Report: Tobacco settlement boosts Ag fund

The Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund, fueled with half of the state’s settlement from tobacco companies, has generated more than $2 in farm income for every dollar invested in the last eight years, according to a report by University of Kentucky researchers.

The agricultural fund was created in 2000 by the General Assembly. From 2007 to 2014, $198 million has been invested by the fund in programs to help farmers diversify away from growing tobacco.

“We found convincing evidence that the investments made by the board were successful in diversifying agricultural opportunities for tobacco-dependent farmers and tobacco-impacted communities across Kentucky,” said Alison Davis, director of UK’s community Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky, in a news release. Last year, UK’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment was commissioned to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of the fund’s investments and loan program.

The full study will be released in December.