Call to Order and Roll Call
Themeeting of the Tobacco Settlement Agreement Fund Oversight Committee was held on Wednesday, June 6, 2012, at 10:00 AM, in Room 129 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Wilson Stone, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Guests: Mr. Bill McCloskey, Ms. Angela Blank, Ms. Sandy Gardener; Mr. Biff Baker, and Tammy Brookshier, Governorís Office of Agricultural Policy; Mr. Glenn Williams and Mr. Steve Moore, University of Kentucky Extension; Doug Day, Laurel County Agricultural Development Board; Ms. Alexa Arnold, Community Farm Alliance; Mr. Charles Crutcher, Hardin County Agricultural Development Board; Mr. Earl Holmes, Jr., Henry County Agricultural Development Board; and Mr. Jesse Horn, Daviess County Agricultural Development Board.
A quorum being established, Senator Pendleton moved that the May 2, 2012, minutes be approved. Senator Parrett seconded the motion. The motion carried by unanimous voice vote.
Governorís Office of Agricultural Policy
††††††††††† The committee received the monthly report from Mr. Joel McCloskey, Director of Financial Services and Ms. Angela Blank, Director of Public Affairs, Governorís Office of Agricultural Policy (GOAP), regarding project funding decisions made by the Agricultural Development Board (ADB) during its May meeting.
††††††††††† Mr. McCloskey summarized the funding allocations made under the County Agricultural Improvement (CAIP), Deceased Farm Animal Removal Program, On-Farm Energy Program, and Shared-use Programs from the previous month. He also commented on two approved amendments for previously funded projects.
††††††††††† Mr. McCloskey reviewed project approvals by the board at the previous meeting, which was limited to the Woodford County Board of Education, $33,250 in Woodford County tobacco settlement funds for a greenhouse project to be constructed on the grounds of Woodford County High School. Mr. McCloskey responded to a question from committee members stating approximately fifteen to twenty greenhouse constructions have been approved by the board.
††††††††††† Mr. McCloskey responded to questions regarding the three on-farm energy program applications that were recommended for no funding by the board. In response to questions by committee members, he stated that the applicants needed a third party evaluation. He noted that projects range from the purchase of grain drying systems, heaters in poultry operations, and chillers and vacuum pump systems in dairy farms. Verification of year end savings relates to third party evaluation to check savings. A University of Kentucky expert conducts the evaluation.
††††††††††† Mr. McCloskey responded to comments by committee members stating that there seems to be more poultry producers seeking funds because there are energy savings to be realized.
Agricultural Development Councils
Mr. Charles Crutcher, Hardin County Agricultural Development Council member, offered several suggestions to the committee. He would like to see the universities offer more support for agricultural extension offices and their agents. He noted the importance of the agricultural extension agents and the need to keep them active in the County Agriculture Improvement Program.
Mr. Crutcher offered that there should be a cap at $100,000 so that more entities could participate. Senator Parrett acknowledged Mr. Crutcher as an original Hardin County Council member who helped develop their original plan. Senator Parrett offered that it may be time to go back to that plan, it may lend some ideas to councils and where priorities are. Senator Parrett noted the need to be cautious in setting a maximum at $100,000, offering that it may not be a realistic amount.
In response to a question by committee members, Mr. Crutcher responded that of 90 applications requesting Hardin County funds, only 34 projects were funded with a cap set at $5,000. Mr. Crutcher indicated that the council feels that the funds are only able to reach a small portion of their farmers. He noted that Hardin County receives approximately $200,000 in Master Settlement funds.
Mr. Douglas Day, Laurel County Agricultural Development Council, said that he has been very pleased with how the county council has been able to use the money in the area. It has created a market alliance for the cattle farmers and has been a blessing. Laurel County farmers have a good bull program in terms of genetics. He noted the importance of money at the local level has an effect on losses. Co-Chair Stone commented at the strength of the cattle market, noting Kentucky needs to be dedicated to cattle production. Senator Pendleton agreed, mentioning that in recent history there was not a market for Kentucky cattle but recently that has changed.
Mr. Earl Holmes, Jr., Henry County Agricultural Development Council, shared that of 200 applicants the council has been able to fund 150. Individual farmers have used the money to improve genetics. He noted the importance of waterers. He gave examples of how he has been able to leverage dollars on his own farm by setting up waterers, utilizing the Masterís Grazing Class, as well as goat and sheep genetics.
Mr. Jesse Horn, Daviess County Agricultural Development Council, told the committee that education has been a high priority of their council, starting with model programs and now CAIP, to educate producers. A great deal of the money has gone to youth education programs, to fostering horticulture programs, to adult education in welding, to a greenhouse at Owensboro High School, and to a youth cost share program.
††††††††††† There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at approximately 11:45 a.m.