Ag officials voice support for grain research center

Posted on Jul 28, 2015
KFB President Mark Haney was among a group of state agriculture leaders who appeared before the state legislature’s Interim Joint Agriculture Committee to express support for a proposed “Grain Center for Excellence” at UK’s Research and Education Center at Princeton.

KFB President Mark Haney spoke to the committee as Steve Coleman awaited his turn.
KFB President Mark Haney spoke to the committee as Steve Coleman awaited his turn.

The lawmakers held a July meeting at the UK farm in West Kentucky to learn about the proposal for a $24 million facility to provide research and support services for Kentucky’s grain industry.  Dr. Nancy Cox, Dean of the UK College of Agriculture, Food and the Environment, and other UK officials outlined the project to the committee of Senate and House members. The panel is co-chaired by two farmers with extensive Farm Bureau backgrounds: Senator Paul Hornback of Shelby County and Representative Tom McKee of Harrison County.

Dean Cox framed the purpose of the meeting by noting that the project has widespread support in Kentucky’s agriculture community. “We partner with a lot of folks,” she said while addressing the need for unity to achieve results. “I’m very proud to be an ag dean in this state.”

Under the proposal the new research facility would be constructed on land acquired on the west side of the 1,360-acre farm just south of Princeton, with $3 million estimated for land purchase and $16 million for construction.

Following the UK presentation a string of commodity group leaders were called on to give their input about the project. Weighing in were leaders from the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association, Kentucky Corn Growers and Small Grains Associations, Kentucky Soybean Association and Kentucky Poultry Federation. The Kentucky Pork Producers Association also had leadership present.

Haney wrapped up the two-hour hearing by expressing KFB’s support.

“We couldn’t be more supportive,” he said. “This is necessary if we are to continue to maximize the production we have. We (farmers) can do our part but advances have to come from research.”

Haney serves on a task force for the project that also includes KFB 1st Vice President Eddie Melton, Director Tripp Furches and Executive Vice President David S. Beck.

Haney also touched on the work of KFB’s Water Management Working Group and its goals to look for ways to enhance water resources for farmers. Joining him in discussing that project was Working Group Chairman Steve Coleman, who was a long-time Director of the Kentucky Division of Conservation. Coleman told the lawmakers the KFB group will “look at all ways to efficiently manage water resources.” He added: “We’re not just looking at agriculture’s needs, but the state as a whole.”

He and Haney touched on some of the issues involved, including drought mitigation and groundwater monitoring.

Senator Hornback and Representative McKee expressed optimism about the UK proposal and said it will be on the agenda for consideration in the 2016 session.

Tagged Post Topics Include: Agriculture, Commodity Group Leaders, David S Beck, Dean, Director, Dr Nancy Cox, Eddie Melton, Executive Vice President, Farm Bureau, Food and the Environment, Grain Center for Excellence, Grain Industry, Harrison County, House, Interim Joint Agriculture Committee, Kentucky Cattlemens Association, Kentucky Corn Growers and Small Grains Associations, Kentucky Farm Bureau, Kentucky Pork Producers Association, Kentucky Poultry Federation, Kentucky Soybean Association, KFB, Mark Haney, Paul Hornback, Representative, Senate, Senator, Shelby County, State Legislature, Tom McKee, Tripp Furches, UK, UK College of Agriculture, UK’s Research and Education Center at Princeton, University of Kentucky, Vice President