Franklin County has received Tobacco Settlement Funds every year since 2001 as part of the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA). Farmers and landowners directly benefit from this through the county agricultural funds, which we now call the County Agricultural Investment Program (CAIP) under the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund (KADF). The Franklin County Cattlemen’s Association (FCCA) has sponsored this cost-sharing program for many years now, to the tune of more than $2 million.
The Franklin County Agricultural Development Council usually receives payments in April or May. Then, local entities such as the FCCA apply to disperse these funds through the CAIP cost-share program or other approved projects. This year the money was held up because of a dispute about how the state handled the process involving the smaller tobacco companies.
This past week, Gov. Steve Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway announced that the issues had been worked out and things were mostly back on track again. The press release touted a “victory not only for Kentucky farmers, but also for critical health care and early childhood services funded by the 1998 tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA).”
The press release goes on to say that “Under the agreement announced today, Kentucky receives $110.4 million in disputed and related payments and will avoid a long and expensive legal battle. Combined with the $48.3 million in payments already received this fiscal year, the total MSA payments for FY14 total is $158.7 million, which is $67.9 million more than budgeted for FY14.
However, estimated receipts for FY15 are $26.6 million less than budgeted, and FY16 are $15.9 million more. Overall, Kentucky stands to receive $57.2 million more in MSA payments over the next three years than budgeted.”
The governor is quoted saying, “our first priority with this money is to fully restore $42.5 million in 2014 budget cuts in areas like lung cancer research, county agriculture funds, and early childhood oral and mental health assistance, while maintaining this level of funding in 2015. This agreement will ensure funding availability for future investments in these programs that continue to have a positive impact on the commonwealth.”
So what does all this mean to the farmers and landowners of Franklin County? Basically that things are mostly back to normal as far as the CAIP cost share goes, albeit a little later than usual for 2014 though. So keep an eye out in the paper and our newsletter for information on the CAIP cost share and in the meantime, read more about it at http://agpolicy.ky.gov/funds/Pages/program-portal.aspx.
Farm-City Field Day
Mark July 10 on your calendar for the 56th annual Farm-City Field Day. The rotation this year lands the event in Bald Knob and more specifically at the Willis Farm owned by Danny Willis and managed by Matt Craig on Mt. Zion Road.
The farm is a purebred Saler operation so there will be a stop on the breed as well as one on showing livestock. We’ll cover some of the other stops as the event gets closer. Hope to see you there.
Farm-City Field Day is sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, Conservation District, Extension and Farm Bureau and made possible by more than 30 groups and businesses that donate money or services. More than 125 individuals volunteer to make this long running community event happen.
Free tickets for the lunch are available at the Farm Bureau Office, Wilkinson Boulevard, or the day of the event.