February 24, 2005

Farmers and rural families head the long list of Kentuckians who will benefit from several million dollars worth of federal appropriations earmarked for the University of Kentucky in fiscal year 2005 through the efforts of U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell. 

Leading the list of funded projects is $3 million for planning and design of a new forage and animal laboratory that enhances the ability of UK and U.S. Department of Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists to work side-by-side on research into the sustainability of forage-based farming   Projects will focus on both plants and animals, involve several disciplines and range from molecular through whole organism. The lab will be built near UK’s plant science building.   

Another $2.8 million will support UK research programs affiliated with the USDA Forage Animal Production Unit.  Established at UK in 2002, the unit already has five ARS scientists conducting research on forage quality, nutrient intake and animal health.

“UK’s Agriculture Research Service lab will be Kentucky’s first federal lab,” Sen.  McConnell said. “My ability to secure funds for the construction of this lab is a recognition of the incredible strides the University has made in becoming one of the nation’s premier agriculture research universities.”

 “The importance of research to our equine, cattle and forage producers in Kentucky cannot be overstated, and these earmarks represent a significant boost to our research capabilities,” said Scott Smith, dean of the College of Agriculture.  “The work being done by our ARS and UK scientists is already producing the kind of solutions our agriculture industry needs to remain competitive and profitable, and those efforts will continue to grow with this kind of support.”

Equine and cattle are multi-billion dollar industries in Kentucky and other Appalachian states. Smith said the additional funding will help increase staffing levels by ARS scientists and expand the partnership between ARS and the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station to serve the agriculture industry.

Other appropriations for College of Agriculture projects include: 

  • $730,000 to explore new crop opportunities;
  • $680,000 for precision agriculture research which uses satellites to help farmers measure the amount of seed and fertilizer they need;
  • $650,000 for the Advanced Genetic Technology Center to study plant and  animal disease and new uses for plants; 
  • $850,000 for the Health Education through Extension Leadership (HEEL) program, which partners UK’s College of Public Health with the Cooperative Extension Service to deliver information on preventing disease and living healthier lives; and
  • $380,000 for animal health and grazing systems to develop information and management systems to monitor the health of grazing animals.

 “Once again, Sen. McConnell has put the people of Kentucky first in bringing these federal dollars to our state’s flagship university, so that our researchers have the support they need to generate knowledge that’s having a direct, positive impact on the quality of life in the Commonwealth,” said University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd Jr.  “Without financial support even the best programs in the world cannot produce results, and these earmarks will help UK turn its research ambitions into results.”


Contact: Haven Miller 859-257-4736, ext. 272 or
Carl Nathe 859-257-1754