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Friday, July 8, 2016

Secretary of the KY Energy and Environment Cabinet Takes Grain Tour

Secretary Snavely climbs under Philip McCoun's planter to understand the precision of how crops are planted. 
Photos courtesy of Kentucky Soybean board. 
Secretary Snarly and his wife Shari climbing off a sprayer on Philip McCoun's Farm.
Photos courtesy of Kentucky Soybean board. 
   
This week, the KY Corn Growers Association and the Kentucky Soybean Board hosted Secretary Charles Snavely, Secretary of the KY Energy and Environment Cabinet, and his wife Shari Snavely on a Grain Tour. 
 
Secretary Snavely is a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with a B.S. in Mining Engineering and recently completed the Executive MBA Program through a joint program of the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville.  Secretary Snavely was appointed by Gov. Matt Bevin as Secretary of the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet in December 2015.
 
The tour began Wednesday, July 6, and concluded Thursday, July 7, and had a total of five stops. The first stop took place at Philip McCoun's Farm, KyCorn Promotion Council Chairman, in Shelbyville. Secretary Snavely had the opportunity to tour Philip's grain and livestock operation and was able to get an up-close look at a planter.
 
Right away Secretary Snavely and his wife, Shari, were fascinated with the dedication and commitment farmers have to their land and lifestyle. "The depth of knowledge and passion Kentucky's farmers have is obvious.  Kentucky could, and should, be a national model for taking care of the environment," said Shari Snavely.
 
Up next on the tour was Ryan and Misty Biven's Fresh Start Farms in Hodgenville.  Ryan serves as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Kentucky Soybean Board. A group of corn and soybean farm leaders joined the Secretary at Biven's farm to discuss environmental and energy issues.  Before dinner, Secretary got to climb aboard one of Ryan's tractors and see first-hand the technology in today's farm equipment.

"I am pleased to see Kentucky as a leader in agriculture water quality, and am continuously amazed by the technology that goes into farming," said Secretary Snavely. 
 
The following morning, the group traveled to Maceo  for a tour of Gavilon Grain and continued the day with a tour of Joseph Sisk's farm, KyCorn board member, in Hopkinsville.
 
Sisk discussed what they are currently doing on his farm in terms of irrigation and variable rate technology. He also handed out print outs of the measurement tools they are using that showed the level of detail available for making wise resource decisions.
 
"The technology we are using helps us manage our water and energy resource," said Sisk. "The scientific measurement of irrigation is going to become more important in agriculture. We are always striving to be as efficient as possible with our resources, and it is important to let the public know that."
 
The tour ended with a stop at Commonwealth Agri- Energy for a conversation with Mick Henderson, plant managerand Wayne Hunt, owner of H& R Agri-power and a CAE board member, about ethanol production and different products made at the plant. Secretary Snavely and his wife were able to see ethanol and the other products including corn oil and animal feed. 

Joseph Sisk explained that having Hopkinsville Elevator and the ethanol plant as well as Siemer Milling and the canola crushing plant close together was a real benefit to local farmers and the community. "Is it very important to me that the four things I raise on my farm are vertically integrated within an hour of my house. That's huge," said Sisk.
 
"I am really proud that the Secretary of the KY Energy and Environment Cabinet would be willing to come out and see what Agriculture is about and see how he plays such a vital role in policies that effect farmers," said Philip. "It is important that we keep a good working relationship with him and his cabinet."

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