New Kentucky Equine Subcommittee to Hold First Meeting

Kentucky's equine industry will be the focus June 18 when the recently formed Subcomittee on Horse Farming of the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources holds its first meeting.

The session, to begin at 10 a.m. EDT at Covington City Hall in Covington, Ky., will include a review of the equine industry's economic impact in the state and discussion about whether it is declining or growing. Legislators are expected to discuss the top three challenges for the industry and top three opportunities it has in the coming year and in the next five years.

Representatives of the Thoroughbred, Standardbred, and Quarter Horse communities are scheduled to speak, as is a representative of the Kentucky Horse Council. There will be some discussion on the impact of mare reproductive loss syndrome, which struck Kentucky in the spring of 2001 and continues to have residual effects.

The subcommittee is co-chaired by Sen. Damon Thayer and Rep. Susan Westrom. Other members are Sen. Joey Pendleton and Representatives Royce Adams, Jim Bruce, Scott Brinkman, Jack Coleman, Mike Denham, Charlie Hoffman, Tom McKee, Don Pasley, and Ken Upchurch.

The subcommittee, educational in nature, plans to hold regular meetings, which will take on particular importance this year in advance of the 2004 legislative session. Several equine-related matters are expected to be addressed next year, not the least of which is racetrack gaming.