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Agriculture Commissioner Wants More Local Beef in Stores, and Help for Farmers in Tax Overhaul

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Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles says Kentucky farmers continue to gain more access to major grocery chains. 

Quarles says the Kentucky Proud program is expanding to help the state’s beef producers. 

A plan is underway to process beef cattle in Wolfe County, and distribute the ground beef to more than 80 Kroger stores in Kentucky.

“With cattle, it’s easy to sell the steaks,” Quarles say during a visit to Bowling Green Friday. “It’s easy to sell the rib-eyes. But we’re focusing on ground beef, because if you can’t move the ground beef, you’re losing the profit of that carcass. So we hope this serves as getting our foot in the door, and prove to Kentucky that our cattle don’t have to be shipped to the Midwest to be processed.”)

Quarles says Kentucky is the number one beef cattle state east of the Mississippi River, and his goal is to get more local beef into Kentucky grocery stores. 

He says consumers should start seeing ground beef with a Kentucky Proud label being sold in local stores by the end of this year or early 2018.

Possible Impacts of Tax Reform on Kentucky Agriculture

Quarles also says he’s hoping pension reforms can be made soon so that the General Assembly can turn its attention to revising the state’s tax structure. 

His priorities include maintaining the sales tax exemption on farm supplies such as fertilizers and chemicals, and extending the exemption to some industries that aren’t currently covered, including tobacco and poultry. 

Quarles says he also wants the sales tax removed from veterinary supplies.

“And that’s a pro-agriculture move, ‘cus not only does it help our cattle farmers out, and our poultry producers, but also our friends in the horse industry as well.”

Quarles says the current tax structure can result in farmers purchasing supplies and equipment in surrounding states that don’t have a sales tax on those items.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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