Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources


Minutes of the<MeetNo1> 3rd Meeting

of the 2005 Interim


<MeetMDY1> August 25, 2005


The<MeetNo2> 3rd meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources was held on<Day> Thursday,<MeetMDY2> August 25, 2005, at<MeetTime> 10:00 AM, in<Room> the VIP Suite of Freedom Hall, at the Kentucky State Fair. Senator Tom Jensen, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.


Present were:


Members:<Members> Senator Tom Jensen, Co-Chair; Representatives Jim Gooch Jr, Co-Chair, and Thomas M McKee, Co-Chair; Senators David E Boswell, Ernie Harris, Robert J (Bob) Leeper, Vernie McGaha, Joey Pendleton, J Dorsey Ridley, and Damon Thayer; Representatives Royce W Adams, Adrian K Arnold, Dwight D Butler, James Carr, Hubert Collins, James R Comer Jr, W Milward Dedman Jr, Mike Denham, C B Embry Jr, Jimmy Higdon, Charles E Meade, Reginald K Meeks, Brad Montell, Fred Nesler, Don R Pasley, Marie L Rader, Steven Rudy, Brandon D Smith, Tommy Turner, Ken Upchurch, Robin L Webb, and Susan Westrom.


Guests:  Bill Caldwell and Justin Dearinger, Kentucky Division of Water; Leslie Barras; Kevin McAdams; Eleanor Self, Sierra Club; Sarah McCann, Commerce; Melodie Shrader, Kentucky Association Of Health Plans; Daniel Green, Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative; Keith Rogers and Brian Furnish, Governor's Office of Agricultural Policy; Mark Farrow, Kentucky Department of Agriculture; Harold Workman, President Kentucky State Fair Board;  Derrick Ramsey, Lanny Greer, Thomas Schifano, Ronald Carmicle, Anna Jane Cave, Mary Anne Cronan, Commissioner Richie Farmer, Gib Gosser, Bruce Harper, Mary Kate Kordes, William Malone, J. Robert Miller, Drew Graham, William Tolle, and Hayward Spinks, Kentucky State Fair Board.



LRC Staff:  Tanya Monsanto, Biff Baker, and Kelly Blevins.


Senator Jensen remarked that the joint meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Kentucky State Fair Board is a good opportunity to hear and learn about the importance of Kentucky agriculture.  Sen. Jensen mentioned that there were several local public officials and local dignitaries in attendance of the meeting and asked that they introduce themselves for the record. 


Rep. Clark, Rep. Napier, Rep. Adkins and Rep. Richards provided some comments about the importance of the Kentucky State Fair and thanked the State Fair Board for conducting a joint meeting with the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.  Then, Mr. Kurt Lucas thanked the committee and the board and then introduced the student president of Future Farmers of America (FFA). 


Sen. Jensen then asked Mr. Larry Greer, chair of the Kentucky Fair Board to conduct their roll call and give the fair board report.  Mr. Larry Greer asked the members of the state fair board to introduce themselves for the record. 


Then, Mr. Harold Workman gave the report of the state fair board.  The fair represents all areas of the Commonwealth.  He stated that attendance remained good despite the higher than average gasoline prices and the hot weather conditions.  Mr. Workman discussed the status of facilities under the control of the state fair board both at the state fair exposition site and also the downtown convention center.


Mr. Workman also thanked the General Assembly for supporting acquisitions through the issuance of bonds.  The $52 million in bond issuance has helped the state fair board to expand and renovate facilities.  The construction of South Wing C should be in use by October 1.  This will add approximately 250,000 square feet of class A space at the exposition center.  The East Wing is also being renovated into Class A space too.  Construction on the East Wing will begin in April 2006.  After completion there will be 1.2 million in class A space available for events and trade shows. Mr. Workman stated that the board is preparing an economic impact study which will be available in December 2005.


Sen. Jensen thanked Mr. Workman and the members of the fair board for the report.  Then, Senator Williams stated that the state fair board will be making available facilities in downtown Louisville for the 2006 annual meeting of the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC).  He thanked the board for their services. 


Senator Pendleton asked about the budgetary impact to the state fair board if the University of Louisville (UL) Arena site is in the downtown rather than at the fairgrounds.  Mr. Workman replied that the UL basketball program is worth about $2 million to the fair board budget, plus additional events such as arena football would provide roughly $3 million annually.


Senator Harris asked the total amount of the board's budget. Mr. Workman stated the total budget is about $40 million dollars. 

Rep. Adrian Arnold asked in what year the state fair exposition center originally opened.  He also asked about renovations. Mr. Workman replied that this facility opened in 1956.  The renovation of the east wing would be complete in 2007.


Rep. Denham thanked the board for their report.  Then, Rep. Tom McKee made several remarks about the contribution of the Kentucky State Fair to the promotion of Kentucky agriculture.  He talked about the farm machinery show.


Mr. Workman responded that there are several groups who have asked for additional space, but we have not been able to presently accommodate. The hope is that the new space in South Wing C will increase the number of shows and events.


Rep. McKee then asked about the status of the search for a site for the Louisville arena.  He asked if the fairgrounds site had sufficient land for the building of such an arena.  Mr. Workman responded that the fair grounds has both the land and the facilities for the construction of an arena on the fairgrounds.  He also remarked that there is an official arena task force which is scrutinizing various sites.  The board made a presentation to the task force concerning the fairgrounds site and the cardinal stadium site.  Then, Mr. Workman described how the task force was considering four sites at the moment.  A final decision on the available sites would be made in 35 days.


Then several members of the General Assembly in attendance introduced themselves and thanked the members of the committee for holding the meeting at the Kentucky State Fair.  Then Sen. Harris announced that the Legislative Research Commission has a booth in the South Wing of the exposition center.  He encouraged those in attendance of the meeting to also visit the booth. 

Then, Mr. Keith Rogers announced that there would be a USDA sponsored forum on the national farm bill at the State Fair at the end of August.  He stated that information on that event would be forthcoming and that all the members of the General Assembly were invited to attend.


Then Rep. Gooch introduced a resolution supporting the Thoroughbred Generating Station in Muhlenberg County.  Rep. Gooch provided a brief history of House Bills 805 and 806 from the 2001 session and how those bills established a policy to support the use of Kentucky coal in electric generating facilities.  He stated that Thoroughbred is an example of such a facility and would provide jobs and growth to his area of the state.  The committee resolution passed by voice vote.


Sen. Jensen then mentioned that there was a regulation on the agenda and copies would be available to any member, but the regulation would not be taken up.  Then he discussed the September meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.  The September meeting would be held in conjunction with the University of Kentucky's Agricultural Round-up.


Being no further business, there was a motion and a second to adjourn.  The motion was approved by voice vote.