• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

New livestock pavilion ready for Woodford Fair

Members of the Woodford County Fair Board and farming community were joined by local and statewide elected officials, including Kentucky's commissioner of agriculture, for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of a new livestock pavilion at the fairgrounds on Monday, June 13.

"It's the county fairs that really bring Kentucky back to its roots," said Commissioner Ryan Quarles. "For a lot of young people attending the county fair may be the only time they get exposed to agriculture."

Quarles, joined by members of the Woodford County Fair Board's building committee and others attending Monday's ceremony, presented a commemorative $100,000 check from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, which supported the construction of the Woodford County Livestock Pavilion.

"Our goal is that this will be used to its full potential by having agriculture-related projects, activities and programs held here," said Mary Lou Watkins, president of the Woodford County Fair Association.

"In addition to the county fair and the county agricultural activities, we hope to eventually attract statewide events such as youth, district and regional livestock shows, animal breed association shows, farm equipment auctions and various other agriculture programs."

The Woodford County Fair officially begins on Monday, June 20, and continues through Saturday, June 25.

According to Watkins, the local building committee worked countless hours to ensure the completion of the new pavilion, a project that began with planning discussions more than two years ago. She thanked Woodford County Judge-Executive John Coyle and Woodford Fiscal Court members for agreeing to a 20-year lease so the Woodford County Fair Association could apply for a grant from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture in order to move forward with the project.

A $40,000 grant for the pavilion project was approved by the Woodford County Agricultural Development Board for submission to the governor's Office of Agriculture Policy, Watkins said.

"I want to commend you (for) providing the leadership to make this project work," said Bill McCloskey, deputy executive director for the Office of Agriculture Policy. He said the $40,000 grant award came out of the Kentucky Agriculture Development Fund, which supports farmers as they transition from growing tobacco and diversify their farming operations.

"I'm proud that Kentucky has been leader with how they've chosen to reinvest their money inside the commonwealth to diversify our agricultural economy," said Quarles, a Scott County Republican.

"These are the events I enjoy the most," he added, "because in Kentucky agriculture has no partisanship - there's no politics in it. And all the people you've named today that (it) took to make this a realization . that's what agriculture in Kentucky is all about. It's about working together."

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