Legislative Update: Agriculture appreciation — A salute to the industry

Published 1:54 am Friday, May 5, 2023


District 54 Representative

Spring is here, which means that we are inching closer to the legislative interim period when lawmakers will begin laying the groundwork for the 2024 Regular Session. This period is integral to researching issues, meeting with stakeholders, and setting a general agenda. Of course, tops on our agenda will be passing a two-year spending plan for state agencies and programs. However, we will no doubt have other issues to tackle.

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While there are still just a few weeks left before we begin the interim, I would like to take time this week to recognize a piece of legislation that may seem more ceremonial than it really is, HB 76. As you may know, the legislature takes the time to pass resolutions each year to recognize various dates throughout the year as agricultural themed days of appreciation. This year, instead of passing a handful of resolutions that are only binding for the year, we passed HB 76, which sets in stone agricultural dates of recognition.

These designations include:

• March —  National Agriculture Month.

• April —  National Soybean Month.

• May —  National Beef Month.

• June —  National Dairy Month.

• September —  National Poultry Month.

• October —  National Pork Month.

• The week of George Washington’s birthday in February of each year as National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Week.

• March 22 of each year as National Agriculture (Ag) Day.

• The first full week of October of each year as National 4-H Week.

This resolution provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the impact various sectors of agriculture have on our commonwealth’s economy and our way of life. Of course, we know the role agriculture has played in our state’s history. However, the legacy lives on today. In 2020 alone, an almost record setting $45.6 billion was infused into the state‘s economy from agricultural products and activities. $6.55 billion of this was collected in cash receipts.

In 2021, Kentucky producers achieved $6.86 billion in farm cash receipts. To break it down even further, in 2021, soybeans yielded $1.157 billion in sales receipts, poultry yielded almost $146 million in sales receipts, dairy products yielded $174 million in sales receipts, and pork yielded $170 million in sales receipts.

And to think, that was all in-house sales that took place within the state. Kentucky is also one of the leading states in the union for agricultural export revenue, bringing in an astonishing $3.1 billion in export revenue in the year 2021. I fully expect the numbers for 2022 to be even bigger for the commonwealth.

While agriculture is still going strong, we would like to see younger people enter farming. The state has programs available to encourage those under 40, but you cannot put a price on how great an impact programs like FFA and 4H have on students. They make farming not only attractive, but attainable by teaching skills like leadership, how to care for animals and crops, and how to manage budgets and financing.

This all goes to show that agriculture is undoubtedly the lifeblood of our state and an industry that provides both an economic and social foundation to a rural state like ours. HB 76 passed both chambers of the legislature with unanimous support.

To quote Henry Clay, I owe allegiance to two sovereignties, and only two: one is the sovereignty of this Union, and the other is the sovereignty of the state of Kentucky. I believe recognizing the lifeblood of our state is a salute to the sovereignty of the commonwealth.

As always, I can be reached through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181. If you would like to receive regular email updates on what is going on in Frankfort, feel free to send me a request via my legislative email at Daniel.Elliott@lrc.ky.gov. For more information, please visit the legislature’s website at www.legislature.ky.gov.