$5.9 million in tobacco settlement funds go to Kentucky farms


FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Gov. Andy Beshear and Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman announced the Kentucky Soil and Water Conservation Commission has selected 592 Kentucky farm projects in 86 counties to receive a total of $5,920,643 in tobacco settlement funds.

The money will be used to promote practices that protect water quality and prevent soil erosion. Projects include watering facilities to offer alternative water sources for livestock, grassed waterways, fencing to facilitate rotational grazing, and cover crops.

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“We need to be doing all that we can to support our local farmers who have always been there to support us and our economy,” said Beshear. “These projects help their efforts to improve soil and water quality and will help keep farms productive.”

The Commission has obligated more than $170 million in state cost share funding in the past 27 years. Funds are distributed with the assistance of the 121 Soil and Water Conservation Districts across Kentucky.

Soil and Water Conservation Commission chair Danny Shipley, a farmer in Allen County, said the program is essential for Kentucky farmers.

“I have seen many of our farmers make great use of cost share money to improve their farms while conserving soils and improving water quality. Without the help to learn best management practices and a boost to jump-start the implementation of these practices, many would be unable to improve their farm conservation measures,” Shipley said.

Todd Clark, an Agriculture Water Quality Authority member and a Fayette County farmer who has benefited from the program, agreed. “Winter feeding is one of the toughest times of the year to manage on a Kentucky beef cattle farm. State cost share was a huge help both financially and in planning a winter-feeding area for us.”

The Soil and Water Conservation Commission is administered by the Division of Conservation, within the Kentucky Department for Natural Resources.

“We are pleased to be a part of this program, to partner with our local farmers and conservation districts and to support efforts to improve water and soil quality across the commonwealth,” said Goodman.