USDA Administrator of Business and Cooperative Programs Judy Canales got a taste of true southern hospitality when she visited Kentucky recently. Canales was able to experience the products of local artisans and agriculture producers that were on display in new Bath County Agricultural Education and Marketing Center in Owingsville.
After talking with local producers and agriculture officials, Canales said she was impressed with the facility and the people who worked so hard to make it a reality. She spoke to a crowd which included representatives from congressional offices, the Governor’s Office of Agriculture Policy, as well as local officials and Bath County Extension Foundation board members.
“Congratulations on this locally driven project, and I want to commend the local producers and artisans who have so graciously shared their wares with us today,” said Canales. “Rural Development is about investing in rural communities and the Rural Business Service is about working with the private sector. I have great hope for what this Center can mean to the rural residents in this area and beyond.”
Canales visit highlighted recent business investments that are having meaningful, economic impact in rural communities across the state. The Bath County Agriculture Education and Marketing Center was the recipient of a $400,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant. Construction of the Center is nearly complete, and it was designed to be a model for Kentucky agriculture and a vital tool for the industry’s changing economic environment.
Specifically, it will give farmers and producers from Bath and surrounding counties the opportunity to manufacture and market their locally grown and locally produced value-added and “Kentucky Proud” branded products, including but not limited to, fresh produce, artisan crafts and specialty food products. The Center will be open year-round and allow residents to sell products in four different retail categories, including Kentucky products, regional crafts, “green” groceries and bakery/deli.
Several producers expressed their gratitude for Rural Development’s assistance in making the center a reality. The project was made possible through funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager announced Rural Business Enterprise grants for 45 states and two territories today. To hear the announcement go to: mms://ocbmtcwmp.usda.gov/content/secy/secy083110u.wma