KENTUCKY — During this In Focus Kentucky segment, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles discusses several topics including Kentucky’s ongoing hunger issue.

According to a Feeding America report, 1 in 7 Kentuckians were considered food insecure before the pandemic. Now that we have lived through a year of COVID-19, Commissioner Quarles shares how the state can help fight food insecurity.

"Kentucky had a higher than national average of fellow Kentuckians who are food insecure before COVID-19. We actually think that number is closer to one and six, or one in five Kentuckians facing food insecurity, as we come out of the pandemic. And let's not forget about our kids, one in five Kentucky school children are food insecure, before the pandemic. So it's so important that we take care of those around us, by making sure that they know that there's plenty of food, and the food pantries are there to help. But there are some serious issues facing our state — one thing that we've been trying to do over the course of the past year is to up donations both without just money, but also with farm fresh Kentucky Proud donations into our food banks. I believe that Kentuckians who are down in luck, can get some help right now. They deserve the same quality of food as the rest of us, explains Quarles.

Back-To-Work” bonus for Kentuckians

Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles is renewing his call for Gov. Beshear to immediately end Kentucky’s participation in the federal pandemic unemployment assistance program and instead offer a “back-to-work” bonus to encourage Kentuckians to reenter the workforce.

“As I travel the state and speak with employers, I hear about the immense labor shortage facing our businesses,” Commissioner Quarles said. “While pandemic unemployment assistance was needed temporarily to help Kentuckians put out-of-work by the Governor’s executive orders, we now have employers competing with government checks. There are plenty of jobs in Kentucky. If the Governor is serious about getting back to normal and fully reopening our economy, he should encourage people to reenter the labor force.” 

Kentucky State Fair — August 19-29

"We've been working very hard to have a really nice and normal Kentucky State Fair in August. Kentucky is a county fair and state fair state. We have almost 90 county fairs, and it culminates with a magnificent Kentucky State Fair, and last year we were lucky to have limited 4H and FFA livestock show. So, other states, canceled their state fairs, last year, we able to make do what we had at the time, but this year we're looking forward to having a full blown Kentucky State Fair. But you know it's surprising. Gov. Beshear is suing me over the Kentucky State Fair, due to legislation that was passed overwhelmingly by our legislature earlier this year. And I find it really concerning that the Governor is suing the Kentucky State Fair Board, especially after so many successful Kentucky state fairs. I don't know why he's suing us, but it's so important that we're not gonna let this lawsuit from the Governor stop what I think is gonna be a wonderful Kentucky State Fair in August," adds Quarles