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Today's Interview: Minority farmers share issues and connect to resources at annual conference

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Small-scale and minority farmers were a point of focus last week in Frankfort. The 24th annual Kentucky Small, Limited-Resource, Minority Farmers Conference was attended by more than 200 farmers and industry leaders.

An integral part of the conference is to connect underserved farmers to support.

Kirk Pomper is Dean of the College of Agriculture, Community and the Sciences and Director of Land Grant Programs at Kentucky State University. Pomper said these farmers reported struggling with inflation, but there was still some optimism.

“Folks seeing demand for their products at farmer’s markets and other areas, CSAs, restaurants. And other opportunities for marketing fruits and vegetables and animal products. I think there’s excitement,” said Pomper.

Kentucky farmers are feeling the squeeze of inflation, though. Pomper said the pandemic was hard on small-scale farmers.

“We still have folks talking about concerns of supply chain, and being able to get the things they need, you know, fertilizer costs being higher, and fuel costs being higher, but there's a lot of optimism, I think,” said Pomper.

Pomper said there are more young farmers entering Kentucky’s agriculture economy. He added that many of them who are socially disadvantaged face a lack of capital, but there are resources to help bridge those gaps.

Kentucky State University hosts ‘Third Thursday Thing’ on the third Thursday of each month. It’s an event where people can learn more about agriculture. KSU’s Third Thursday Thing is open to anyone.

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Samantha is WEKU's All Things Considered Host and also reports on news of interest in the commonwealth. Sam is a graduate of Morehead State University and worked for MSU's Public Radio Station WMKY.
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