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Agriculture Festival Stresses Importance of Buying Local

By: Lindsey Yates Email
By: Lindsey Yates Email
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"I want people to view farmers as heroes."

Barren County High School was transformed as the county held their first Agriculture Festival on the campus today.

Politicians, vendors, and farmers were on hand to celebrate the vital role of agriculture in the community.

"Your food supply is the most important issue. When you talk about national security there's no more important issue to our national security than having a safe, healthy, reliable food supply. When you buy your food locally and you know your local farmer you know how that food is produced," says James Comer, Commissioner of Agriculture.

From produce, to meat, dairy, and baked goods local farmers featured their products stressing the importance of knowing where your food comes from.

"Our Animals are raised on pasture on out livestock and we don't feed antibiotics or growth hormones, or anything like that. Our animals are born and raised right on our farm," says Linda Lewis, Farm Owner.

Sixth generation farmer, Ronald Ward has dedicated most of his life to growing and selling food that is healthy and safe.

"Most of it's organic and you're not getting all of those pesticides," says Ward.

He may not have the experience of Ward just yet but 12 year old Joseph Trigg is already working on his family farm learning the role agriculture plays in the community.

"If you don't know where it's coming from you don't know how reliable it is, and it could be covered in chemicals," says Trigg as he helps his family sell vegetables from their farm.

From farm to fork....some took the theme literally displaying exactly where the food comes from with chickens and goats at their booths.

"The goat that's where the milk comes from, and we feed feed that doesn't have any additives. It's all natural stuff that goes in the goats so it's all natural stuff coming out," says Sheila Duncan, Spring Valley Harvest Dairy Goats.

With Barren county being ranked top five in the state for agriculture Commissioner Comer says the farmers have learned to adapt and add value to their products.

"I want people to view farmers as heroes. We know our military personnel and first responders are heroes but our farmers are heroes too," says Comer.

He says the Department of Agriculture will continue to work towards opening new markets for local producers.

Comer adds the department also continues to work on numerous projects which includes getting local farmers products into major retailers.

They are also working closely with the thoroughbred industry.

Comer says all of agriculture has been booming in Kentucky but the horse industry has been on the decline, and he hopes that will change.

"We're working with them to try to get those thoroughbred's back to Kentucky. We're working to develop our equine industry in Kentucky. We're working with a lot of big retailers in Kentucky to get more Kentucky Proud products on the shelves."

Comer also spoke with us about his effort to legalize industrial hemp in Kentucky, and will he run for Governor in 2015?

We'll have that report tomorrow night on WBKO at 10.


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