The Richmond Register

Local News

April 11, 2013

Comer to launch Farm to Campus program Monday at EKU

RICHMOND — Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer will make his second visit to Richmond in six days Monday when he will formally launch the Proud Farm to Campus program with EKU President Doug Whitlock at a 3 p.m. ribbon-cutting.

EKU’s student convenience store and bookstore will increase its offering of Kentucky Proud products, and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture will work with student members of the EKU Green Crew on sustainability initiatives, according to a news release from Comer’s office.

Under the Farm to Campus program, the state agriculture department will partner with EKU and other Kentucky colleges to help with their buy-local efforts.

Over the next two years, the department will target college campuses to put more shelf-stable Kentucky Proud products in their bookstores and gift shops, and more farm-fresh Kentucky Proud products in their cafeterias and food service systems, the release stated.

The department also will work with universities and student sustainability groups, such as the Green Crew, on Kentucky Proud/buy local efforts in Richmond and other college towns.

When Comer travels around the state to speak with farmers and those in agriculture-related business, he is asked most often about legalization of hemp and his predecessor, former Kentucky basketball star Richie Farmer, the commissioner said during a Wednesday visit to Richmond.

After he spoke to a crowd of about 60 at the Blue Grass Stockyards, no one asked Comer about Farmer, who has been accused of 42 ethical violations. However, hemp was the main topic of questions and discussion.

Comer, who also visited Tri-County Fertilizer during his Wednesday visit, is Kentucky’s leading proponent of legalizing hemp.

Although industrial hemp may not be grown legally anywhere in the United States until the federal government drops its opposition, Comer helped push enabling legislation through this year’s session of the Kentucky legislature. The law will give Kentucky farmers a head start on competitors in other states if hemp is legalized, he said.

Asked about how much demand there would be for hemp fiber or seeds if the state’s farmers are allowed to grow it, Comer was cautious.

About $500 million worth of hemp fiber and seeds is imported from other countries every year, he said.

If American-grown hemp is less costly than imports, the demand from producers of hemp byproducts could rise.

While hemp would never replace tobacco, or even corn or soybeans, as profitable crops for Kentucky farmers, Comer said, it would give them another option.

Only farms larger than 50 acres that could devote at least 10 acres to hemp cultivation would likely be able to produce it profitably, Comer said.

Growers would need a license to produce the crop and a contract from a buyer before they could be licensed, the agriculture commissioner said.

However, licensing and monitoring also would increase his employees’ workload, Comer said.

Law enforcement would be kept informed of where hemp was being grown legally, alleviating concern about hemp being confused with marijuana eradication efforts, he said.

Even without the option of growing industrial hemp, this is a good time to be engaged in Kentucky agriculture, the commissioner said.

Sales of Kentucky farm products generate more income for the state than any other industry, he said, more than $5 billion.

Poultry is the state’s leading farm product, followed by horses, beef cattle, corn and soybeans, Comer said.

The rising popularity of locally grown, farm-fresh food is creating new opportunities for Kentucky farmers, especially those near large cities, he said. The state still imports too much of its food, he added.

Bill Robinson can be reached at or at 624-6690.


Text Only
Local News
  • 8-1 St. Mark door.jpg Arabic letter N painted on church door

    Throughout its history the Roman Catholic Church has been associated with Latin language and lettering, so passersby on West Main Street were surprised Thursday to see a strange symbol emblazoned on the church’s door.
    Some were even more surprised to learn it was an Arabic character.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fire damages Southern Hills building

    A building in the Southern Hills shopping center at the corner of Commercial Drive and Gibson Bay Drive was damaged by a Thursday afternoon fire.
    Contractors had been working to update the vacant building but were probably not the cause of the fire that began in the bathroom, Richmond Fire Chief Buzzy Campbell said after the fire was extinguished.

    August 1, 2014

  • 8-1 demo derby 1.jpg Demolition derby at the county fair

    The emcee, firefighters and paramedics race to help the driver of an over-turned car in Wednesday night’s Madison County Fair demolition derby. The driver was unhurt and the vehicle was quickly righted.

    August 1, 2014 3 Photos

  • 8-1 fair pageants 3.jpg Royalty crowned at Madison County Fair


    August 1, 2014 3 Photos

  • 8-1 Bees 2.jpg Bee-ing in the know

    Bee lovers were buzzing around Eastern Kentucky University this week for the Eastern Apicultural Society’s 2014 conference.
    Hobbyists, scientists and apiarists traveled from as far as Canada, France and New Zealand, as well as many states, to spend the week exploring numerous aspects of bees.

    July 31, 2014 8 Photos

  • 8-1 Tanya R. Horn.jpg Store employee charged with taking $10,000

    Tanya R. Horn, 33, of Darlene Court, pilfered $10,196 in cash from Posh Tots on Meridian Way over the course of two years, according to a Richmond Police report.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-30 Candids 1.jpg Madison County Fair paid admissions total 10,000 by Tuesday

    Approximately 10,000 people had purchased tickets to the Madison County Fair by Tuesday evening, Billy Tudor, fair board president said Wednesday morning.
    The count does not include Sunday’s Family Fun Day, which offered free admission, Tudor said.

    July 31, 2014 10 Photos

  • 7-31 Pageant Toddler Girl Winners.jpg Babies, toddlers crowned at Madison County Fair


    July 31, 2014 4 Photos

  • Airport getting $600,000 in federal funds

    On July 14, Gov. Steve Beshear announced the Madison Airport and the Eastern Kentucky University aviation program would be receiving $1.1 million for expanded and improved facilities.
    On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Sixth District, announced the airport also would benefit from $600,000 in Federal Aviation Administration funds.

    July 31, 2014

  • Veggies going on the grill Saturday

    The Madison County Farmers Market will demonstrate Saturday that fresh garden vegetables can go on the grill as well as in a salad.
    The Madison County Extension Service staff, along with members of the extension homemakers clubs, will be on hand to show market customers how tasty grilled vegetables can be, said Gina Noe, extension agent for family and consumer sciences.

    July 31, 2014

AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Should Madison County’s three local governing bodies ban smoking in indoor public places?

     View Results