Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer said two bills passed in this year’s state legislative session will strengthen Kentucky’s Grain Insurance Fund and enable the state to continue providing certain agricultural services.

“These bills will help the Kentucky Department of Agriculture better serve Kentucky’s agriculture industry,” Commissioner Farmer said. “That’s important to the whole state, but especially to Kentucky’s rural areas that depend on agriculture for much of their economic activity. I thank the General Assembly for passing these bills and Governor Steve Beshear for signing them.”

House Bill 462 increases the cap for assessing Kentucky grain producers for the state Grain Insurance Fund from $4 million to $10 million. The maximum claim from a grain elevator failure was raised from $100,000 to $200,000. The Grain Insurance Fund is administered by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Division of Regulation and Inspection.

House Bill 485 increases the annual fee for registering pesticides in the state from $125 to $250. The pesticide fees are used for the Kentucky Agriculture and Environment in the Classroom (KAEC), Rinse and Return and Chemical Collection programs, and cost-sharing for soil and water conservation projects.

KAEC helps teachers educate school children about the importance of agriculture and the environment in their everyday lives. Rinse and Return is a voluntary, cooperative program sponsored by the KDA and the Agri-Business Association of Kentucky that collects rinsed pesticide containers for recycling. The Chemical Collection program collects outdated or unwanted pesticides for proper disposal.