Ag leaders discuss mill for Edgewood
Local agriculture leaders addressed the Woodford County Economic Development Authority (EDA) Friday, May 27, with a proposal one said could be the biggest thing in 50 to 100 years. Chairman John Soper said his predecessor, Michael Duckworth, and present EDA member Courtney Roberts recently approached him with an idea: a grain milling facility on the 20 acres donated to the EDA by the owners of Edgewood Farm. A development plan for Edgewood Farm is under consideration by the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning Commission. The ultimate goal, Soper said, is for the mill to produce some of the grain or flour used by More Than A Bakery, which will begin making crackers and other snack products next year. "When this idea was presented to me, I immediately called (bakery owner) Mr. Quigg . and had a good conversation with him, and they would be very interested. They would love the idea of local sourcing, both from a standpoint of saving costs from both sides of the equation ." Soper said. Probst, the Woodford County Agricultural Extension agent, began with a grim view of how Woodford County ag cash receipts have fallen. "Of course, equine makes up about 50 or 60 percent of that, but the other 40 percent is generally crop sales. Of course, everybody is familiar with tobacco being the big one, and we've seen about a 50 percent decline in tobacco income into the county, and historically Woodford County's been one of the top counties," Probst said. "So guys like Curtis (Congleton) and others have looked in other areas - grain's been one of them in the last few years ." Probst said Brown-Forman and a couple of other alcohol producers in the area announced a few years ago that they wanted to buy more locally sourced corn. Then, when the bakery was announced, Probst and other interested parties began discussing how to meet that need. "I think there are some producers that are interested even if we can't get an . outside firm to come in and set up a mill, doing some sort of cooperative-type mill, like a local coop-type deal," Probst said. Probst said such an effort had been successful in Hopkinsville. "Just kind of running the rough numbers that Mr. Quigg sent yesterday in an email, this has the potential to impact another 7,000 to 10,000 acres . in a regional area for wheat production. So there could be a high impact just from that standpoint alone," Probst said. Probst said that, currently, the closest selling points for most local corn, wheat and soybean farmers are Louisville and Winchester. "This is probably the biggest thing that's happened, or could happen, to Woodford County agriculture in the last 50 to 100 years," Probst said.