Farmers Affected By Last Summer's Drought To Get Relief

FRANKFORT, KY (March 13, 2008) - Gov. Steve Beshear today unveiled an $8.15 million initiative to help farmers whose crops were damaged by severe weather conditions last year - the late freeze last spring and extensive drought throughout the summer and fall.

The Kentucky Agricultural Relief Effort (K.A.R.E.) will use Kentucky Agricultural Development Funds to help farmers recover from the devastation caused by the back-to-back weather disasters.

The program was approved by the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board, chaired by Gov. Beshear, in February.

The program will help farmers make improvements and investments related to water availability and forage to lessen the impact of future weather problems.

"Farming is a challenging way to make a living, and some years it's more stressful than others, but because of the $8.15 million investment in the K.A.R.E. program, we will be able to reach out to farmers whose crops were devastated," said Gov. Beshear. "Farmers need help developing alternative water sources that will head off the impacts of future droughts; assistance with renovating and reestablishing pastures and hay fields; along with equipment and facilities that will help improve forage quality."

In September the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board approved minor changes to County Model Programs making them more "drought friendly" to producers across the state. It also created a program designed to assist in the promotion of county education programs. In February, the board voted to commit Kentucky Agricultural Development Funds to develop a drought relief program.

On Monday, March 17, the guidelines for K.A.R.E. will be posted on the Governor's Office of Agricultural Policy's website for organizations wishing to administer this program on behalf of farmers. It will utilize infrastructure within the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund's existing programs.

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