Sunday, July 29, 2001

Critics say Patton slights farmers

The Associated Press

        NEW CASTLE, Ky. — A farm advocacy group says Gov. Paul Patton is favoring business, not local folks, by hiring a Harvard consultant to write a long-term plan for Kentucky agriculture.

        At issue is how to spend tens of millions of dollars from tobacco companies to develop the farm economy. The General Assembly devised a system in which county councils would submit plans to a state Agricultural Development Board appointed by the governor.

        The consultant, Ray A. Goldberg, created Harvard's agribusiness program in 1955. Mr. Patton hired him to write a master plan for weaning Kentucky's farm economy off tobacco. The advocacy group, Community Farm Alliance, considers Mr. Goldberg's hiring, and Mr. Patton's courting of biotechnology companies, ominous.

        “The legislature clearly intended local communities to decide for themselves how best to use the agricultural development fund,” said Ed Nelson, CFA vice president.


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