Aug. 23, 2012 —
He said “politics and misinformation” prevent legalizing a crop which could help Kentucky farmers replace burley tobacco which once was the state’s largest cash crop. Pendleton claimed the crop could produce between 17,000 to 22,000 jobs and asked the Kentucky Farm Bureau “to stand up for Kentucky farmers, stand up for business people and put people back to work” by endorsing the idea.
Webb said hemp is “a natural for Kentucky” because of its soil and climate.
“My Grandpa grew it in Carter County back before the war,” Webb said.
Later at the ham breakfast, Beshear said the public is tired of partisanship in Washington and the gridlock which has produced little legislation — “much less a farm bill,” which is badly needed by Kentucky’s farmers facing dire drought conditions.
“I think we would all say that it is time we have a farm bill for this country,” Beshear told the 1,600 or so people gathered in the exhibition hall at the Kentucky Fairgrounds. That brought as much applause as any line by any speaker.
When McConnell followed Beshear, he agreed on the need to pass a farm bill — but not the one currently before the Congress.
“I agree with the governor that we ought to pass a farm bill,” McConnell said. “I don’t agree that we ought to pass a farm bill, 80 percent of which has nothing to do with farming.” He said he’s confident a bill will eventually pass.
He complained the current bill is loaded down with increases in food stamps and other domestic spending during a time of deficits and increasing government debt. But that didn’t seem to bother most of the farmers in the crowd — they want help now.
Some are considering selling livestock herds because they’re having to buy hay and feed to replace the forage and feed usually produced on their land but decimated this summer by drought. But the increase of livestock on the market is driving down those prices as well.