Edited KEEP releaseThe Kentucky Equine Education Project is launching a major membership drive beginning Aug. 1. "The goal is to sign up 3,000 new members by the end of the year," said Jim Navolio, KEEP Executive Director. "KEEP now has more than 7,000 members, with a goal of reaching at least 10,000 by December 31." KEEP plans to attain this goal by following the same grassroots approach to membership building that was used to build the county team leaders network across Kentucky. "Our grassroots efforts helped us build an effective organization in a short amount of time,' said Navolio. "Our legislators, and other leaders across our state, are realizing how well organized our group is, and that we have united the horse industry across all breeds and disciplines. The horse industry is a $4 billion industry in Kentucky and we want to make sure we protect and grow it." During the membership drive, each county team leader will be asked to enlist 20 new members in their respective counties and each KEEP member will be asked to sign up at least five new members. As an incentive, the top six team leaders with the greatest increase in membership in their county will receive a KEEP cooler blanket. Counties will be divided into categories based on population size. KEEP was formed in May 2004 to promote and protect Kentucky's horse industry. The organization was successful during the 2005 legislative session in helping secure appropriations for a breeder incentive fund to benefit all breeds and getting a tax waived that was placed on out-of-state buyers which caused them to remove their horses from the state. County-wide meetings have been held in many counties, and continue to be scheduled across the state. The message that the equine industry is a key ingredient in Kentucky's economic mix is being spread throughout the Commonwealth through person-to-person contact and an aggressive marketing campaign. For more information on KEEP visit www.horseswork.com .