KFB Comment Column: We are Stronger When We Work Together

Posted on Apr 6, 2021
Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation Executive Vice President Drew Graham

Having once been a member of the Kentucky General Assembly, I know under the best of conditions, there is much work to be done in a short period of time. I can’t imagine having had to go through the last two sessions during a pandemic.

But prevail they have, and my hat is off to all legislators for working tirelessly on issues that included a state budget.

I know many of these General Assembly members, and I appreciate the jobs they do, spending long hours away from their families, often working late into the night only to return early the next day. And it is often a thankless job hearing more complaints than “thank yous.”

But I know most wouldn’t trade the duties that have been entrusted to them for anything. They are dedicated to the process of bringing forth legislation for the betterment of the Commonwealth no matter which side of the isle they sit on.

With that said, Kentucky Farm Bureau has a very dedicated Public Affairs staff who have also worked long hours over the past several weeks bringing forth our policy and priority issues connected to several pieces of legislation during this session.

Because of their diligent efforts, we have seen many successes on the state legislative front thanks to their dedication to this organization. I must also thank our devoted volunteer members who have let their voices be heard in Frankfort during this and all legislative sessions. It truly takes all of us to move forward on the issues that affect each one of us. By working together, we are much stronger which ultimately leads to our many successes.

Some of those successes during this session included FY22 budget funding of many KFB priority ag-related projects and programs including $34.9 million for the Agricultural Development Fund, of which $14.4 million is allocated for county funds; $2.5 million to the Environmental Stewardship Program; $907,300 for Conservation District Local Aid; and $18.8 million for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

Other programs and entities that received funding in the budget bill included the UK Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, the Breathitt Veterinary Center, the Kentucky Mesonet at Western Kentucky University, the County Fair Grant Program, and the Kentucky Rural Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Pilot Program.

We were extremely grateful for passage of HB 320 which included a $250 million appropriation for the Broadband Deployment Fund. Also, SB 3, which is supported in KFB policy, brought the Agricultural Development Board and the Kentucky Agricultural Finance Corporation from the Office of the Governor and placed it in the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

HB 278 will allow for the same tax treatment as for federal purposes related to forgiven covered loans, deductions, and tax attributes associated with Paycheck Protection loans, and HB 518 which solidified agriculture’s representation on the Kentucky State Fair Board.

And the list goes on. There are many other pieces of legislation passed which are favorable to agriculture and many of those passed with bipartisan support.

Agriculture has traditionally been a bipartisan issue and I appreciate the support from both sides of the isle in the Kentucky General Assembly. We are blessed for their attention to our most essential industry.

Drew Graham, Executive Vice President
Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation