August 21, 2014

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Legislative perspective on Kentucky General Assembly with Tom McKee

In a state like Kentucky, it doesn’t take a long drive to find something fun to do outdoors, especially during this time of year.  With options ranging from hunting and fishing to visiting one of our many festivals, the toughest choice is often deciding which activity to do first.

One area that has seen tremendous growth in recent years is agritourism.  We now have almost 340 farms open to the public, and they’re not only boosting economic development locally; they’re also promoting homegrown products and serving as a teaching tool for many students who otherwise would never see a working farm up close.

Earlier this year, the General Assembly passed a new law designed to increase the number of these farms by giving them greater liability protection as long as they take proper precautions to keep the public safe.  When Indiana passed a similar law last year, it saw more than 100 farms apply for an agritourism permit.

A related farm program is seeing considerable success as well.  “Kentucky Proud,” which the General Assembly created more than a decade ago to better market our agricultural products, now has about 3,300 members, and sales have already reached $250 million a year.