Community Focus - Mercer County Farm City Breakfast
- April 01, 2014
Though more winter weather loomed on the horizon, more than 100 Mercer County residents, elected officials, business people and farmers gathered Tuesday for the 13th Annual Mercer County Farm City Breakfast held at the Mercer County Extension office.
The event, sponsored by the Mercer County Farm Bureau, Mercer County Conservation District, Mercer County Cooperative Extension Service and Mercer Chamber of Commerce, provides each organization the opportunity to review past efforts while promoting upcoming events to keep agriculture and business leaders connected to what is happening in Mercer County.
Mercer County Judge Executive Milward Dedman opened the breakfast and Mercer County Farm Bureau President Jamie DeHart welcomed those in attendance and recognized sponsors and special guests. Mercer County Agricultural Extension Agent Linda McClanahan kicked off the breakfast with an update to the new farmer’s market building, which is slated to be finished July 1, “We are excited about the new building and the benefit it will be to our community.” Instead of her normal summary, McClanahan showed the trailer to the upcoming film “Farmland,” which follows the lives of six young farmers now running their family farm, encouraging attendees to see the film “It is important to share our story, your story, and it’s a good opportunity for people to see agriculture in a positive light.”
Jill Cutler, Executive Director for the Mercer Chamber of Commerce, touched on the progress the Chamber has made. “We are about leadership,” Cutler said noting their adult, youth and golden leadership groups in addition to the new minority leadership group being developed in cooperation with Luci Hockersmith, agent for family and consumer sciences. Other Chamber initiatives included educational efforts within the business community, Mercer and Burgin school systems and work being done to bring in post-secondary education opportunities, along with the fun activities like Pioneer Days, regional after hour business events, ribbon cuttings and business development events.
Featured speaker Warren Beeler, Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) director of ag policy, gave a presentation outlining current trends in agriculture. The information all pointed to the fact that “farmers must adapt to a public presencethat knows little about the farm.” Beeler touched on some of the federal agriculture policies with the farm bill allowing for hemp production in pilot projects for research. Kentucky’s universities are working on different seed varieties and their uses, along with production capabilities to determine profitability. Beeler’s presentation included the technological advancements made in farming that allow for better stewardship of the land and water,animal management practices including handling, transport, sickness, shelter and meeting the world’s food demands.
Stephen Bailey, vice-chair of the Mercer County Conservation District, wrapped up the presentations by citing the work done in the schools to educate the youth and “to teach them the right practices.” Bailey also reminded the audience of the landscape tree planting cost share program at the conservation district. Also during the meeting Rep. Kim King with the assistance of Sen. Tom Buford presented extension office staff a framed copy of the proclamation from the Kentucky House of Representatives recognizing 100 years of service from the extension offices in Kentucky.
The meeting concluded with several door prizes, and Old Fort Harrod State Park Executive Director David Coleman gave away a weekend’s stay at a Kentucky state park lodge. For more information on the National Farm City Council, whose purpose is to bring better understanding between rural and urban people by increasing their knowledge and appreciation of each other, visit www.farmcity.org.
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