FRANKFORT -- Preserving and protecting Kentucky livestock and equine industries jumped hurdles in the recent Kentucky General Assembly session.
House Bill 398, aimed at protecting a signature industry of the commonwealth -- horses -- was passed as one of several bills State Rep. Mike Denham pushed through the session.
Abandoned and mistreated horses are a concern, and the legislation mandates local input into equine management, officials said.
"Horses are one of our signature industries, and we have to protect that investment," Denham said. "Preventing abuse and taking care of horses that are turned out is essential to preserving our way of life."
Language in the bill allows for the start of a Kentucky Livestock Care Standards Board.
"Other states have seen outsiders come in and rally voters to pass laws without understanding how a farm operates," Denham said. "This will make sure that farmers and agricultural experts set the policies they live by, not outside groups with a limited range of interest."
The bill also opens a door for research into equine health and wellness, and the protection of stray horses.
In other legislation supported by Denham, a requirement came from H. B. 506 for the Kentucky Milk Commission to coordinate with economic development officials to develop incentives to keep dairy farmers thriving.
House Concurrent Resolution 207 also urges the U.S. Department of Agriculture to look into developing a milk pricing formula which a farmer could afford.
Dairy farmers in Kentucky, more than 1,000 of them, generate more than $1 billion in economic activity in Kentucky, he said.
According to statistics on the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Louisville Web site, the price a dairy farmer receives varies from 7.72 cents per pound to 16.75 cents per pound for their milk product. There are approximately 8.6 pounds in a gallon of milk.
Butterfat content also affects the price, by a penny or more per pound of raw milk.
A gallon of milk at local grocery stores has recently been selling for as low as $1.79 per gallon, higher in urban areas.
"Farmers are facing a great deal of stress and uncertainty when they sell their milk, and we have to make sure the system is fair and equitable," Denham said. "We have to protect one of our biggest industries and the people behind it."
Contact Wendy Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 606-564-9091, ext. 276.
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