For farmers, the importance of interface with Kentucky’s policy and regulatory agencies can never be overstated. And, the impact of having a personal working relationship with regulatory officials should never be underestimated. To enhance these relationships, grain agriculture organizations came together earlier this month to host a team from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, including Secretary Rebecca Goodman, Deputy Secretary John Lyons, Deputy Commissioner of the Dept. of Environmental Protection Amanda Lefever and Anne Marie Franklin, Executive Advisor to Secretary Goodman focused on the Kentucky AgriTech project.
The tour began at Commonwealth Agri-Energy for a deep discussion on the environmental benefits of ethanol and biodiesel, and the economic development importance of these products. Secretary Goodman was intent on understanding what her cabinet and others within the Beshear Administration can do to facilitate the success of these industries.
Joseph Sisk, KyCorn Board and Promotion Council member participated in that discussion. He observed, “I was grateful for her openness and willingness to ask and answer questions of the farmers. She was very proactive in expressing her desire to keep honest and open communication between the ag community and the Cabinet.”
Joseph was then the first farm tour stop, providing insight on water management and irrigation strategies, the importance of winter crops for soil conservation and the environmental benefits of strip-tillage. The group caravanned to Cundiff Farms for demonstrations from Barry Alexander’s edge-of-field water monitoring and to see the farm’s system for using solar energy at their grain handling facility. Next, Josh Lancaster hosted at L. Hust Farms for open discussion on how farmers are preparing to be a resource in the design of future regulatory programs.
Day two of the tour began in Larue County with Ryan Bivens moderating a discussion on how regulatory processes can go off the rails without appropriate interaction with regulatory officials. The points were very well-received, and Secretary Goodman explained her efforts to avoid these occurrences. Family farming was then center stage with Caleb Ragland at Shady Rest Farms; he explained his highly-technical program for responsibly injecting liquid manure for corn production. Richard Preston and Josh McGrath wrapped up the event with their explanation of how land-grant research enhances conservation by enabling intensive crop management.
“We are grateful for Secretary Goodman’s complete attention and sincere dialogue for two intense days of travel,” remarked Laura Knoth, KyCorn Executive Director. “There was tough discussion at some points, but every discussion was highly productive and certainly important to the future of Kentucky’s grain community.”