Agriculture commissioner visits Clark County

Published 3:00 pm Friday, February 10, 2023

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With a busy schedule, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles doesn’t make an appearance in Winchester every day.

However, Commissioner Quarles was present at the Clark County Courthouse last Friday afternoon to promote Ag Tag – specifically donating $10 for each renewal of farm license plates.

He also honored members of the FFA, or Future Farmers of America, as well as participants of 4-H Youth Development.

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“We’re giving back to two organizations that turn young people into leaders,” he said. “We encourage our farmers to donate ten dollars to the Ag Tag program. The more money that’s raised in Clark County, the more that comes back.”

Quarles was far from alone when he visited the Clark County Courthouse.

With George Rogers Clark High School students representing the Future Farmers of America and youth making up 4-H present, Quarles addressed the crowd.

A former FFA and 4-H member himself, he understood their position.

“When I was your age, I was doing exactly what you’re doing right now,” he said. “I would not be where I’m at today if it had not been for the lifelong lessons I learned being in 4-H and FFA.”

4-H is a youth organization dedicated to building leaders with skill sets to help them succeed as they grow older.

At the past year’s Clark County Fair, awards were given to 4-H students who excelled in several fields, including wood science, horticulture and plant science, and crop projects.

With FFA open to individuals interested in several positions, ten to 12 GRC students present had a variety of talents.

Nevertheless, the organization features a primary focus on agricultural education.

“We do a lot of things throughout the year. We do a lot of leadership events [and] community service,”, said Terra Pigg, the agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisor at George Rogers Clark High School.

Through events, students might build knowledge by learning about agricultural sales, farm and agribusiness management, livestock evaluation, and more.

Students have also attended the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis.

While those who put forth a $10 donation to receive their farm plate, or Ag Tag, may feel intrinsically rewarded, the amount is sure to be used effectively.

One-third of the money goes toward 4-H, while another third goes to FFA.

Individuals looking to renew their plates at the Clark County Clerk’s Office will be asked if they’d like to make the ten-dollar donation.

Quarles encouraged individuals to donate while speaking to the youth.

“People tell me no all the time, but they’re not going to say no to you,” he said. “We want to raise as much money as possible…Last year across Kentucky, one license plate at a time, we raised over $600,000. That’s a lot of money that goes to you all.”

Those who do not have a renewal farm license plate can stop by the Clark County Clerk’s Office and donate $10 too.

Acknowledging that both organizations have grown through the years, Quarles posed with students after speaking with them while holding a license plate and other gifts.

Clark County Clerk Michell Turner and Judge-Executive Les Yates also were present.

Asked what his advice would be to those involved with 4-H and FFA, Quarles provided this answer.

“Make the most of your time in FFA and 4-H, and I hope that these two organizations have prepared you well [not only] for adulthood but also for future studies,” he said.