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Tuckers, Witt, Tingle to lead Southern States
Two Shelby County farmers who have their hands in a lot of roles have added another.
Ray Tucker and Gene Witt have been elected to the board of Southern States Cooperative during the organization’s annual meeting on Nov. 2. Tucker will serve as the board’s chairman/president and Witt as vice chairman/vice president.
Tucker has served in leadership positions on a variety of boards, including heading up the 2012 Shelby County Fair.
Witt is the chief deputy to Shelby County Sheriff Mike Armstrong, has been president of Shelby County Farm Bureau and last week was elected to the Soil Conservation Board.
Both farm significant acreage in the county.
Also at the meeting, Tucker’s wife, Stephanie, was chosen as chair of the Farm Home Advisory Committee, and Katherine Tingle of Shelbyville was named as its secretary.
Ben Parker, manager of the Shelbyville store, reported a total operating volume for the past year at about $10 million.
Farm-City celebration is Tuesday
Shelby County is celebrating the annual Farm-City Week with a banquet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Floral Hall at the Shelby County Fairgrounds.
U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and state Agriculture Commissioner Jamie Coomer are expected to attend the event, when the farmer of the year award will be presented .
Kiwanis Club is sponsoring the event, which organizer Ferenc Vegh said is one of the oldest in the nation.
National Farm-City Week officially is today through Thursday, continuing a celebration that has been national since 1955.
Recent U.S. Census data shows that an estimated 20 percent of U.S. farm production is exported and, according to figures from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, agriculture is also one of the few remaining industries with a positive balance of trade. There are 2.2 million farms operating in America.
Only four states have more farms than the 87,000 found in Kentucky, and farming accounts for greater than $5.3 billion in the state’s annual economic activity plus more than 270,000 jobs, according to a University of Kentucky survey.
Industrial hemp growth encouraged
A meeting reviving the long-dormant Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission will take place Wednesday morning at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture in Frankfort. In August, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, along with a bipartisan group of legislators, promised to move the industrial hemp initiative forward. This meeting marked the beginning of that process.
“Kentucky needs jobs. Everybody says they are for job creation, but supporting industrial hemp is their chance to prove it,” Paul said in a release about the meeting. “Industrial hemp could create thousands of production and manufacturing jobs, and Kentucky has the opportunity to be first in line for them.
“I strongly urge all Kentuckians to call their legislators and other elected officials and ask them to support the industrial hemp initiative.”
Said Comer: “We keep telling our farmers to diversify and look for new opportunities. Well, we have to give them the freedom to pursue them first. Kentucky has the perfect climate and soil to produce industrial hemp and the hard-working farmers ready to grow it. We just have to get the government out of the way.”
CFA plans annual meeting
The 27th annual Community Farm Alliance membership meeting will be at 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 1 at the E.S. Good Barn at the University of Kentucky. Registration is $35, including lunch. You can register by visiting www.cfaky.org or by contacting Wendi Badger at 502-223-3655 or Wendi@cfaky.org.
The Kentucky Ag Report is compiled weekly from news releases distributed by Keeton Communications, the Kentucky Press News Service.