Kentucky's agriculture commissioner says he sees no reason why the state can't double its agriculture sales in the coming years. James Comer tells WKU Public Radio high commodity prices helped Kentucky set a record of $4.9 billion in agriculture receipts in 2011. He says by helping Kentucky farmers increase production and gain access to new markets overseas, sales could skyrocket.
"I think we can continue to shoot that $5 billion mark up close to $10 billion in a few years, and that's a goal that I have, and I think it's something hopefully we can work together in the agriculture industry and economic development community and try to make happen in Kentucky," says Comer, a Monroe County native.
Comer says about one-third of Kentucky's agriculture receipts this year will come from exports. Some analysts believe that percentage will increase in coming years as a growing middle class in places like China, India, and Brazil gains access to more food options.
Commissioner Comer also told WKU Public Radio an announcement is coming "shortly" about an agreement reached between Walmart and the Kentucky Proud program. Some Walmart stores in Kentucky will begin to stock shelves with Kentucky Proud products.
Comer was also in the news recently when he spoke out in favor of legalizing industrial hemp at the state and federal levels.