The Kentucky Agricultural Development Board (KADB) met recently and approved minor changes to the County Model Programs making them more “drought friendly” to producers across the state.

These changes will increase the model programs’ effectiveness due to the exceptional drought that has blanketed the Commonwealth. The KADB also approved an expedited approval process for administrative changes to county model programs that will assist in the implementation of the programs.

“Governor Fletcher encouraged us to explore every option to assist Kentucky producers,” said Keith L. Rogers, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy. “These steps will provide important assistance while remaining within the intent of the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund.”

The Board members were in consensus that the most important action at this time, for our agricultural community, is to ensure the education of producers on the best practices for livestock and crops during this period of extreme drought. A program to assist in the promotion of county educational programs designed to assist all producers during the drought was adopted at the meeting.

“I directed my Office of Agricultural Policy (GOAP) to continue diligently working with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, and Kentucky State University to advise producers regarding alternative practices, to provide financial assistance and to explore other opportunities for farmers,” said Governor Ernie Fletcher.

“This is a crucial time for Kentucky agriculture and the joint efforts of these groups will be important in helping farmers progress through this difficult time.”

To begin efforts in providing drought assistance, Governor Fletcher sent a letter, on Aug. 29, 2007, to then-Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns declaring that Kentucky was in a period of severe drought and requested an official declaration from his office. Governor Fletcher also contacted the Kentucky Congressional Delegation to inform them of the situation and emphasize the necessity of federal drought assistance.

Details of the modifications to the Model Program Guidelines are available on the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy Web site at agpolicy.ky.gov.