Gov. Beshear announces $4.2 Million in tobacco settlement funds to support Kentucky farmers

345 projects to receive funding through the Kentucky Soil and Water Conservation Commission
Commonwealth of Kentucky
Commonwealth of Kentucky(Office of Governor Andy Beshear)
Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 11:24 AM CST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WBKO) - Gov. Andy Beshear announced today that the Kentucky Soil and Water Conservation Commission has selected 345 Kentucky farm projects to receive a total of $4,203,631 in tobacco settlement funds.

The money will help farmers promote practices that protect water quality and prevent soil erosion. Projects include alternative water sources for livestock, grassed waterways, and fencing to facilitate rotational grazing and cover crops.

“When Kentucky’s farming families prosper, so does Team Kentucky,” Gov. Beshear said. “Through this funding, our farm owners are able to address issues that impact our environment and implement practices that improve productivity and increase their bottom line.”

Tobacco Master Settlement funds are appropriated each year by the General Assembly to support the program. Funds are distributed with the assistance of the 121 Soil and Water Conservation Districts across Kentucky which work with local farmers to verify and submit proposed projects for consideration. Award recipients have two years to complete the project.

The Conservation Commission has obligated more than $180 million in state cost share funds over the past 30 years. In fiscal year 2022, reimbursements were made for the completion of 456 projects. These included more than 50 miles of fence, 1553 acres of cover crop, and about 20 miles of pipeline to supply 184 waterers.

The most recent list of applications, approved by county, can be seen here.

Soil and Water Conservation Commission Chair Danny Shipley, a farmer in Allen County said, “The Cost Share Program helps farmers and landowners throughout Kentucky be better stewards of our land. The program helps landowners address existing soil erosion, water quality, and other environmental problems associated with their farming or woodland operation.”

The Soil and Water Conservation Commission is administered by the Division of Conservation, within the Energy and Environment Cabinet.

“We’re honored to work with our farming community through this and many other programs,” Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman said. “It’s inspiring to see how these projects make such a difference for our farmers.”

Allan Bryant, chair of the Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts and farmer in Henry County, said: “These funds give us the opportunity to take better care of our land for the next generation. I’m happy to say that the partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Kentucky Division of Conservation, and conservation districts across the state stand ready to assist and provide technical knowledge to install and make these practices work.”

For more information about the State Cost Share Program, contact the Soil and Water Conservation District in your county or click here.