Call to Order and Roll Call
The1st meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture was held on Wednesday, June 11, 2014, at<MeetTime> 10:00 AM, in Owenton, Kentucky at the Eden Shale Research Farm. Representative Tom McKee, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Paul Hornback, Co-Chair; Representative Tom McKee, Co-Chair; Senators Walter Blevins Jr., Carroll Gibson, Sara Beth Gregory, Stan Humphries, Dennis Parrett, Dorsey Ridley, Damon Thayer, and Robin L. Webb; Representatives Lynn Bechler, Mike Denham, Derrick Graham, Richard Heath, James Kay, Kim King, Michael Meredith, Suzanne Miles, Terry Mills, David Osborne, Ryan Quarles, Tom Riner, Bart Rowland, Steven Rudy, Jonathan Shell, John Short, Wilson Stone, and Tommy Turner.
Guests: Dave Maples, Executive Vice President, Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association; Becky Thompson, Director and Dan Miller, Industry Coordinator, Kentucky Beef Network; Dr. Nancy Cox, Dean, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment; Dr. Robert Stout, State Veterinarian; and Dr. Scott Flynn, Dow Agrosciences.
Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association
Chairman McKee welcomed local officials and honored guests. Mr. Dave Maples, Executive Vice President of the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association, gave a brief history of Eden Shale Farm and the association’s role in its management.
Kentucky Beef Network
Ms. Becky Thompson, Director of the Kentucky Beef Network (KBN), described the operating structure at Eden Shale Farm. Ms. Thompson explained the open intention of the farm and the hope that research being done there will help area farmers with similar soil types as that of Eden Shale Farm. The farm began when a group of area producers combined efforts to purchase the land in 1955. The land was then taken over by the Commonwealth under the purview of the University of Kentucky before officials contacted KBN about taking over its operations.
Mr. Dan Miller, Industry Coordinator for KBN, gave an overview of farm activities and events are hosted at Eden Shale Farm, such as field days for producers around the state.
In response to questions by Senator Gibson regarding lodging for students visiting the farm, Ms. Thompson said that there are no overnight facilities, but such facilities are a long-term goal. In response to funding questions, she explained the farm was purchased for $65,000. KBN has received money from the Agricultural Development Board. Operational money is received from KBN which provides services to cattlemen.
Mr. Miller further explained that the land is home to one hundred head of cattle. The land is also used for research on weed management, herd health, and field days, which are open to the public.
In response to a question by Representative Riner regarding youth groups, Ms. Thompson said that there is an area near the back of the farm that is used for youth shooting. She commented that 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) groups often utilize the farm. Hunting is not permitted on the land.
University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment
Dr. Nancy Cox, Dean, University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment, elaborated on the positive outcome of Eden Shale Research Farm since 2012. The experiment stations that were created to help farmers become prosperous have revived the spirit of the farm.
Office of the State Veterinarian: animal health responsibilities
Dr. Robert Stout, State Veterinarian, testified about recent Livestock Care Standards Committee regulations. He described the long and intense process to produce the regulations, which are designed to be an on-farm standard. The intent was to create minimal-care standards and species-specific standards.
Chairman McKee noted that it is important to have functioning care standards in place, but that 99 percent of farmers know how to care for their animals.
Senator Webb expressed appreciation for Senator Gregory’s work with the equine standards.
In response to a question by Representative Denham, Dr. Stout said that porcine epidemic diarrhea is underreported and has caused significant loss to Kentucky producers. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide funding to profile the swine industry in Kentucky.
Dr. Stout described the Bovine Viral Diarrhea-Persistent Infection (BVD-PI) impact on the cattle industry in Kentucky and the potential loss if infected calves are taken to stockyards.
In response to Representative Stone, Dr. Stout said that animals that have been exposed to BVD-PI could be treated if isolated and tested periodically.
Dr. Scott Flynn, Dow Agrosciences, explained the company’s work with Eden Shale Research Farm in the area of forage management. Kentucky’s land resources are underutilized, and producers could double cattle production if lands were properly utilized. Dr. Flynn spoke about research on fescue toxicosis and its cost to the state. He described products that Dow Agrosciences is developing to stop the plant from producing the seed that is the source of the problem for grazing livestock. He recommended that Kentucky producers diversity their forage to suit their needs.
Senator Webb expressed concern about new chemicals. Dr. Flynn noted that this particular chemical has been in use for 20 years. The research has just found a new use for it.
In response to a question by Representative Mills, Dr. Flynn responded that much of the work is with state Department of Transportation (DOT), and that Dow has done demonstration plots with DOT.
In response to a request for an update from Senator Hornback, Mr. Drew Graham, University of Kentucky (UK) College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment, explained that industrial hemp seeds of 10 to 13 varieties have been planted at UK test plots.
The handouts are on file with the LRC Library. There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.