Collaborative Work Continues on Strategic Roadmap for Kentucky Agriculture

14 Jun 2024 9:54 AM | Jennifer Elwell (Administrator)

Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture Asked for Additional Input

KAC Chair Tony Brannon welcomes the crowd to the June 5 meeting in Lexington. 

The Kentucky Agricultural Council (KAC) met on June 5 in Lexington to continue work on the Strategic Roadmap for Kentucky Agriculture, where about 70 stakeholders continued to refine and add to the draft tactics presented. Many of those stakeholders were new to the process, moving the total participation to about 250 individuals. 

"This was another great day of construction by KAC members on the Strategic Roadmap,” remarked Dr. Tony Brannon, KAC chair. “There was great input, great ideas, and great discussion from great leaders planning our work. Let's get to work, Kentucky agriculture!" 

Roadmap contributors refined tactics for these nine strategies identified by stakeholder focus groups and developed by working groups of industry professionals:

  1. Help protect farm transitions & 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’s partnerships in the food and health space.
  7. Create more value-added markets across the Commonwealth.
  8. Grow collaboration, coordination, and communications within Kentucky ag.
  9. Build understanding around farm, food, fuel, and fiber amongst all Kentuckians.

"The leaders of Kentucky agriculture involved in the strategic roadmap have focused on the big picture to serve farm, food, fuel, and fiber partners across the state,” noted Michele Payn of Cause Matters Corp., who has facilitated the process. “I’ve been impressed with their concern for the future and ideas to creatively address challenges to help build a stronger agriculture. The goal of the strategic roadmap is to be a living, breathing document that is updated as tactics are delivered."

Payn will follow up with the strategy leads, and additional conversations will occur before another in-person meeting on August 15. The plan will be released on November 14-15 at the Kentucky Agricultural Summit in Louisville. However, many of KAC’s member organizations are already working on the strategies and tactics presented. 

“I believe this exercise was a reminder of how urgent many of the issues facing Kentucky agriculture really are,” said Jennifer Elwell, administrator of KAC and executive director of the Kentucky Agriculture and Environment in the Classroom. “Many of us found ways we can contribute and have already rolled up our sleeves to get to work.”

Examples of immediate actions that are underway or planned in the next few months include:

  • Work with partners such as the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the University of Kentucky on agriculture's economic multiplier. 
  • Conduct a consumer survey about what they want to learn about Kentucky agriculture.
  • Continue program development to address farmers' mental and physical health.
  • Assist young farmers and protect farmland across Kentucky.
  • Establish protocol and information for biosecurity and natural disasters Work on connections between the supply chain and Kentucky’s farm, fuel, food, and fiber products.
  • Provide insight on agriculture's workforce needs to educational partners. 

Tod Griffin, Michele Payn, and Jennifer Elwell spoke to the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture in Frankfort, Ky. on June 6. 

On June 6, Elwell, Payn, and KAC executive committee member Tod Griffin testified to the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture in Frankfort on the Strategic Roadmap, sharing the process, themes, and tactics. House and Senate members were encouraged to ask questions and share insights on what was important to them. Those notes will be shared with each working group to see how they may be included in the roadmap.

"We thank Chairman Heath and the committee members for the opportunity to report on the plan's progress,” said Griffin, who is also executive director of the Agribusiness Association of Kentucky.  “It's imperative that the members of the General Assembly know what key policy changes are needed to make sure Kentucky agriculture and rural communities remain vibrant and relevant to our citizens."

Strategic Roadmap for Kentucky Agriculture and the Kentucky Agricultural Summit updates can be found on the KAC website at

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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