Welcome to the AgriBusiness Association of Kentucky!
The Agribusiness Association of Kentucky (ABAK) is an organization established to provide a strong voice in support of Kentucky agriculture. Its members are in the business of supplying inputs for agriculture production throughout the state. ABAK members are primarily engaged in the sale and manufacture of fertilizer, agricultural chemicals, seeds, feed and equipment, as well as the provision of related services, required to sustain and grow Kentucky's agricultural economy.
ABAK Participates in State Pollinator Protection Meetings
ABAK's Executive Director Tod Griffin recently attended a meeting in Elizabethtown hosted by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to begin to bring stakeholder groups together to formulate Kentucky's pollinator protection plan. The EPA has mandated states create these plans over the next year as part of President Obama's "National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators."
This Strategy outlines three overarching goals for action by Federal departments and agencies in collaboration with public and private partners:
- Reduce honey bee colony losses during winter (overwintering mortality) to no more than 15% within 10 years.
- Increase the Eastern population of the monarch butterfly to 225 million butterflies occupying
an area of approximately 15 acres (6 hectares) in the overwintering grounds in Mexico, through
domestic/international actions and public-private partnerships, by 2020.
- Restore or enhance 7 million acres of land for pollinators over the next 5 years through Federal actions and public-private partnerships.
Much of the discussion at the meeting revolved around the creation of a "pesticide user BMP" to protect pollinators and the creation of a notification system to let beekeepers know when pesticides are being sprayed in the areas around their apiaries. Griffin voiced concern about the challenges of adding another notification requirement on the dealer and several producer representatives voiced concern that farmers would not regularly use such a system.
The other challenge facing Kentucky is that the state does not have a bee hive registration requirement like some other states, so there is not good data on where hives are being placed. The department of agriculture is also seeing a growing trend towards "migratory" beekeepers who are using Kentucky lands as temporary apiaries many times without the landowners knowledge or permission.
"Communication and education must be a key part of this state plan," said Griffin. "Simply raising awareness that pollinator health is a concern will go a long way towards protection. That's true for all land users whether it's agriculture, coal mining, golf courses, state right-of-ways, or urban use areas."
ABAK will continue to participate in future meetings as the Kentucky Pollinator Protection Plan is developed.
Click HERE to view the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators.
Department of Labor Publishes Proposed Rule on Overtime Regulations
On June 30th, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Wage and Hour Division, published proposed revisions to the overtime pay provisions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Proposed Rule, "Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees" would update the regulations governing which executive, administrative, and professional employees (commonly referred to as the "white collar" exemption) are entitled to overtime pay under the FLSA.
The DOL's Proposed Rule could result in certain employees who are currently exempt under the FLSA being reclassified as non-exempt and therefore entitled to overtime pay at a rate of not less than one and one-half times the employee's regular rate for hours worked over 40 in a work week. The Department is also seeking comments on whether to allow nondiscretionary bonuses to satisfy a portion of the standard salary requirement, which would provide some flexibility for businesses.
While the proposed rule does not make changes to the duties test, DOL is seeking comments as to whether or not changes to the way managers spend their time are necessary. Business advocacy groups anticipate that labor groups and others will offer extensive comments advocating a change in the duties test, so there is a real possibility that the final rule will not only double the salary threshold but also alter the duties test. A quantification of the duties test would restrict managers' abilities to multitask and trigger burdensome record keeping requirements.
Key Provisions of the Proposed Rule
The Proposed Rule focuses primarily on updating the salary and compensation levels needed for white collar workers to be exempt. Specifically, the Department proposes to:
- Set the standard salary level at the 40th percentile of weekly earnings for full-time salaried workers ($970 per week, or $50,440 annually in 2016);
- Increase the total annual compensation requirement needed to exempt highly compensated employees (HCEs) to the annualized value of the 90th percentile of weekly earnings of full-time salaried workers ($122,148 annually); and
- Establish a mechanism for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels going forward (using fixed percentile of wages or the CPI-U).
DOL has provided a 60 day comment period following official publication in the Federal Register. Public comments are due to DOL on September 4, 2015.
For more information on the proposed rule:
- Provide Comments to DOL on Regulations.gov
- Link to the PDF of the Proposed Rule on DOL's Website.
- Link to the Fact Sheet on DOL's Website.
- Link to the FAQ on DOL's Website.
ABAK Sponsors FFA Convention
Kayla Ferrell of McCracken County receives the Agriculture Sales award.
ABAK continues to be a "1-Star" Sponsor of FFA by sponsoring both the Agriculture Sales and Agriculture Services awards.
|Blake Quiggins of Hart County receives the Agriculture Services award.
2015 Scholarship Winners Announced
Congratulations to those individuals awarded a 2015 ABAK Scholarship! Thanks to the support of the ABAK Scholarship Fund and the Buena S. Bond Scholarship Fund, two upperclassmen and two freshmen were awarded scholarships. These four individuals will receive $1,000 to go towards their college education.
This year's scholarship recipients are:
- Cole Hamilton, of Owensboro, is the son of Jeff and Kellie Hamilton. Cole is a student at Owensboro Community & Technical College and is majoring in Production Agriculture.
- Alexander Mann, of Auburn, is the son of Randy and Anne Mann. Alex is an incoming freshman at Western Kentucky University and is planning to major in Agronomy.
- Taylor Saunders, of Mayslick, is the son of Tom and Seminda Saunders. Taylor is an incoming freshman at Morehead State University and is planning to major in Agribusiness.
- Coleman Stivers, of Lexington, is the son of Jeff and Melanie Stivers. Coleman is a student at the University of Kentucky and is majoring in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering.
Please join us in congratulating all of these scholarship recipients!
Environmental Boot Camp Offered in August
The Kentucky Division of Compliance Assistance will be offering training events later this month related to environmental regulations. This will be a one-day environmental boot camp for the agricultural community. A total of 5 credits have been approved for this meeting (2 Nutrient Management credits and 3 Soil & Water credits). Presenters include individuals from the Department for Environmental Protection and the University of Kentucky's Biosystems & Agriculture Engineering program. Topics included will be air, water, and waste regulations, resources for compliance, etc.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 - Bowling Green
Warren County Cooperative Extension Office
3132 Nashville Road
Bowling Green, KY 42101
9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. CDT
Thursday, August 27, 2015 - Princeton
U.K. Research and Education Center
1205 Hopkinsville Street
Princeton, KY 42445
9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. CDT
Click HERE to view the agenda.
ResponsibleAg Registration Now Open: Participation Exceeds 2,000
ResponsibleAg is an industry-led stewardship initiative designed to help fertilizer storage and handling facilities achieve and maintain federal regulatory compliance. This program is voluntary and the focus of the program for the first three years will be on companies that store and handle ammonium nitrate fertilizer and/or anhydrous ammonia fertilizer. For more information about the ResponsibleAg program and to enroll in the program, please visit the website by clicking HERE. Registration is open to anyone in the fertilizer industry.
Click HERE for ResponsibleAg F.A.Q. Click HERE to view an informational brochure about ResponsibleAg.
Crop Protection Helps Growers Produce Nutritious Food According to USDA Report
A recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirms that over 99 percent of fresh and processed food available to consumers tested below allowable pesticide residue levels, allowing for continued access to affordable and nutritious food across the country. Released on December 19, 2014 by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), the 23rd Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Report shows that only .23 percent of the products sampled through the PDP had residues above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established tolerances. PDP researchers collected and tested 9,900 samples of bananas, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, mushrooms, peaches, plums, summer and winter squash, and other produce. Click HERE to view the article released by the USDA.
Feed Industry Backs Trade Promotion Authority Vote
The AFIA applauded the passage of the TPA bill in Congress and thanked President Obama for signing it into law. The American Feed Industry Association, as part of Trade Benefits America (TBA), strongly urges its members to reach out to their senators and representatives to show support of TPA as its passage would open doors to future international market opportunities.
TPA--one of AFIA's priority issues for 2015--will allow the feed industry to sell more high quality American-manufactured feed, feed ingredients and pet food to foreign markets. International trade offers the greatest potential for the U.S. animal food industry's growth, both through direct feed and ingredient exports and the increased overseas sale of livestock, poultry and dairy products. Last year alone, the U.S. exported more than $10 billion of feed, feed ingredients and pet food, including soybean meal, corn co-products and other feed additives.
Without the passage of TPA, U.S. negotiators would have continued to have had limited ability and leverage when negotiating free trade agreements. The U.S. is actively negotiating two important free trade agreements: The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (T-TIP). To facilitate finalization of both agreements. While Congress would review and approve or disapprove those trade agreements, it would do so only with an up-or-down vote. TPA was last enacted in 2002 and expired in 2007.
ABAK is a member of the American Feed Industry Association.
FDA Clarifies Trans-Fat Decision Applies only to Human Food
Adopted from American Feed Industry Association
In June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published the final determination that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) are not generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use in human food. In the final determination, FDA clarified the declaration only applies to human food and not animal feed.
In late 2013, FDA published its proposed determination that PHOs are no longer GRAS and said it would apply to "food" generally. The American Feed Industry Association submitted comments noting to FDA that while nothing in the determination seemed to indicate it would or should cover animal food, clarification was needed to prevent confusion. Clarification was warranted because the statutory definition of a "food additive" in section 201(s) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act ("FDC Act"), 21 U.S.C. § 321(s), and the food additive provisions in section 409 of the FDC Act, 21 U.S.C. § 348, apply with equal force to food for human consumption and to food for consumption by animals other than man.
Vegetable oils and PHOs have a long history of safe use as an animal food ingredient for a wide variety of species. Vegetable fats and oils, some of which may be PHOs, have been a defined ingredient by the Association of American Feed Control Officials since 1989 but its use in the industry goes back prior to that date.
The clarification by FDA will ensure these vegetable oils will remain as an available ingredient in the diets and rations of livestock, poultry, aquaculture and companion animals.
New CDL Requirements: Birth Certificate or Passport Required
After July 8, 2015, any new CDL application, renewal, upgrade or transfer will require the driver to show proof of legal presence and domicile. This is a one-time requirement. However you will need to show either a current and original U.S. Passport or a U.S. Birth Certificate. The documents must be the official, original documents with a raised seal (not a photocopy).
Thanks to our 2015 Premier Sponsors!
Security Seed and Chemical
Kentucky Fertilizer Co.
Phil Brown Insurance Agency
Ground Breaker Level:
Mid States Ag Sales
Southern States Coop.