Kentucky Department of Agriculture

Kentucky made back most of the money spent on equipment for the Department of Agriculture's now-defunct fuel lab in an auction today.

Division of Surplus Property Director Danny Ford says total bids exceeded $1.8 million this afternoon. The state originally paid about $2 million for the equipment. Bids came in low Monday but increased as the auction’s close neared.

AP

Former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer has reached a plea deal with prosecutors in a government corruption case that would put him in prison for two years.

Farmer's political career came crashing down during a 2011 bid for lieutenant governor, when complaints began to surface about his management of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

kyagr.com

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says the indictment of his predecessor Richie Farmer won't be an issue for the state Agriculture Department.

After taking office, Comer and his staff have helped with the many investigations of Farmer's tenure as commissioner. And Comer says he's made it his goal to restore public confidence in the department.

agpolicy.ky.gov

A federal grand jury has indicted former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer on four felony counts of misappropriating state funds and one of solicitation.  The indictment, unsealed today in Lexington, charges Farmer with using his state position to obtain thousands of dollars' worth of gifts, hotel rooms, clothing and computers. It also charges him with hiring friends who did little or no work for the state.  The indictment says that throughout his tenure as agriculture commissioner from 2004 to 2012, Farmer wrongfully used public funds and state resources to obtain goods and services for himself and his family.

KY Department of Agriculture

Kentucky's agriculture leaders are supporting a new five year strategic plan to help the industry in the state.

The plan, put together by the Kentucky Agriculture Council, puts emphasis on agriculture education, creating new markets and recruiting new people to farming.

wikipedia.org

For several years military veteran Mike Lewis has been a farmer in Kentucky. But his experience with his younger brother, a fellow veteran, has turned him into an advocate for both. Lewis’s brother returned to civilian life after he was injured in Afghanistan and went to work on Mike’s farm. Lewis says his brother seemed to benefit from the work he was doing.

wikipedia.org

For several years military veteran Mike Lewis has been a farmer in Kentucky. But his experience with his younger brother, a fellow veteran, has turned him into an advocate for both. Lewis’s brother returned to civilian life after he was injured in Afghanistan and went to work on Mike’s farm. Lewis says his brother seemed to benefit from the work he was doing.

Ed Reinke / AP

An ongoing investigation into alleged improprieties at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture isn’t on the agenda of the Personnel Board’s last meeting for the year. Board members voted earlier this year to open an inquiry into personnel issues at the Department of Agriculture under former Commissioner Richie Farmer. Board Executive Director Mark Sipek says it could be months before the investigation is completed. A state audit accused Farmer of using state employees for personal business like hunting and shopping trips, yard work, and chauffeuring his dog.

Drought Impact on Kentucky Agritourism Still Unknown

Oct 9, 2012
kyagr.com

It could be next year before Kentucky agriculture officials will know how much drought affected state agritourism. Visits and tours of working farms peak in August, September and October, but drought has caused some farmers to scale back their events, like corn mazes and apple picking. State Agritourism Director Ben Shaffar says some Kentucky farmers realize as much as a 200 percent revenue boost from agritourism activities. But until the season ends, Shaffar can’t say what the numbers will look like this year.  

Edelen to Release Agriculture Department Audit

Apr 30, 2012
wikipedia.org

State Auditor Adam Edelen is expected to release findings today from a financial review of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. The review looks at agency operations under the administration of Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer. Newly elected Commissioner James Comer asked for the special audit after he took office in January, saying it's needed to restore public trust to the agency. The Department was thrust into the center of state politics last year when Farmer, who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor, was accused of misspending public funds.

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