Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources

 

Minutes of the<MeetNo1> 6th Meeting

of the 2006 Interim

 

<MeetMDY1> December 7, 2006

 

The<MeetNo2> 6th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources was held on<Day> Thursday,<MeetMDY2> December 7, 2006, at<MeetTime> 1:00 PM, in<Room> Room 154 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Thomas M McKee, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.

 

Present were:

 

Members:<Members> Representatives Jim Gooch Jr, Co-Chair, and Thomas M McKee, Co-Chair; Senators Ernie Harris, Robert J (Bob) Leeper, Joey Pendleton, Dorsey Ridley, Ernesto Scorsone, and Damon Thayer; Representatives Royce W Adams, Adrian K Arnold, James E Bruce, Dwight D Butler, Hubert Collins, James R Comer Jr, Tim Couch, W Milward Dedman Jr, Mike Denham, C B Embry Jr, W Keith Hall, Jimmy Higdon, Charlie Hoffman, Reginald K Meeks, Brad Montell, Rick W Rand, Steven Rudy, Brandon D Smith, Jim Stewart III, Tommy Turner, Ken Upchurch, and Robin L Webb.

 

Guests:† Arnita Gadson, West Jefferson County Air Pollution Task Force; Michael Judge, Brent Frazier, Mac Stone, and Dale Dobson; Jeff Hall, Kentucky Farm Service Agency; Kaycie Len Carter, Nathan Brown, Jimmie Thompson, Betty Bailey, Community Farm Alliance; Jim Lane and Morgain Sprague, Department for Fish and Wildlife Resources; Mikel Haines and Larry Adams, EPPC Division of Natural Resources; and Taro Futamura, University of Kentucky.

 

LRC Staff:† Tanya Monsanto, Biff Baker, Kelly Blevins, Lowell Atchley and Hank Marks.

 

Rep. McKee received a motion and a second to approve the minutes of the November meeting.† After a voice vote, the minutes were approved.† Rep. Denham gave the report of the Rural Issues Subcommittee.† The report was approved by voice vote.† Then, Sen. Harris gave the report of the Natural Resources Subcommittee which was then approved by voice vote.

 

Rep. McKee briefly explained that staff had prepared a full report of the committee which would describe all of the activities of the 2006 interim.† After a motion and a second, the report of the 2006 activities of the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources was approved by voice vote.† Rep. Meeks introduced Ms. Arnita Gadson, executive director of the West Jefferson County Community Task Force.† Ms. Gadson explained that the task force provided environmental justice for the entire Jefferson county area.† She stated that the task force was designed to identify environmental problems in the West Louisville area.† Ms. Gadson explained that this area has greater industrial development and the population has experienced serious health problems.† The task force is a place where regular meetings are held and provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and concerns about air quality, water quality, and other issues.

 

Then, Rep. McKee requested an update from Mr. Jeff Hall with Kentucky Farm Service Agency (FSA).† Mr. Hall explained that Kentucky FSA will enter into the next phase of the office closure process in FY 07. †He stated that 8 offices have been designated for closure.† FSA will hold public meetings at those 8 county offices.

 

Rep. McKee asked how many office closures are due to the decline of tobacco.† Mr. Hall responded that FSA is waiting on 2006 data to determine the impact of tobacco.

 

Rep. Denham asked if FSA knows the counties subject to closure at this time.† Mr. Hall replied yes.† They are Anderson, Johnson, Rowan, and Scott.† These offices do not have full-time staff.† The other four are Fulton, Larue, McCracken and Wolf.† These offices do have full-time staff but will be included in the first phase of office closures.

 

Rep. McKee asked if some counties like Anderson and Scott are agriculturally more significant than others.† Mr. Hall stated yes.† One component of whether an office is slated for closure is workload, but another is proximity.† These two offices are situated close together.

 

Rep. McKee introduced representatives of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to give a presentation on farm safety.† Mr. Michael Judge and Mr. Dale Dobson with KDA described the Kentucky farm safety and ATV safety programs.† KDA averages 112 farm safety programs per year and reach roughly 1 million people.† Through partnerships, KDA is able to expand its resources to provide programs across the state.† The program is designed to reduce death and injuries due to farming related accidents.† Mr. Dobson explained that another aspect of the program is ATV safety. There are differences in how to put together farm safety and ATV safety programs because ATV reaches a different age group and is rider dependent.† Last session, KDA requested funding for the program because Kentucky is one of the highest in the nation for ATV-related death and injuries.

Rep. McKee thanked the presenters and encouraged the $126,000 in funding for the ATV safety program in KDA.† Mr. Michael Judge stated that KDA must now ask for additional funding because the Governorís Office of Agricultural Policy (GOAP) will not give money for non-tobacco dependent projects.† KDA needs in the area of $250,000.

 

Rep. Meeks asked if there is a requirement for state workers to have roll bars and seatbelts on their mowing equipment.† Mr. Dobson stated yes.† Roll bars were mandatory in 2005.† The 2005 roll bars became standard on lawnmowers.

 

Rep. Meeks asked then about roll bar equipment for ATVs.† Mr. Dobson explained that ATVs are rider dependent vehicles.† The only equipment that protects an ATV rider is himself and his helmet.

 

Rep. Rudy asked if Mr. Dobson was the only staff person providing the farm safety program.† Mr. Dobson explained that there are 2 full-time staff on the road doing presentations.† Mr. Judge stated that the staff can be added to for big shows like the state fair.

 

Rep. McKee thanked the presenters and then asked KDA to present information about the farm-to-school program.† Mr. Judge stated that farm-to-school is a bi-local initiative.† We work towards value-added programs such as Kentucky Proud to encourage community-based agriculture.† This process is not always easy.† There is little transparency in value-added markets for produce and commodities.† There are issues such as packaging, contracts and pricing practices.

 

Mac Stone with KDA then updated the committee on value added plant production. †He talked about the transition from tobacco to vegetable production.† Cost-share programs have been an important incentive to help bring products to the cities.† House Bill 669 required markets to support Kentucky products if the price and quality is sufficient.† Mr. Stone described earlier farm-to-school pilots in Oregon and the initiative at the University of Kentucky (UK).† He explained that both UK and Murray State University manage their own food service.† Most universities have kitchen contracts.† Community Farm Alliance (CFA) has also worked with colleges and cafeterias to bring local produce to the schools.

 

Mr. Stone explained that a 669 committee has been created that include government, food marketers, and others to encourage implementation. There are a lot of questions about packaging, product liability, and we will conduct some sampling and snack trials.† Then KDA presented two bald Cyprus trees to be planted for Rep. Arnold and Rep. Bruce.

 

Representatives from CFA then discussed farm-to-school initiatives and how HB 669 has impacted communities.† In particular the Bath county project was discussed.† Schools are the backbone of the community.† This is why we chose to work with schools.† Materials from KDA and CFA presentations are available in the LRC library.

 

Finally Commissioner Jon Gassett, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and Dr. Robert Stout, State Veterinarian gave an update on monitoring and incidences of wildlife diseases.† The reports are part of an update required by statute and are available in the LRC library.

 

After a motion and a second, the meeting adjourned by voice vote.