A partnership between LG&E and KU and a Kentucky company could help both the energy and agriculture sectors, Kentucky leaders announced Monday.
Kentucky company Charah is opening up a facility in Louisville that will take leftover gypsum from the Mill Creek Power Station and turn it into a sulfur product —such as fertilizers—for Kentucky farmers.
Kentucky agriculture is in need of sulfur products to help grow strong crops, state agriculture leaders said. The new venture will also help reduce a byproduct from coal-fired power plants.
Many of Kentucky's top leaders turned out for the announcement, including U.S. Senator Rand Paul, who says the new product is great for multiple needs, including the economy and the environment.
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer doesn't expect the indictment of his predecessor, Richie Farmer, to damage the department. Comer says he feels sorry for Farmer's family because of the indictment, but it won't be a distraction for the department.
Comer and his staff have cooperated with multiple investigations into Farmer, and his goal is to distance the office from the officeholder.
"I hope the confidence has been restored. I work hard every day, I go to events every day to promote agriculture. We brought in all new management, we're efficient, we're transparent," said Comer, a Monroe County native.
Farmer has been indicted on five counts related to allegations he misused his office to obtain gifts and misappropriated state funds during his two terms as commissioner. He could face up to ten years in prison and a quarter million dollar fine.
Agriculture Commissioner James Comer will lead a Kentucky delegation to Washington to ask for an exemption to allow farmers in his state to grow industrial hemp.
That announcement comes after the Kentucky Legislature passed a bill that lays the groundwork for licensing hemp growers if the federal government ever lifts a ban on the crop.
Hemp thrived in Kentucky generations ago but was banned after the federal government classified it as a controlled substance.
Comer has said hemp could be an economic boon for Kentucky. Besides creating another crop for the state's farmers, Comer said hemp could lead to manufacturing jobs that produce products ranging from paper to cosmetics.