Call to Order and Roll Call
Themeeting of the Tobacco Settlement Agreement Fund Oversight Committee was held on Wednesday, January 9, 2013, upon adjournment of the Senate and House Chambers, in Room 129 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Paul Hornback, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Paul Hornback, Co-Chair; Representative Wilson Stone, Co-Chair; Senators Carroll Gibson, Dennis Parrett, Robin L. Webb, and Whitney Westerfield; Representatives Tom McKee, Terry Mills, and Ryan Quarles.
Guests: Mr. Roger Thomas, Mr. Joel Neaveill, Mr. Bill McCloskey, Ms. Angela Blank, Mr. Biff Baker, and Mr. Brian Murphy, Governorís Office of Agricultural Policy; and Mr. Jeff Harper, Kentucky Farm Bureau.
The December 12, 2012, minutes were approved, without objection, by voice vote, upon a motion by Senator Parrett and seconded by Representative Mills.
Governorís Office of Agricultural Policy
Mr. Roger Thomas, Executive Director, Mr. Joel Neaveill, Chief of Staff, and Mr. Bill McCloskey, Director of Financial Services, Governorís Office of Agricultural Policy (GOAP), testified about project funding decisions made by the Agricultural Development Board (ABD) during its December 2012 meeting.
GOAP officials summarized funding allocations for the previous month under the County Agricultural Improvement (CAIP), Deceased Farm Animal Disposal Assistance, and Shared-Use Equipment programs. Following the overall review, some of the services offered and equipment acquired under programs Deceased Farm Animal Disposal and Shared-Use Equipment programs were explained.
GOAP staff provided details on the statewide and regional projects, which included: Kentucky Horticulture Council, approved for $1,325,000 for two years to continue work in the expansion and profitability of horticulture crop producers in the state; Kentucky Beef Network (KBN), $1,580,947 for two years to continue training beef cattle producers to produce and market quality livestock; Kentucky Specialty Grains, $33,850 to conduct a study on the market feasibility of a summer chia plant; Kentucky Dairy Development Council (KDDC), $1,863,900 for two years to continue a Kentucky dairy education and promotional program.
Responding to Co-chair Hornback, Mr. Neaveill said the funding for the Kentucky Horticulture Council was a continuation from previous years. Specific goals or benchmarks must be achieved. Mr. Neaveill indicated Agricultural Development Board members believe horticulture is a growth industry, and support is needed to help with the growth of the industry.
Mr. Thomas indicated the second year of funding to the organization will be dependent on goals achieved in the first year of funding.
GOAP officials described to Representative Stone and Senator Parrett how assistance by other entities will be accounted for by the Horticulture Council. The other entities involved include the University of Kentucky and Kentucky State University. The assistance will not be considered a funding or in-kind match, but an additional commitment of technical assistance and expertise, or accommodations such as building space. According to Mr. Rogers, the Horticulture Council will be documenting the additional commitments. It is easy to document building space provided but more difficult to document hours contributed. The councilís quarterly and annual reports are detailed.
Senator Webb commented on a concern she had when the HB 611 legislation was being drafted in 2000, that there needs to be an assurance that the tobacco settlement funds assist farmers. During the discussion, GOAP officials said copies of the councilís periodic reports will be provided to the members.
Regarding the KBN projects, Co-chair Stone commented on the growth of the cattle industry in Kentucky in the last 10 years. Mr. Rogers echoed the representativeís remarks and noted that buyers at out-of-state feed lots can attest to the quality of cattle now coming from Kentucky. Discussion also touched on the growth of farm gate receipts in Kentucky even though the value of tobacco production has markedly declined.
Responding to Senator Hornback, Mr. Biff Baker, GOAP Project Manager, described provisions of the Kentucky Specialty Grains contract.
In response to Senator Parrett, who asked why the endeavor was not a county project, Mr. Neaveill indicated the Kentucky Specialty Grains is not a traditional project and may result in opportunities for agricultural producers.
Commenting on KDDC, Senator Parrett and Representative McKee talked about the positive impact KDDC is having on the dairy industry in the state.
Speaking to the committee following the KDDC report, Senator Gibson remarked that he hopes to hear members of the committee mention programs that the legislators would like to see undertaken.
Documents distributed during the committee meeting are available with meeting materials in the LRC Library. The meeting ended at approximately 3:30 p.m.