Commissioner Quarles Presents Struttin' Rooster Farm Grant at North Butler
Coming near the end of National Agriculture Week, A special presentation was given by Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles on Friday March 15 at North Butler Elementary. Quarles announced that Struttin’ Rooster Farm in Butler county was one of only 10 Farms selected statewide to receive the Producer Engagement Grant in the amount of $7,000. This grant is to facilitate local farmers growing foods for consumption by the school system. This grant assists hand-in-hand with the Kentucky Farm to School Program
According to the Kentucky Farm to School Network, “Kentucky’s Farm to School program stimulates interest in local agriculture, creates a nontraditional market for Kentucky’s producers, increases quality of products available to school cafeterias, and ultimately increases Kentucky student fruit and vegetable consumption.”
Quarles highlighted the importance of agricultural education, locally grown foods, and the mutually beneficial relationship between local farmers and local schools. “The biggest buyer of food in every county in Kentucky are the school systems.” Said Quarles “When we can find ways to connect our local farmers with local schools, it’s a win-win for agriculture”.
Quarles also spoke briefly about the Kentucky Junior Chef Program, wherein high school students are eligible to attain full-ride scholarships to college for devising their own “Kentucky Proud” recipes. The Dept of Agriculture has awarded over $500,000 in scholarship funds so far through the junior chef program.
Although traditionally the grant is more for the producing farms themselves, Ryan and Angela Emmick of Struttin’ Rooster Farm intend to not only help with their own farm, but to disperse the funds from this grant into the school system in many ways. These funds will be used to purchase a mulch layer and other necessary farming equipment for use at both North Butler Elementary and Morgantown Elementary for garden clubs. Additionally, Emmick plans to fund a greenhouse and garden area for the Butler County Learning Center.
According to Emmick, he is very excited to be working with the school gardening clubs and teaching the students the processes, mathematics, and science behind agriculture as well as teaching them very valuable skills.
“The biggest thing is that this will give us the opportunity to expand. We are having a great time with it. It’s helping our farm and the schools. This is getting the kids excited about agriculture in our community and we are really happy that the state saw the need in Butler County to help us enrich our students with knowledge and skills in agriculture.” Said Emmick.
Present at the celebration were members of the Butler County UK Cooperative Extension Service, School Superintendent Scott Howard, Members of Farm Bureau, NBES garden Club members, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, Tina Garland KDA Food Distribution, Dana Feldman KDA Office for Consumer & Environmental Protection, County government officials, and others.