Agriculture

Understanding that veterans have a higher unemployment rate than the population as a whole, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer is launching two programs to help veterans find work.  The Homegrown by Heroes initiative will place a label on food items produced by Kentucky veterans. 

It's like the Kentucky Proud symbol, but includes a flag in the background and a veteran saluting.

"We've been getting calls from many other states and this is something I believe will be a nation model as a way to help market farm products by our military veterans," Comer remarked at a news conference Tuesday at the Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort..

Comer is launching another program called Kentucky Proud Jobs for Vets.  The initiative will maintain a database of farmers and agri-businesses looking for workers.  The database will be shared with military support groups like USA Cares.  Comer says many people like hiring veterans because of their strong work ethic and service to the country.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner is leveling criticism against the Environmental Protection Agency regarding a pollution control plan in Jefferson County.

In an interview with the Courier-Journal, James Comer came out swinging against water quality sampling conducted for the Floyds Fork Pollution Control Plan. The waterway serves as a focal point for Louisville’s newest string of parkland, but it currently fails to meet federal water quality standards. Comer says he’s worried that water quality sampling done at the site could result in new EPA regulations.

The Monroe County native says he’s especially concerned at the prospect of the EPA imposing new rules on how much fertilizer farmers can spread on their fields. But EPA officials and the Kentucky Division of Water both say the federal government doesn’t have the authority to impose limits on fertilizer applications and farm runoff.

Kevin Willis

Despite experiencing one of the worse droughts in U.S. history, agriculture economists in Kentucky are projecting record cash receipts for the state’s farmers.

During their annual outlook during the Kentucky Farm Bureau conference, economists from the University of Kentucky say they think Kentucky will break the $5-billion barrier in revenues this year.

Lead economist Will Snell says high prices for many crops -- along will increased exports and insurance payouts  -- helped offset the drought for many agricultural industries in Kentucky.

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.

A program dedicated to showcasing Kentucky food could be headed to a Walmart near you. Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says the world's largest retailer has agreed to stock Kentucky Proud shelves in some of its Bluegrass State stores, which would contain food and other products made in the commonwealth.

Kevin Willis

While the recent rain in our listening area is certainly a welcome sight for farmers, it comes too late to save the crops that have already been devastated by the drought. Still, WKU agriculture professor Todd Willian says the rainfall could help crops that are harvested later in the year, like soybeans.

Kevin Willis

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear's office says another 68 counties have been declared primary disaster areas due to damage from drought. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued the declaration, which also qualifies 22 contiguous counties for assistance.

Two of Kentucky’s highest profile Republicans are teaming up to rally for industrial hemp. U.S. Senator Rand Paul and Agriculture Commissioner James Comer will hold a news conference on Thursday to double down on their support for the crop, which can be used for textiles or oil.

The brutal weather this summer throughout the Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee region is leading to dire consequences for farmers and consumers. Some corn farmers in southern and western Kentucky have had almost all of their crop wiped out this season. That has many agriculture experts predicting both short and long term effects on commodity and food prices throughout the region.

KY Department of Agriculture

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer will visit Warren, Butler, and Daviess Counties today, promoting a ten dollar voluntary donation for farm license plate renewals. Commissioner Comer says the ten dollars will be split evenly between the 4-H, The Future Farmers of America, and the Kentucky Proud Program. Comer believes the funds can help to encourage some young people to attend college and then return to the farm. He says more young people are needed in production agriculture in Kentucky and across the nation. Dan Modlin talks with him.

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