Call to Order and Roll Call
The2nd meeting of the Subcommittee on Rural Issues of the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture was held on Wednesday, November 12, 2014, at 10:00 AM, in Room 131 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Stan Humphries, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Stan Humphries, Co-Chair; David P. Givens, Dorsey Ridley, and Whitney Westerfield; Representatives Jim DeCesare, Kim King, Suzanne Miles, Terry Mills, Steven Rudy, Jonathan Shell, John Short, and Tommy Turner.
Guests: Kristin Meadors, Director of Governmental and Regulatory Affairs, Kentucky Distillers' Association, Clay Smith, craft distiller, Peg Hayes, craft distiller and Don Dott, Director, Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission.
Economic Impact of Kentucky's Bourbon and Distilled Spirits Industry
Ms. Kristin Meadors, Director of Governmental and Regulatory Affairs, Kentucky Distillers' Association, discussed the economic impact of Kentucky's bourbon and distilled spirits industry. The Kentucky Distillers' Association is headquartered in Frankfort, Kentucky and has 24 member companies. The economic impact study was conducted by the University of Louisville's Urban Studies Institute. Kentucky's distilling industry is responsible for 15,400 jobs with an annual payroll of $707 million. Distillers give away $2.5 million worth of spent grain to local farmers to feed almost 90,000 cows per year. Ms. Meadors explained the Kentucky Distillers' Association is creating partnerships with the Governor's Office of Agricultural Policy, Kentucky Corn Growers Association and Kentucky Department of Agriculture.
In response to Representative Shell, Ms. Meadors stated the economic impact study served as a benchmark as to how much Kentucky grain is being used and efforts to increase usage of Kentucky grain is ongoing.
In response to Senator Givens, Mr. Smith stated one of the biggest challenges to craft distillers is overcoming the inability to sell alcohol by the drink and on site to tourists. Ms. Meadors stated the Kentucky Distillers' Association has created a document to assist start up craft distillers.
In response to Senator Humphries, Ms. Meadors stated a craft distiller, in Kentucky, is considered a distiller producing 50,000 gallons or less of distilled spirits per calendar year.
In response to Representative Shell, Ms. Meadors explained Kentucky does have cooperages and there are ongoing discussions about the potential of a glass production facility relocating to Kentucky.
Rare Plant Species and Emerald Ash Borer
Mr. Don Dott, Director, Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission discussed rare plant species and emerald ash borer. Mr. Dott stated an official list of rare plants in Kentucky was established in 1994. Mr. Dott stated although the list recognizes the importance of rare plants it does not provide any protection of the plants. Mr. Dott explained there are 2,030 native plants in Kentucky and 286 of those are listed as threatened or endangered. Mr. Dott explained HB 491 was introduced in the 2014 Regular Session. HB 491 establishes a database of endangered or threatened plant species and prohibits any person from engaging in an activity which would threaten or harm the species. Mr. Dott stated HB 491 passed the House but the session ended before the Senate was able to take action on the bill.
Mr. Dott explained emerald ash borer is the most significant tree killing pest Kentucky has faced. Thirty-one counties have had emerald ash borer infestations, and there are infestations in all adjacent states. Kentucky is no longer trapping, so reports of new infestations will occur more slowly.
Representative Kay asked members to support HB 491 in the 2015 Regular Session and thanked Representative King for her assistance with HB 491 during the 2014 Regular Session. Representative King requested proceedings of HB 491.
In response to Senator Humphries, Mr. Dott responded there are no options for stopping the emerald ash borer disease at this time. Trees can be treated individually. Mr. Dott indicated there is ongoing research related to a potential predator from China to assist in the eradication of emerald ash borer.
In response to Representative Mills, Mr. Dott confirmed the statewide ban on bringing firewood from other states to campsites remains in effect as an effort to reduce the spread of emerald ash borer.
In response to Representative King, Mr. Dott explained Kentucky is no longer trapping because the emerald ash borer disease is so widespread.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.