FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 2, 2012) – The Kentucky Agricultural Development Board, chaired by Governor Steve Beshear, approved the Kentucky Vineyard Society for $515,000 in state Agricultural Development Funds to maintain the Viticulture Extension and Research Program through fiscal year 2014, which includes an extension viticulture specialist, enologist and technicians.
“Kentucky’s wine industry has grown extensively over the last decade with the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund playing a key role in that initial resurgence,” said Beshear. “This funding shows Kentucky’s commitment to this still growing industry in providing much needed technical assistance to both vineyard growers and wine makers.”
This project will help provide growers and wine makers with a variety of technical assistance services, including but not limited to site visits, consultations, education and applied research projects. A portion of the project is directed toward new and novice producers who need education in production and marketing. Additionally, new technologies that are part of this project may be used by producers to help increase net farm income.
“Grape and wine enterprises can be an excellent opportunity for family farms and rural communities in Kentucky, as they have become in several other states,” said Dean M. Scott Smith, of the UK College of Agriculture. “Not only are we seeing very rapid expansion, but great strides are being made in both quality and marketing. UK Ag is growing the research and extension programs needed to sustain this success, and this funding is an essential part of those efforts.”
One objective of the project includes instituting a voluntary wine assurance control program to set standards for well-made wines that will ultimately expand the industry through increased public confidence in the quality of Kentucky wines. Another objective looks to the establishment of a statewide system or service to connect growers with available wine grapes to wineries to decrease the need for out-of-state sourcing.
“Kentucky has a proud history in viticulture,” said Sen. Joe Bowen, of Owensboro. “The Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund will help enhance and expand our grape markets.”
“The growth of our wine industry demonstrates just how important the ag development dollars have been to our state,” said Rep. Rick Rand, of Bedford. “I am committed to making sure that we continue to invest these dollars wisely in helping to further diversify agriculture in Kentucky.”
For more information about this project, contact Alicia McGuire at 859-797-1798 or [email protected].