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More than $3 million from Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund to assist grain farmers

Governor Andy Beshear

Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday that up to $3.25 million would go to help grain farmers in western Kentucky avoid crop and profit loss stemming from December’s tornado outbreak.

The funding comes from the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund, which has received donations totaling more that $52 million dollars. So far, more than $26.5 million of that funding has been given out, with $16 million going to three different charities to build 300 homes for those who lost theirs in the storm.

This funding helps establish Graves County Grain Assistance Program, which came about after Beshear was contacted by Graves County Judge-Executive Jesse Perry and local farmers, according to the press release. This came forth due to concerns about potential crop loss and the need for assistance from farmers after a local grain elevator sustained major damage in the disaster..

“This money will not only alleviate stress for local farmers due to the loss of Mayfield’s grain elevator, it also will help get grain to facilities that can process the product and keep the supply chain moving,” Beshear said in the press release. “The potential loss of these crops is a disaster for the farmers of Western Kentucky, and ultimately is yet another factor in the rising costs we are all experiencing.”

The Mayfield Grain Co. Inc. sustained significant damage during the storm and is now limited in their capacity to store grain. The company normally buys corn, soybeans, wheat and canola from about 200 local farmers, but while repairs are underway, the farmers must travel 50 miles or more to the next nearest grain elevator.

“After talking with local farmers about how the tornado had affected each of them in the county, I knew that we had to have outside assistance,” Perry said in the press release. “We are so very thankful that the Governor and the Public Protection Cabinet have worked together to provide this program to help our local farmers during this time.”

Mayfield is in Kentucky’s top county for agricultural sales, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Lily Burris is a tornado recovery reporter for WKMS, Murray State's NPR Station. Her nine month reporting project is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
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