Quarles: Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles column for January 2016
Being the Commissioner of Agriculture for Kentucky has been a dream of mine since I was a child, and it is a great honor and privilege to serve as your next Commissioner. Having grown up on a farm, I personally know the challenges and struggles that we face as a community in the coming years. As your Commissioner, I am committed to facing these challenges head-on and running a Department of Agriculture that is efficient, transparent, and one that will make all Kentuckians proud.
My transition team and I are building an experienced and dedicated team at the Department. We recently announced the hiring of Keith Rogers, an extremely talented and respected member of the ag community who has decades of experience in helping Kentucky’s farm communities, as the new chief of staff for the Department. Keith’s time running the Governor’s Office of Agriculture Policy and his most recent stint as the executive director of the Kentucky 4-H Foundation will be instrumental in advancing the interests of agriculture in Kentucky.
In the coming weeks and months, we will introduce and implement an agenda for the Department that focuses on growing the market and consumer base for all of the products that our farmers produce. From hemp to horses, Kentucky has a proud tradition of leading the innovation and development of agricultural products in our country, and on our watch this will only grow in strength.
As the largest cattle-producing state east of the Mississippi River, Kentucky should and will have a role to play in the future of this vital industry. The Department is ready and willing to play a role in anything that will grow markets for your products. Whether it be increasing our presence in international trade or working to relocate processors to Kentucky, our office will assist wherever possible in opening doors to greater opportunities for an industry so important to Kentucky.
We look forward to working with all of you over the coming years, and please know that our door is always open to good ideas that will move our great Commonwealth forward.