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Agriculture Commissioner Visits with Local Business, Political Leaders

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles visited Newport on Friday to conclude his statewide Restaurant Roundtables series.

Quarles was joined by local political and business leaders as well as local restaurant owners at New Riff Distilling.

“Northern Kentucky is one of the state’s fastest growing economic hubs. Its unique mix of historic properties, newer developments and restaurants that bring forth the flavor of the area keeps locals and visitors asking for more. Like most places, COVID-19 had a significant impact on this thriving economy,” Quarles said. “Across the state, the hospitality industry was one of the hardest hit during the coronavirus pandemic. Despite those challenges, our Kentucky Proud Buy Local restaurants continued to support local farmers. These Restaurant Roundtables are one way I can personally thank them for being part of the farm economy and hear directly from these small business owners about how they survived during the pandemic. It’s time to reopen Kentucky.”

“Attending the roundtable this morning and listening with Commissioner Quarles to restaurateurs talk about their challenges really highlights the relationships and partnerships we need with the KDA, farmers, and connectors all over Kentucky,” said Stacy Roof, president and CEO of the Kentucky Restaurant Association. “As Kentucky restaurants prepare to fully reopen, these connections will remain invaluable. We thank the Commissioner for prioritizing our local restaurants, cornerstones in each of their communities.”

In addition to Northern Kentucky, the commissioner also made visits to Lexington, Louisville, Bowling Green, Owensboro, and London.

The forum was also a way for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to promote its Kentucky Proud Buy Local program for restaurants, caterers, schools, and other food service participants that source and support local farms. The Buy Local program rewards participants for enhancing their menus with locally-sourced Kentucky Proud farm ingredients. The program is funded by the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund.

-Staff report

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