Kentucky Department of Agriculture

Local News
6:00 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Richie Farmer's Path From Kentucky Wildcats Star to Politics to Prison

Richie Farmer in 2010
Rick Howlett

As the University of Kentucky Wildcats prepare for their NCAA  basketball tournament showdown with Louisville on Friday, one of the most popular players from UK’s storied past is reporting to federal prison.

Richie Farmer is scheduled to begin serving a 27-month sentence Tuesday at a facility in West Virginia

The former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner pleaded guilty last year to corruption charges related to his two terms in that office.

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Local News
12:00 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Richie Farmer to be Sentenced This Week in Corruption Case

File photo by Rick Howlett

Former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer will find out this week how much time he’ll have to spend in prison for misappropriating government resources while in office.

Farmer pleaded guilty to two corruption-related counts in September and could spend about two years behind bars.

Federal prosecutors say that, among other things, Farmer used agriculture department employees to peform personal tasks and put friends on the department payroll who did little or no work.

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Local News
5:18 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Kentucky's 'Homegrown by Heroes' Program Goes Nationwide

Credit Kentucky Department of Agriculture

Among the litany of conscious-consumer labels like “certified organic” and “fair trade,” you might already be familiar with the Kentucky-specific “Homegrown by Heroes.” That logo tells you, for example, that the jar of Eastern Kentucky sorghum was produced by farmers who served in America’s armed forces.

Monday, the national Farmer Veteran Coalition adopted this marketing strategy, logo and all, from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture so that shoppers across the country can support veterans who work the land.

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Local News
8:22 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Former Ag Department Employees Settle Ethics Cases

The state Executive Branch Ethics Commission has handed down public reprimands and fines to three former employees in the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

The panel took the action on Monday against Bruce Harper of Harrodsburg, Chris Parsons of Mount Vernon and George "Doug" Begley of London.

Harper agreed to pay a $4,500 fine for soliciting donations from businesses his agency regulated and for attempting to interfere with enforcement actions in cases involving grain storage and disposal of dead animals.

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1:17 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Ag Commissioner James Comer: Indictment of Richie Farmer Won't Affect Department

Richie Farmer
Credit File photo

The federal indictment of former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer won't become a problem for the Department of Agriculture, Farmer's successor said on Monday.

James Comer, who took over the office in 2011, and his office say they have helped with the multiple investigations of Farmer's tenure as agriculture commissioner—including those conducted by the state auditor, attorney general or others.

Since 2011, Comer says,  he's worked to restore public confidence in the department post-Farmer.

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3:40 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer Closes Fuel Testing Lab Started by Richie Farmer

James Comer
Credit File photo

An expensive fuel lab run by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture is being shut down to save the state money. 

The lab was meant to test the quality of fuel from pumps across the state. It was the brainchild of former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer, who promised other states would eventually sign contracts with the lab and generate significant revenue.

Those contracts never materialized—and so far and the lab has been a money guzzler.

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4:32 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Study Says Demand for Local Food Outpaces Supply in Louisville

Vassil Wikimedia Commons

A new survey suggests demand for local food in Louisville exceeds the current supply.

The preliminary results of a study commissioned by local nonprofit and food advocate Seed Capital Kentucky show that Jefferson County residents are already knowingly buying local food—and would buy even more if given the chance.

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10:30 am
Mon September 3, 2012

Drought Conditions Could Affect Honeybee Colonies

ForestWander Wikimedia Commons

The drought that’s been plaguing areas of Kentucky and Indiana for much of the summer could end up having an effect on honeybee colonies, too.

Sean Burgess is Kentucky’s state apiarist. He says this time of year is critical for bee colonies, because it’s when they harvest nectar to make the honey that nourishes them through the winter.

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Local News
3:46 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

Forage Sales Directory Available For Drought-Stricken Farmers

Photo courtesy of Kentucky Forage and Grassland Council

Drought-stricken Kentucky farmers in need of hay or other forages for their livestock can seek help through a state Department of Agriculture website.

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says a forage sales directory is up and running that can match up farmers with forages for sale with those whose pastures and fields have been dried up by the drought.    A similar program is also available for farmers in Indiana.

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