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Republican Commissioner of Agriculture candidate: James Comer

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1. Why are you seeking this office?

I am seeking the office of Ag Commissioner because I have both a love of agriculture and a vision of agriculture that will help lead the agriculture industry in KY to the next level. I want to help farmers expand markets and add value to existing ones, and I want to help young farm families survive and prosper.


2. What experiences and qualifications have prepared you to serve as Commissioner of Agriculture?

I am the only candidate who is a full-time farmer who earns a majority  of his annual income from farming. I am also a 6-term KY State Representative who has worked closely with all of the major ag organizations over the past 11 years.  I am already a leader in the ag community, that is why I have a majority of support among the farmers and ag-business people in KY for this office.

 

3. How important is the Kentucky Proud Program? What changes, if any, would you make to this program?

KY Proud is very important. I will continue to make it a priority. I do want to make sure that all of the products on the KY Proud label are truely made in KY.  I also want to expand the program into the Horse industry.

 

4. What steps would you take to assist livestock farmers within the State?

Since I am a career beef cattle farmer, this question is easy.  I will make sure that disease prevention is the number one priority of the KDA.  The KDA is over the state veterinarian and should work closely with  the state's two diagnostic labs.  I will be in constant communication with our livestock trade organizations and our vets to ensure we remain a livestock state.  I will also work to add value to our current livestock industry.

 

5. The horse industry has been Kentucky's signature industry for decades, but it has had some struggles in recent years. Should state government promote growth within this segment of the agricultural economy? If so, what steps can the state take to do so? If, not, why not?

Yes! I will work to see that KY remains the "horse capital of the world" and that we reverse the trend of declining breeding mare numbers. I will push a tax credit for all horse feed, fertilizer, supplies and breeding expenses just like our beef cattle farmers currently enjoy. I will work with our race tracks to see that our purses remain competitive with other states.

 

6. How will the Department of agriculture encourage agriculture education, if you are elected?

I will work hard to make our young people more agriculture literate. I will do this by traveling the state and speaking to youth groups (as well as adults) telling them how great a job our farmers do in producing the safest and best food in the world.  I will explain also where our food comes from, since our youth are now at least three generations removed from the farm.

 

7. In light of the ongoing financial issues facing the state, how will you manage the department's budget?

I will manage the KDA budget just like I manage my 2,000 acre farming  operation budget.  I will look at every expense from day one and work daily to make our tax dollars go further.  I will also make the KDA budget 100% transparent.  This will allow every taxpayer to see online where every penny of the $29,000,000 budget is being spent.

 

8. What other issues would you like voters to consider?

Since all 7 candidates for ag commissioner have been in the race over  6 months, I invite everyone to view the KY Registry Election Finance's website www.kref.gov to view the fundraising reports of each candidate. I have raised the most money of any candidate, but most importantly my money has come exclusively from farmers from 72 counties across KY.  My opponents money has come from mainly government employees.  In other words, I have the support from our farmers and ag processors across KY who want an active, informed and accessible Commissioner of Agriculture.

 

9. What else would you like voters to know about you?

I have an ag degree from WKU.  I was KY FFA State President from 1990-91.  I have been a lifelong leader in agriculture.  I am a full-time  farmer.  My website is www.jamescomer.com.