Beshear outlines five year plan for improving agriculture
BALLARD COUNTY, Ky. - Walking through the gravel driveways at Wilson Farms, Aaron Wilson says of his operation, "We farm about 1,800 acres of row crops."
But most, he says, were ruined by drought. Those same dry, brittle conditions forced him to sell 1/5 of the cattle in a neighboring pasture.
"We made a lot of tough decisions," he said Tuesday of last summer's drought.
It is why Wilson, a 3rd generation farmer, said he was glad to hear of Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear's five year plan for agriculture.
That plan, introduced Tuesday in Frankfort, consists of seven core principles.
It means making farming attractive to future farmers including retirees, women and minorities. Also, it notes the need to expand the number of schools offering agricultural education. Beshear also outlined the need to gain the trust of Kentucky consumers to buy local and increase the incomes of farmers.
What Wilson likes is the part of the plan that promises to 'encourage funding through the Agriculture Development Board.' It means instead of using farm-generated tax dollars to balance the state budget, those dollars will be used to help with his bottom line.
"To bring their dollars back to our county is very important to us, it's something the Governor is making clear he is going to continue to do in the future."
Danielle Reeser, an agriculture science teacher at Ballard Memorial High School, also likes what she has read of the plan, which promises to create more ag. education programs.
The 2012 Murray State University graduate says it means possible jobs, which are in high demand, "There were a lot of us that were scared we wouldn't have jobs. Last year, there were 20 job openings in the state of Kentucky and a lot of schools that closed their openings because they didn't have enough funding for the jobs."
"It's going to provide more opportunities," she continued of Beshear's plan.
Opportunities for not just teachers, but students- future farmers, even. Aaron Wilson says, that's a good thing.
"It is a very good time to be a farmer," he said of the future.