Bill Polyniak | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Bill Polyniak

Political party: 
Question 1: 

What is your vision for the role of the Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture? How will our commonwealth be better in four years if you are elected?

My vision for the Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture should be that of promoting all aspects of agriculture while increasing the overall agriculture receipts in the Commonwealth.

Question 2: 

How does your background qualify you for serving in this office? Please provide examples.

My whole life has been spent close to agriculture. From growing up in a agriculture based community, my business experience and leadership shown with the renewal of the hemp industry proves I am the best candidate to increase opportunities for Kentuckians. Instead of running from the farm, I have been running to the farm.

Question 3: 

If elected, how would you use this office to advance equity among farmers and farmworkers in Kentucky? How would you increase the numbers of farms owned by black farmers after decades of racially biased refusal of farm loans? How would you protect the rights of migrant workers, such as those coming to Kentucky with H2A visas, and ensure that farmers are honoring the contracts they sign with these workers?

The policies set forth at the department of Agriculture should be transparent and open for all. I will end the current pay to play polices that limit Kentucky while benefitting outside companies who have no long term stake in our Commonwealth.

Question 4: 

Many farmers in southwestern Kentucky installed sizable solar energy systems, thanks in part to programs offered by the Tennessee Valley Authority. What will you do as Commissioner of Agriculture to enable more small farms across the Commonwealth to generate and benefit from renewable energy?

I will support the farmers choice to explore free market technology to better make farming more sustainable.

Question 5: 

Given that many Kentuckians face challenges in accessing fresh foods, a number of programs exist in Kentucky to support food access for low-income communities, like Kentucky Double Dollars and the WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Programs. As Commission of Agriculture, how would you support these and similar programs to help Kentucky’s small farms provide healthy and affordable products to more Kentuckians? What role will you play in addressing the many food deserts across Kentucky?

We have some of the most successful hunger programs that need to still be supported. I believe creating opportunity for self-reliance will allow the current low-income programs to over time even be more helpful. As their funding is not stretched so thin trying to help so many. We must expand our agriculture base.

Question 6: 

The legalization of industrial hemp offers new opportunities to Kentucky family farmers. What other opportunities will you seek out to make farming more sustainable and how will you advance these opportunities equitably and sustainably? Do you support  the legalization of medical marijuana as one such opportunity for small farms?

Once we have a proper plan the hemp industry could be a big boom for Kentucky farmers. The current hemp plan sent to the USDA limits as well as punishes Kentucky farmers.  I support medical marijuana, grown by Kentucky farmers not outside corporations. I do not believe that as a medical product it should be taxed. That only punishes the weak.  We still have other industries that have been crushed by not the lack of market but over regulations on the farm. I will create a program and stand firm, like I have for hemp ,that will allow Kentucky farmers to distribute in state tested artisan based dairy products like mike and cheese. These value added products have a huge market demand and offer many a new opportunity to enter into agriculture like cannabis does. We must be bold and not fall into traps of the past that limit access to natural products that benefit people. We can use technology to help expand these markets, helping farmers and increasing income from new markets.

Question 7: 

As Commissioner of Agriculture, how will you support small farmers impacted by structural changes in Kentucky’s agriculture and energy economies?

I will stand firm against abusive polices.  Local as well as federal. I will work hard to promote opportunities that feed market demand for farmers and not outside interests.