With extreme drought severely impacting the Bluegrass State in 2012, farmers and growers looking forward would rightfully be concerned with the future of the state's agriculture.
On Tuesday, Governor Steve Beshear, along with the Kentucky Ag Council (KAC), unveiled its 5-year strategic plan for agriculture called - Connecting: Strategies to Better Kentucky's Agricultural Economy and Rural Communities (2013-2018).
December (year end report) showed that a total of $8 Billion dollars had been distributed due to crop loss all across the Midwest, according to the USDA's Federal Crop Insurance Corporation.
According to the USDA, Kentucky suffered the worst corn yields among the top 10 in 2012. The Bluegrass registered 50% below the average yield from 2002-2011 with only 68 bushels per acre.
When I spoke to the Kentucky State Climatologist back during the late summer of 2012, he spoke of the Western side of the state suffering from the worst drought conditions he could find on record. The corn crop decimated and soybeans following close behind in condition. The video here shows part of his interview:
In addition to Kentucky, the other Local 6 states of Missouri, Illinois, and Tennessee all ranked in the top 5 states devastated by Drought 2012. When talking to local farmers, they trust that hard times come hand in hand with the good ones and have faith in God to support their lifelong commitment. They are also seemingly aware that our climate is making the hard times more and more difficult and expensive in a weak economy. This is where the new Five-Year Strategic Plan comes into play. The KAC task force met and held public forums to gather input from across the state.
"This strategic plan is not just about improving our farms and helping our farmers; it's about strengthening their place in our communities, improving quality of life and economy vitality across Kentucky. This Plan for Kentucky's agricultural community is a strong and thoughtful document that, when implemented, will help secure a bright future for our farm families." - KY Governor Steve Beshear
The plan includes seven core strategies with recommended actions to drive Kentucky's progress. Here is the framework:
- Next Generation Farming
- New Markets Identification & Development
- Rural Agricultural & Rural Community Development
- Agricultural Education
- Consumer Education & Outreach
- Government Policies, Initiatives, and Programs
- Policy-Maker Education & Outreach
Reporter Lauren Adams spoke with a local farmer in Ballard County, KY to find out how this plan may improve his outlook/fruits of farming in the Bluegrass State. Here is her story:
Let me know how this plan impacts your growing season or strategy for the next 5 years, send me a comment or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to see photos of your recent crops or farm!