H programs across the state were growing – approximately 600 youth participated in the ham producing program. Dr. Smith stated that the new name for the College of Agriculture would now be the “University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.”
In response to Representative Smart, Dr. Smith said that, based upon consumer research, the College has a new food systems innovation center and is encouraging more training on food safety and nutrition education.
In response to Senator Gibson, Dr. Scott said that the University provides approximately $600,000 in scholarships to help one in three students in the College. The Administration is aggressive in pursuing grants.
Clifford “Rip” Rippetoe, President and CEO, Kentucky State Fair Exposition Center, said that the Kentucky State Fair was a success this year. The Fair Board is waiting on the final numbers but is encouraged by the number of people who attended all the events.
UK’s Equine Science and Management Program
Dr. Nancy Cox, Associate Dean for Research, Director of Agriculture Experiment Station, College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences stated that research showed that the equine industry in Kentucky provides a $3 billion financial impact. The equine program has 265 students who are studying environmental issues, pasture assessment, breeding programs, and reproduction. Kentucky is known as the reproduction capital. Over 65 percent of the 265 students in the program are from out of state. Due to student increase, the program is facing a challenge in the lack of facilities. She also stated that the 4-H equine program continues to grow.
In response to Representative Denham, Dr. Cox stated that sport horses, such as trail riding horses, are increasing. There has been a decline in thoroughbreds, but it is too early to tell if other breeds are expanding.
Economic Update of Kentucky’s Tobacco Industry and Crop Production
Dr. Will Snell, Professor, Agriculture Economics, said that 2012 was a typical crop year. In 2012 agricultural receipts totaled approximately $5 billion, the highest ever, and net farm income was the highest ever. Grain prices decreased in August, but Kentucky yields are good and prices should stay strong. Beef numbers declined, but prices are still good and the markets are holding. Dr. Snell said that burley prices increased and there were more contracts. Wet weather earlier this year damaged some Kentucky crops. The Congressional Farm Bill has yet to pass. Agriculture exports are still strong.
In response to Representative Stone, Dr. Snell said that tobacco insurance versus other crop insurance remained higher. In the absence of a Farm Bill, something may pass Congress, but not the proposed Farm Bill.
Fertilizer Regulatory Program
Stephen McMurry, Fertilizer Regulatory Program Coordinator, explained that the Division of Regulatory Services was committed to consumer protection and service to Kentucky citizens, businesses, and industries. The program monitors and analyzes feed, fertilizer, milk, and seed projects. Eight regulatory inspectors and one auditor cover the state collecting samples on raw milk, inspecting facilities, reviewing labels, and auditing records. Audits of sales and fee payments are conducted on feed, fertilizer, seed and milk firms in Kentucky to verify reports, records, and fee payments. The Kentucky Fertilizer Law ensures that fertilizers sold in Kentucky are clearly and accurately labeled so that consumers can make informed purchases with confidence in its quality. Staff conducted 1,337 site visits performing inspections and sampling of lawn, turf and garden fertilizer at Kentucky processing, wholesale, and retail locations. The division administered actions on 2,526 official and 78 unofficial samples of fertilizer.
The Seed Regulatory Program ensures consumers of quality seed. He said that 1,774 official seed samples were tested, and there were 235 stop-sale orders on 235 official seed samples at seed and processor locations. The Feed Regulatory Program provides consumer protection for livestock feed and pet food. The program ensures safety, suitability and quality of animal feed in producing meat, milk, and eggs for human consumption and products for companion animals. The program provided 1,316 official inspections on feed manufacturers and dealers.
The Milk Regulator Program ensures raw farm milk that is produced and marketed in Kentucky is bought and sold using accurate weights and tests. The program reviewed applications and issued licenses to two transfer stations, 25 milk handlers, 17 laboratories, 75 technicians, and 348 sampler-weighers. In addition, over 7,402 official samples were analyzed.
Mr. McMurry stated that the Soil Testing Laboratory provides farmers, homeowners, greenhouse operators, and others with scientific information about the fertility status of soils or greenhouse media. In partnership with the Cooperative Extension Service, it provides lime and fertilizer recommendations based on laboratory results. The program received $240,109 in income for service testing for July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012.
In response to Senator Hornback and Representative Martha Jane King, Mr. McMurry stated that there is no ammonia nitrate in Kentucky.
Senator Stein and Representative Pullin talked about the Kentucky Family Impact Seminar being held in October. Senator Stein and Representative Pullin spoke about the positive impact that the Farm Stipend Program, in partnership with Grow Appalachia through the Domestic Violence Association, has had on victims of violence. The program helps victims of abuse to develop horticulture skills and small business experiences. The seminar will look at building strong families for Kentucky partners in food and health. Both encouraged legislators to attend the seminar.
Meeting adjourned at approximately 10:30 a.m.