Over 200 Leaders Engage in Kentucky Agriculture’s Strategic Roadmap

6 May 2024 9:51 AM | Jennifer Elwell (Administrator)

Nine working groups, involving over 200 leaders from various sectors of Kentucky agriculture, are actively shaping the future of our industry. This collaborative effort, part of the Strategic Roadmap for Kentucky Agriculture: 2025-2030, is spearheaded by the Kentucky Agriculture Council and will be unveiled this November. The Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, and Kentucky State University have all made significant investments in this endeavor, underscoring the importance of their collective vision.

Themes generated by 120 participants in the initial focus groups include:

  1. Help protect farm transitions and sustain Kentucky farmlands.
  2. Prioritize workforce development.
  3. Engage agriculture in Kentucky’s economic development discussions.
  4. Foster more supply chain coordination to improve market access.
  5. Continue diversification and innovation across farm, food, fuel, & fiber.
  6. Develop agriculture partnerships in the food and health space.
  7. Create more value-added markets across the Commonwealth.
  8. Grow collaboration, coordination, and communications within Kentucky agriculture.
  9. Build understanding around farming and food amongst all Kentuckians.

The Kentucky Agricultural Council (KAC) represents Kentucky’s agricultural community and facilitates discussions to develop the KAC membership. Working groups are meeting to develop and refine measurable and actionable tactics to help guide the future of agriculture across the Commonwealth. Discussions will continue through August; KAC stakeholders will meet in person on June 5 in Lexington to further refine the developed tactics and identify partners involved in each strategy.

"The Kentucky Agricultural Council has long served Kentucky agriculture as an umbrella organization of organizations heavily vested in coordination and strategic planning activities,” said Dr. Tony Brannon, KAC chair and administrator of the WAVE River Counties Ag Initiative. “It has been said that if you don't know where you are heading, any road will get you there. The current 'Strategic Roadmap' being developed by leaders in Kentucky agriculture is a great effort to plan a route to continue building our industry. The effort is to help us fully uncover our needs and options and set priorities for them through tactics and actions.  As I've always said, 'Plan your Work, then Work your Plan.’ Let's get to work, Kentucky Agriculture!"

Michele Payn of Cause Matters, Corp., has been facilitating the strategic roadmap with assistance from Dr. Kristie Guffey of Murray State University Hutson School of Agriculture. Payn's approach has been to engage diverse stakeholders, from farmers and agribusiness professionals to nutritionists and processors. She asked what was missing from Kentucky agriculture and how to leverage assets to stand out in the next ten years.

Brannon is thankful for the agriculture community's tremendous support and participation in this process. Here's what participants had to say.

"Kentucky's agricultural and rural communities are a vital economic engine for the commonwealth and bring a valued way of life for so many Kentuckians," said Tod Griffin, executive director of the Agribusiness Association of Kentucky and KAC treasurer.  "The strategic roadmap is the culmination of the different ideas and priorities of Kentucky's agricultural leaders and sets the direction for the continued growth and success of one of Kentucky's most important sectors in our economy."

“Thanks to superior leadership, the Kentucky ag economy has thrived over the past couple of decades despite facing the greatest structural change of any state brought about by a changing tobacco economy,” remarked Dr. Will Snell, University of Kentucky agricultural economist. “Our farm economy and rural communities face a lot of headwinds in the coming years, but this plan will help keep our momentum moving forward.”

Any Kentucky agriculture stakeholder interested in joining the work should contact KAC executive secretary Jennifer Elwell at 855-921-2625 or kyagcouncil@gmail.com 

About the Kentucky Agricultural Council

Established in the late 1970s, the Kentucky Agricultural Council is a collaborative group of organizations that promotes, educates, and grows agriculture in the Commonwealth.

In 2006, the Kentucky Agricultural Council responded to Governor Ernie Fletcher’s call and assumed a leadership role in planning to help increase net farm income and improve the quality of life in rural Kentucky. This resulted in the publication of A Pathway for Kentucky's Agriculture and its Rural Communities: 2007 to 2012 Strategic Plan. A second plan followed for 2013-2018: Connecting Strategies to Better Kentucky’s Agricultural Economy and Rural Communities.

Learn more at www.kyagcouncil.org

The Kentucky Agricultural Council is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Administrative Address: PO Box 722, Shepherdsville, KY 40165
Official Address: 105 Corporate Drive, Frankfort, KY 40601

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