Kentucky Gov. facing backlash from family farm over COVID-19 order

The Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture along with a family owned u-pick orchard operation has filed a lawsuit against the governor’s office.

Over 100 days ago, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear issued an executive order intended to help curb the spread of coronavirus. It is something Ag Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles says has gone on too long with no end in sight.

“It is my sincere belief that the Beshear administration has erred and violated Kentucky law with the executive order issued by the governor’s office and they have completely left the General Assembly out of the decision making process,” Quarles said.

The restrictions imposed by the order are limiting the ability for seasonal family farms to turn a profit. Evans Orchard and Cider Mill’s Jenny Evans says that they were not included when other facilities were allowed to open earlier this month.

“The plan we submitted to the local health department, concerning the play area, had us operating at a 1 percent capacity,” she said. “That plan was denied and we were only approved for up to 10 people. It seems like we are being treated unfairly, when businesses like a trampoline park, and other indoor rec facilities and gyms are allowed to operate.”

The family bought more land last fall with the intent to expand the facility. The current situation puts them in a bind.

“For us it’s not political. This is a personal passion, it’s our family farm, our family business,” Evans said. “We didn’t want it to come off political, it’s not. It’s just what we have to do to save our farm.”