Agriculture is getting a facelift as part of a $5.4 billion investment in Kentucky farms and ranches.
Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) Secretary James “Jazzy” Stiles said the department has received an additional $8 million in state funding for Kentucky agriculture.
The funds are intended to improve the quality of the state’s farm and ranching operations.
Stiles said Kentucky agriculture is facing some challenges, and the department is working with local governments and businesses to improve their facilities.
The $8.5 million is being used to hire additional farmers and ranchers, and to expand the size of the workforce in the Kentucky Department of Agricultural Services, Stiles told The Associated Press.
He said it will help beef up operations to meet demand for beef, pork and poultry products.
St. Louis County’s Agri-Prod said it plans to hire 1,300 people to operate its cattle operation in addition to the 1,500 it already has.
The county expects to be able to meet its 2018 cattle quota, St. Louis-based AgriProd CEO John W. Kocher said.
The Agri Prod, which employs 2,500 people, has been in business since 1894.
It is owned by the Kentucky Agricultural Council and is run by a board of directors.
Kocher told the AP that the county’s plan is to add 300 new jobs.
He did not specify which county was responsible for the additional hires.
Staley, who will take over the reins of the Kentucky Agri Services Agency in April, has also said he wants to hire more employees.
Stokes told the Kentucky State Journal that Kentucky’s farmers are more than a few years behind in the quality control of their meat products.
Kentucky has one of the worst meat quality control standards in the nation, he said.
“The farmers and their representatives need to be part of this investment and this investment needs to be based on a better understanding of what’s in the product, and what it can do to improve quality,” he said at a press conference in Louisville.
The department has also announced the hiring of three new agriculture inspectors, including one in Kentucky.
Stiles is working on recruiting more local officials to the agency.
The Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation and the Kentucky Rural Land Commission also announced plans to expand their staffs.
They plan to hire about 300 more workers.
Stores will also begin to receive a new system for tracking and reviewing inventory, the Agriculture Department said.
Stands will take a closer look at what’s on sale in farmers markets, and how they are stored and stored, and will monitor what’s being sold at restaurants, according to the announcement.
The Agriculture Department also said it is considering increasing the price of certain food items.
Stylist Julie Bierman, who serves as the program director for Kentucky’s state food services agency, said she expects the department to be more proactive in enforcing state food safety laws.
Bierman said she is also looking at whether to establish a new position to oversee the agency’s inventory program.