By Shelley Smith
Glasgow Daily Times
James Comer, Kentucky commissioner of agriculture, and several county officials celebrated the first Barren County Ag Festival at Barren County High School on Saturday.
More than 140 vendors educated community members about local agribusiness and paid homage to Barren County’s strong agricultural background.
The event was made possible by sponsorship from Alltech, the Alliance Corporation, CPC Livestock Nutrition, Kentucky Farm Bureau, South Central Bank, Tarter Farm and Ranch Equipment, Southern States and several others.
The ceremony opened with Bill Kindred, president of the Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce welcoming guests to Ag Festival.
Gary Tilghman, University of Kentucky county extension agriculture agent, said as generations are becoming more removed from the family farm, events such as the Barren County Ag Festival serve an important role in educating the public about the sources of their food.
Comer said the Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce has the same goal as the Kentucky Department of Agriculture of promoting local agribusiness.
“I appreciate a chamber (of commerce) that recognizes agriculture the same way I do – as economic development,” Comer said.
He said it was fitting that the Ag Festival would be held in Barren County because it is a top-five county in the state of Kentucky for beef, dairy and tobacco production. He also credited Barren County for having one of the top agriculture education programs in the state.
“There’s a very diverse agricultural economy in Barren County,” Comer said.
He said there should be the same amount of respect for farmers as there is for veterans, citing that they are both heroes and allow Americans to have a better quality of life.
There are few things more important than having a safe and reliable food supply, he said.
“We want people to know where food comes from and to appreciate the American farmer,” Comer said.
He asked guests to take note of the Kentucky Proud stickers on produce and foods that signifying that the product is grown or manufactured in Kentucky. He asked consumers to be mindful of this and continue to support local farmers.
Shortly after Comer’s speech, the ribbon cutting was conducted to illustrate that the Barren County Ag Festival was officially open. Guests were invited to tour the vendors’ booths to learn more about agriculture.
The chamber of commerce and other community leaders agreed that they hope to make this an annual event.
“We hope to grow and continue this event for many years to come,” Tilghman said.