Kentucky Commodities Conference Gives Farmers a Chance to Ask Tough Questions

By Melissa Warren | 

Farmers and leaders in the agriculture industry gathered in Bowling Green to network today.

Tonight's round table discussion was the main event of this year's Kentucky Commodities Conference, and it featured two high profile guests, U.S. Senator Rand Paul and Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer. It also featured two hot topics, the farm bill and industrial hemp.

One reason farmers want to see a farm bill passed has much to do with last year's drought.

"As farmers, we're price takers. We're faced against the elements of mother nature. We can put all the nutrients in the ground we need to grow a plentiful crop, but if it doesn't rain, or we have excessive heat like we did in 2012, our crops are not going to grow," said Fresh Start Farms Owner.
Ryan Bivens.

Crop insurance is a safety net for farmers in times like these, when the crops don't yield as anticipated. Farmers say it's essential to planning the next season's crop.

"Going forward, to keep our operations going in, we need to know what we're looking at the next year before we start doing our business, and we need the passage of a farm bill," said President Ky Soybean Assoc. Davie Stephens.

Another issue, very close to both Paul and Comer, the legalization of industrial hemp.

"It can be made into paper, it can be made into clothes. Some of the seeds and oils are used for soaps, so we're excited about it and we're hoping we might get it passed in the legislature this year," said U.S. Senator Rand Paul.

Senate Bill 50, which proposes the legalization of hemp for industrial purposes only is already making its way through Frankfort.

Senator Paul says he wants to return to Washington able to tell Congress Kentucky supports hemp legalization. He says passing state legislation would make that message clear.

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