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WAVE Aims To Grow Economy Beyond The West Kentucky River Counties

Nicole Erwin
Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles heads a ribbon cutting to honor western Ky farmers at last year's Ag Day. This year, the group wants to grow the project outside of Kentucky's four westernmost counties during the group's second biennal conference.

Economic development and agriculture are the focus areas for a collaborative effort that aims to restore jobs in Kentucky’s four westernmost counties.

The West Kentucky Alliance for a Vibrant Economy, or WAVE’s second biennial conference is this month in Carlisle County.

The event coincides with an ‘Ag Day’ and aims to focus on economic opportunities that are shared by the river and agriculture industries. Coordinator and former state treasurer Jonathan Miller said the region can benefit from local interaction with federal and state officials.

“They’re interacting with local farmers and local business people,” Miller said. “So that kind of interaction happened in 2016 and it was very successful. Those kinds of relationships will help build the economy.”

The first WAVE event was held in 2016. Miller said the collaboration is working with officials from surrounding states in an effort to grow the project.

“We’ve already developed strong working relationships, particularly with Cairo,” Miller said. “And we’ve also been developing relationships with Mississippi County over in Missouri and Union City in that county over on the Tennessee side.”

Miller said representatives from Missouri, Illinois and Tennessee will “discuss growing the collaborative from a four county effort to a four state effort,” at the event. He said WAVE will stress the regional nature of economic development.

“Grow With The Flow: The Confluence of Agriculture and the River Economy” is on July 19-20 at the Carlisle County Cooperative Extension Center in Bardwell.

Featured speakers include Kentucky State Auditor Mike Harmon, Rear Admiral Mark H. "Buz" Busby, U.S. Attorney for Western District of Kentucky Russell M. Coleman, Murray State President Dr. Bob Davies, President and CEO for Waterways Council Inc. Mike Toohey, Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner Jai Templeton, Governor Matt Bevin's Executive Cabinet Secretary Scott Brinkman and West Kentucky and Community College President Dr. Anton Reece. 

Taylor is a recent Murray State University graduate where she studied journalism and history. When she's not reporting for WKMS, she enjoys creative writing and traveling. She loves writing stories that involve diversity, local culture and history, nature and recreation, art and music, and national or local politics. If you have a news tip or idea, shoot her an email at!
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