While marquee political races drew the brightest glare of media spotlight in Kentucky this year, steady agricultural and agribusiness progress is no less deserving of notation as we close out the old year and welcome in the new.
Congratulations to incoming U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as he parlays his November electoral victory into occupying what is arguably the second most powerful position in Washington. And likewise, congratulations to those farmers, government officials and agribusiness representatives whose efforts contributed to a record year in farm income in the commonwealth.
At this year’s recently concluded Kentucky Farm Bureau convention, University of Kentucky ag economists projected that when all the 2014 figures are in and totaled, that income number will reach a record $6 billion. That’s up from $5.7 billion, the old record.
Leading the way was the poultry sector with $1.3 billion, while soybeans and cattle posted strong runner-up showings at $1 billion each. Corn receipts brought in $880 million despite a near 50 per cent drop in prices over the past 12 months.
A side note was given on the bullish effects of the growing bourbon industry, which the experts say will almost certainly boost local demand for corn. The distilleries have already caused a 30 percent price spike in timber markets, as demand for white oak logs to produce barrel staves outpaces supply.
Congratulations are also in order to the George Gagel family farm and their employees for being named this year’s Louisville-area Agribusiness of the Year. Countless patrons of Gagel produce and perennials would agree that the award is well deserved. George Gagel’s ancestors have been producing and selling farm products locally since before the mid-point of the 1800’s.
The Gagels received their award at this year’s Farm-City Luncheon held during the North American International Livestock Expo, at the Kentucky Expo Center.
Also honored at the luncheon was Lexington farmer and businessman Bob Hall, selected for the second annual Harold Workman Ag Leadership Award. Hall was one of the founders of the livestock show.
On behalf of the members and leaders of the Agribusiness Industry Network, I would ask that you consider setting aside time to take part in our 2015 activities, including a visit to Frankfort during the legislative session and a stopover for the many activities and attractions of the National Farm Machinery Show in February.
And of course, we wish for all a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.
Gary Huddleston | AIN Chairman