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Legislature Modernizes Kentucky Grain Laws
Kentucky Ag Connection - 03/14/2019

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles applauded the Kentucky General Assembly for passing Senate Bill 153, an act that comprehensively updates the laws governing the Commonwealth's grain industry and clears the way for the elimination of 11 administrative regulations.

"Senate Bill 153 is the result of a year-long conversation at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture about the shortcomings of Kentucky's grain laws, which hadn't been updated since the 1990s," Commissioner Quarles said. "A lot has changed since then, and the needs of Kentucky agriculture have changed. I wish to thank the General Assembly and the bill sponsor, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Paul Hornback, for sending this bipartisan legislation to the Governor."

The Kentucky Grain Insurance Fund is a farmer-funded insurance program that compensates farmers in the case of a grain elevator failure. The 1984 law provided for an assessment to be levied on farmers should the fund dip below $3 million and required that farmers pay into the fund in order to be eligible for payment. Due to the management of the fund and the lack of major grain elevator failures, 1995 was the last time an assessment was levied, meaning no farmer had paid into the fund since that year. Therefore, farmers who entered farming since 1995 were ineligible for compensation.

Senate Bill 153 extends grain coverage to all producers and establishes an annualized process by which grain producers can opt out of coverage. The bill was developed in consultation with Kentucky Farm Bureau, the Kentucky Soybean Association, the Kentucky Corn Growers Association, the Kentucky Small Grain Growers Association, the Agribusiness Association of Kentucky, and with legislative leaders House Agriculture Committee Chairman Richard Heath of Mayfield and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Paul Hornback of Shelbyville, the bill sponsor.

"I'm proud of the way the agriculture community came together to support Senate Bill 153," Senator Hornback said. "I would like to thank Commissioner Quarles and KDA staff for working with me and Chairman Heath to get this bill across the finish line."

Senate Bill 153 passed the Kentucky House 92-1 on March 7 and the Kentucky Senate 37-0 on March 12. It now goes to Governor Matt Bevin for his signature.

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