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Kentucky Ag Council announces strategic plan for 2013-18

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By Rick Greenwell

Media, political leaders and representatives from Kentucky Agriculture Council member organizations met in Frankfort on Tuesday for the unveiling of the 2013-2018 Strategic Plan for Kentucky Agriculture and presentation to Governor Steve Beshear. The plan was developed by the Task Force on the Future of Agriculture through formal meetings and public forums. A series of Goals and Actions were developed that responded to key themes and issues. These formed the Core Strategies around which the new plan was finalized:

Core strategies and recommended actions to drive Kentucky agricultural progress
Next Generation Farming - Make farming attractive and accessible to the next generation of both full-time and part-time aspirants, including those from diverse, non-traditional groups including retirees, women, minorities and urban dwellers.

New Markets Identification & Development - Increase on-farm incomes and strengthen economic vitality of rural areas through continuous identification and development of new market opportunities.

Regional Agricultural & Rural Community Development - Encourage region-specific agricultural development projects and initiatives through funding from the Agricultural Development Board.

Agricultural Education - Promote, advocate for, and expand the number of schools offering Agricultural Education programs by linking the contribution of Agricultural Education to “Unbridled Learning” College & Career Readiness For All, Kentucky’s new accountability model.

Consumer Education & Outreach - Engage with Kentucky consumers to increase their trust in the state’s agricultural producers and products. Build consumer appreciation of the benefits of agriculture economically to the state as a whole and at the individual county level, and in terms of its role in ensuring the sustainability of Kentucky’s culture and a rural lifestyle.

Government Policies, Initiatives & Programs - Develop policies and funding streams designed to support the overall health (economic & environmental) of farms in Kentucky, as well as lead to increased net farm income. Ensure that all Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund (KADF) proceeds are invested with a purpose of improving the net farm income.
Policy-Maker Education & Outreach - Ensure all legislators and policy-makers at local, state and national levels understand the economic and community impact of Kentucky’s agricultural sector — “an implementation plan for the Strategic Plan.”