Renee Shaw: It’s been eight years since Kentucky elected a Commissioner of Agriculture who’s charged with more than just telling farmers how to farm, but getting those products to market. Meet the two candidates vying to be the state’s ag chief: Democrat Sierra Enlow and Republican Jonathan Shell. That’s now on Connections.
Renee Shaw: Thank you so much for joining me today on Connections as we wrap-up our series of candidate interviews. All month long we’ve introduced you to the contenders in this year’s statewide office contests to help you make an informed decision on November the 7th. Today, the candidates for Commissioner of Agriculture. First, we meet the Democratic nominee, Sierra Enlow, who grew up on a multi-generation family farm in Larue County and attended the University of Kentucky College of Ag. She currently serves as an economic development consultant.
Renee Shaw: Sierra Enlow, it’s good to have you.
Sierra Enlow: It’s nice to be here Renee, thank you for inviting me.
Renee Shaw: I think the last time I saw you was at Fancy Farm. It’s much quieter here, isn’t it? (laughs)
Sierra Enlow: Yeah. (laughs) Definitely it’s much quieter. I don’t that, you know, it’s certainly something neat to be at Fancy Farm and see everyone --
Renee Shaw: Yeah.
Sierra Enlow: -- I had the opportunity this year to go chop up some up some of the barbecue and to run into a couple of my friends before I took stage, so that was nice to, you know, see all my College of Agriculture friends and the, my friends from different parts of the state.
Renee Shaw: Fancy Farm is not unfamiliar to you, but you had a different role this time --
Sierra Enlow: Yeah.
Renee Shaw: -- Previously you had done what when it comes to Fancy Farm?
Sierra Enlow: Yeah, uh, this was, I can’t remember my, what number of Fancy Farm it was for me to attend. It is the fourth time I’ve attended on a statewide campaign. It’s the first time I’ve attended as a statewide candidate. Uh, so, I told people and I’ve talked about this quite a bit about how much easier it is in some ways as a candidate than as a staffer. So, it’s (laughs) certainly is an experience to make sure Fancy Farm gets pulled off well and that we’re there and participating in something that’s a political tradition in Kentucky, and it was a great honor to be able to participate this year in it.
Renee Shaw: Well, we, as we have covered it for, oh, couple of decades now, it’s so nice to be in western Kentucky that often feels disconnected from Frankfort and from where the center of politics is. But it’s an enormous, still, agriculture community --
Sierra Enlow: Right.
Renee Shaw: -- very close knit. When you think about where you’ve been across the state, I’m sure each region has its own unique personality. What are you learning about the state that you didn’t know before you started this candidacy?
Sierra Enlow: Yeah, it’s been really interesting to travel across the state because every region of Kentucky really has a different issue that they’re facing and something that they want to get from the Commissioner of Agriculture. And I’m very fortunate to have grown up in the agriculture community, so I spent a lot of time in western Kentucky when I was a high schooler, uh, when I was in college, uh, all the way through my cooperative extension, extension experience and my involvement with different agricultural organizations over the course of my career. What’s been really interesting about this race is that agriculture doesn’t just impact the rural Kentuckians that we typically think about, uh, and I, and this is something I’ve been talking about a lot on the campaign trail, that every Kentuckian votes for the Commissioner of Agriculture because it truly impacts every Kentuckian’s life. Uh, and it’s been interesting to see how that message plays for urban audiences. We typically think about agriculture and the Commissioner of Agriculture’s office as doing work in production agriculture, but it does a lot to help consumer, the consumer side of the conversation. So, there’s a lot of space in that food access space for a Commissioner of Agriculture to play an advocacy role to really make a difference. Uh, there’s a lot of space, too, in thinking about how we get, uh, Kentucky agriculture products to consumer bases and whether or not they’re in our supply chain. So, when we think about a food manufacturer in Louisville or northern Kentucky, uh, or Lexington or even in Mayfield, Kentucky, uh, we have to think about how we’re getting Kentucky agriculture products to them, not necessarily how we’re increasing the number of cows on farms in Kentucky.
Renee Shaw: Good point. Well, we do know that there are, are smaller number of family farms than there used to be. What kind of challenges are farmers facing in the ag community at large, not just those who are farmers?
Sierra Enlow: Yeah. Uh, so there are a lot of challenges that Kentucky farmers are facing. I mean the price of inputs is higher, the, uh, the price for our exports is lower in some cases, so there are normal market conditions that Kentucky farmers are facing. Uh, and then there are all these other issues that make it hard to run a business in rural Kentucky that Kentucky farmers are facing. When you think about a farmer having to have health insurance to be able to keep their family farm in the family, uh, we have to have really good off-the-farm jobs to be able to do that in our rural communities. It’s very difficult to move back to your home community if you don’t have an off-the-farm job, and, uh, until we get better internet access, until we have, you know, stronger economic development in those communities, that hinders our success to really promote young members of our families moving back to those farming communities.
Renee Shaw: As you mentioned you’ve got a long history --
Sierra Enlow: Yeah.
Renee Shaw: -- generational history --
Sierra Enlow: Uh, huh.
Renee Shaw: -- in agriculture. Tell us about that.
Sierra Enlow: Yeah. Uh, so it’s not just a generational history in agriculture, it’s really a generational history of being involved in Kentucky politics and being involved in our local communities. Uh, fortunate to grow up on a family farm that’s been in in the generation, in my family for five generations. So, my great-grand, I was thinking about how many greats --
Renee Shaw: Yeah, how many greats there are.
Sierra Enlow: -- uh, yeah, but in 1907, one of my great-grandfathers was a Democrat state rep from 1907 and actually purchased the farm and ran for state rep position from that farm. It went then to my grandfather, great-grandfather, and then my grandfather who worked for Governor Breathitt, and my dad who now farms full-time there and has been involved heavily in the community in the agriculture community. So, I learned very early on when I was setting tobacco with my sister how important both agriculture and being involved in the political sphere in Kentucky truly is for what we think about as rural community values and Kentucky’s future. And I’m proud to be able to be a living impact of that legacy and I continue to give back to both my community in Larue County and now hopefully give back at the statewide level as well.
Renee Shaw: So, you know how to set tobacco, huh? (laughs)
Sierra Enlow: Yeah. (laughs).
Renee Shaw: Not everybody we talk to can say that. (laughs)
Sierra Enlow: Yeah. So, and there are a lot of things that I know that I didn’t think I would know growing up on a farm. And, uh, I told this story on the campaign trail all the time that, you know, my dad made sure that my sister and I worked every day on the farm. Uh, if it, you know, we started when were four and five, uh, working in the tobacco patch. That continued through being involved in our family’s livestock operations. We were involved in 4H and FFA and there was always something that, you know, I was doing that was contributing to my agriculture education and also how, uh, to really think about business in Kentucky and think about being involved in that conversation. Uh, the best thing about growing up on a farm is that you have a non-traditional education and so you’re always ready to think, oh, what type of tools do I have to solve this problem and how can I apply things in an unexpected way to make sure that task gets done.
Renee Shaw: Yeah, being resourceful, right?
Sierra Enlow: Yeah. (laughs)
Renee Shaw: You learn how to do that. Well, let’s, let’s talk about what may be some of your goals are if you are elected ag commissioner --
Sierra Enlow: Yeah.
Renee Shaw: -- There have been a lot of great programs that previous ag commissioners, the current ag commissioner has, has done. What would you do?
Sierra Enlow: Yeah, we’ve been very fortunate in Kentucky to have a great history of ag commissioners that have worked really hard for Kentucky farmers. But the office isn’t just about Kentucky farmers, it has a lot of additional responsibilities, and the state legislature keeps giving it additional responsibilities. And it’s important to think about how we’re taking what we’ve done really well and preparing the, both the agriculture industry and the office for the next 10 years of what this industry looks like. And then one of the things I’m going to spend a lot of time focusing on is thinking about how we get our Kentucky farm products from the farm gate and into the corporate supply chain and advocating for farmers in corporate boardrooms because we haven’t had the same, you know, space at the table when we’re talking about workforce development, economic development, advocating for our markets that other industries in Kentucky have, and I think that that’s a great place for your Commissioner of Agriculture to advocate for Kentucky farmers is at those tables and in that space. Uh, I always tell people that you need two things to be an effective commissioner or agriculture. You need production agriculture experience, which you’ve already touched and we’ve talked about some of my background in that space, but then you really need business experience because this office isn’t about telling Kentucky farmers how to farm. It’s about making sure that they can sell their agriculture products and that those agriculture products get, get to consumers across Kentucky.
Renee Shaw: Yeah. Kentucky Proud you think is a good program and sustainable --
Sierra Enlow: Yeah.
Renee Shaw: -- and you’d be committed to even taking that to a higher level?
Sierra Enlow: Absolutely. I think Kentucky Proud’s a great start of where the Commissioner of Agriculture needs to work in this conversation, but it’s really just the tip of the iceberg for that conversation. Uh, and we’ve seen this universally across the state of Kentucky where we’ve sold Kentucky farmers a lot of fairy tales and we’ve told them to raise a crop, we’ve told them to do X, Y, and Z, uh, without thinking their mark, being a market present for it. And Kentucky Proud helps identify some of those markets and advertise and differentiate Kentucky products, but we need to really think about what that whole supply chain looks like and what we’re telling Kentucky farmers and providing signals for what they should be doing from an economic basis. Uh, for example, if the city of Louisville is going to work on recruiting a tofu manufacturing facility to the, you know, to the city, then Kentucky farmers need to be part of that conversation. So, we need to talk about how we’re supplying soybeans to that facility. Your Commissioner of Agriculture really should be working in that space to talk about those types of issues and talk about how we build that supply chain so that we’re not selling fairy tales to Kentucky, to Kentucky farmers.
Renee Shaw: Right. When we look at the hemp industry that --
Sierra Enlow: Yeah.
Renee Shaw: -- some who were inside the industry would say didn’t quite live up to some of the promise --
Sierra Enlow: Uh-huh.
Renee Shaw: -- We see some struggles with our agri-tech industry --
Sierra Enlow: Uh-huh.
Renee Shaw: -- Some of, you know, those companies are really dealing with some, uh, unfortunate situations. What do you think about those types of things --
Sierra Enlow: Sure.
Renee Shaw: -- as you see them unfold?
Sierra Enlow: Yeah, and I think hemp is a great example of, again, we sold a fairy tale to Kentucky farmers without thinking about what the market looked like for that crop and making sure there were processors and retailers in place. Uh, the ag-tech initiatives in Kentucky and where we’re going with ag-tech are really kind of radically different in the conversation because I think that those are, that’s the direction that we need to go for the industry and we need to invest in bringing these, this technology sector here and growing what technology sector exists. Uh, I always talk about the agriculture industry as it relates to tech and fortunately I have a lot of experience with tech businesses and working with the City of Louisville’s tech strategy, but agriculture is one of the few areas where there are customers for start-ups, and you have a built in customer base and it’s a great place to have a start-up because you have that built in customer base. And we know that a lot of start-ups fail because they don’t have their customers identified and secured before they start the business. Uh, we’re in a perfect situation in which we should be incentivizing those types of businesses in the ag industry because we have the customers and we know that the technology is going to allow our Kentucky farmers to be more competitive on those markets.
Renee Shaw: We know another big issue is hunger --
Sierra Enlow: Yeah.
Renee Shaw: -- You know there are one out of so many, six or seven kids, and one out of six or seven adults --
Sierra Enlow: Yeah.
Renee Shaw: -- that face hunger at any particular point throughout the year. What do you, uh, want to propose when it comes to anti-hunger initiatives.
Sierra Enlow: Yeah, so this year in Kentucky is not even just a, uh, food inequality or food, uh, lacking access, not it being hungry, it’s truly lacking access to food. Uh, and one of the things I really want to work on as your next Commissioner of Agriculture is this concept of food access. West Louisville is facing the same issues that counties like Trimble County have where there aren’t grocery stores in the community, and it’s not necessarily that people don’t have money to go buy food, it’s that they don’t have access to go buy food. Uh, and that’s where my experience as an economic developer and thinking about how we incentivize new operations and new businesses comes in really handy. Uh, I think your next ag commissioner is going to have to really advocate for a tax incentive that supports grocery stories locating in underserved communities. And Kentucky’s really fortunate because we have a great sales tax model that we can apply sales tax and use sales tax as an incentive to help those operations get started. So, that’s something I’m looking forward to really being engaged in. Also, thinking about how we support the infrastructure of our food pantries across the state and feeding Kentucky. Uh, those provide a market for Kentucky farmers, it’s a great secondary market that provides stability in addition to helping to make sure that Kentuckians are fed. And we want to think about solutions like that that have multiple benefits and are truly something that has a business case of why we need to move this project forward.
Renee Shaw: Well, thank you --
Sierra Enlow: Yeah.
Renee Shaw: -- Sierra Enlow. It’s been great to sit down with you and, and speak with you, and best of luck --
Sierra Enlow: It’s a pleasure.
Renee Shaw: -- as you press forward in the days ahead.
Sierra Enlow: It was a pleasure speaking with you today, Renee, and I’m looking forward to seeing you again on the campaign trail.
Renee Shaw: Yes, absolutely.
Sierra Enlow: Thank you.
Renee Shaw: Stay with us as the Republican nominee, Jonathan Shell joins us. He served in the Kentucky House of Representatives and had risen to a prominent leadership position before losing his reelection bid in the May 2018 primary.
Renee Shaw: Jonathan Shell, it’s a pleasure to have you here.
Jonathan Shell: Yes, ma’am, thank you for having me, Renee.
Renee Shaw: You know, missed being around you because you were in the General Assembly for a bit and were even majority leader and a lot of people were shocked when that race didn’t turn out in your favor. And, uh, you miss politics?
Jonathan Shell: You know, I don’t know that I miss politics because, honestly, I’ve been in it now for almost a decade and I could care less about the politics part of it.
Renee Shaw: Right.
Jonathan Shell: You know, anymore, whenever I’m talking to my friends on the phone or we’re talking about just the realm of politics itself, it’s, it’s nothing that I actually care for. You know, what I care about is being able to meet people where they are, being able to find out what the needs of Kentuckians are, and, and I look at government not from a political lens but from a service lens. And so, getting in and doing the job and actually being able to accomplish things that actually move people forward, not, not the bickering, not the, not the things that don’t matter, but the everyday things, the families that are struggling to pay groceries, the families that are struggling to pay their bills, the farmers that are seeing all their input increases go up every single year and the revenue’s not. You know, the political part of it, I could, I could care less about.
Renee Shaw: But it comes with it, though.
Jonathan Shell: It does and, you know, but I, but you don’t have to participate and you don’t have to involve yourself in it, and that’s, you know, through this campaign is probably the first one wherever I actually felt relieved of not being a part of it, you know. We do have to raise the money, we do have to do the things that, uh, you know, that make political campaigns successful, but I don’t get caught up in all the, in all the political stuff. It’s just, it’s nothing that I actually enjoy, and so I’d rather make the relationships, meet the people, and, uh, you know, hopefully they’ll trust in me what they see, and, you know, I’m a pretty authentic person, I think. There’s not much put-on to me, and, uh, that’s the way I’m going to go whenever I get in there.
Renee Shaw: You are, uh, a wonderful advocate for children, and, and you have a few little children --
Jonathan Shell: I do.
Renee Shaw: -- yourself. Tell us about your family.
Jonathan Shell: See, you know, I tell people this all the time, Renee, that if there’s a commissioner of adoption and foster care, that’s what I’d be running for. Children and especially vulnerable children are probably my number one and first love, uh, trying to help them. I’ve got two adopted children myself. My oldest son, Jackson, is adopted, my youngest daughter, Gracelyn, is adopted and then my wife and I have two of my own. And, uh, you know, there’s nothing more special in my life than knowing that you’ve completely changed somebody’s situation by doing that. And, and the sad thing is that there’s 8,000 kids in the state of Kentucky in the foster care system that desperately need a loving home to be in. And, uh, you know, I, I try to give call to actions in, in a lot of places that I go, and one call to action that I’d say here today is that if you have a heart for children, it’s not hard. You don’t have to be a superwoman, you don’t have to be a superman, you don’t have to have your life completely put together. They just need a loving a home, they need a hug, they need a bed to lay in, and they need somebody that cares about them.
Renee Shaw: Yeah. So, I did talk about when you were in the Kentucky General Assembly. How, how did you process when that didn’t turn out your way?
Jonathan Shell: You know for me, uh, I never wanted to hear my name in the halls of Frankfort for eternity, and so, uh, the, the clout that comes with that, the, you know, the respect and the legacy so to speak that, that you get whenever you’re majority leader or you’re state representative, you know, those things fade. They’re not eternal and, you know, my, my truth and my eternal outlook is in my savior Jesus Christ and in God. It’s not in anything earthly here, and so I, I never wanted to be in Frankfort for my entire life. I want to be able to do the job. If I can make a difference, then that’s where I want to be. And whenever I was recruiting candidates for the Republican Party to take over the House of Representatives, I can tell you, Renee, that the conversations that I would have with the men and women that we would recruit is that if you were going just for your next reelection, then we don’t want you as a candidate. We want you to be able to go and make hard decisions, and if you make hard decisions in government, you’re going to make people mad. You may not win your reelection, and I think that’s what people want. You know I think people are tired of politicians that get elected just for the sake of getting elected. They’re not there to actually do the job, they’re there for the clout, they’re there for whatever, uh, perks that they may see benefit them, or they’re there to hear their names in the halls of whatever institution they’re in, and, and I think that we’ve lost a lot of what the American experiences is and the American, uh, uh, purpose of politics that we have in government because we’ve elected people who only care about that. Uh, but you know, I’ve, I’ve been really pleased with this campaign and how we’ve been able to motivate from a grassroots perspective of getting people involved that feel dis, disenfranchised in many ways in politics to where that they don’t feel like their voice is being heard. You know, your average American, your average Kentuckian that’s out there, you know, my wife and I, we struggle to pay our bills. I mean I’m a farmer, she’s a nurse practitioner, we’ve got four kids --
Renee Shaw: Yeah.
Jonathan Shell: -- and a lot of times I personally feel frozen out of the economy. I personally feel frozen out of cultural experiences, and I think that many Kentuckians feel that same way because whether it’s, you know, people in this cancel culture that we have now, you can’t feel to express yourself in the way that you feel and you believe. You know we’ve lost that American experience, and you almost fee frozen out of it. As an employer, I felt frozen out of the workforce with getting people into my business. You know, a lot of employers that are out there, you know, we, we tout these numbers of economic growth and economic development and all the jobs that we bring in, but a lot of times in communities where we’re bringing those jobs in, there’s already job vacancies. And so you sit down a 5,000-job factory and all the small businesses around are having their people leave to go to that factory. And so these small business owners in the state, they feel frozen out of the economy, they feel frozen out of the workforce, and the people that I talk to, they feel frozen in their circumstances right now, whether you’re, uh, uh, you know, wealthy to the comparison of other people or whether you’re, uh, middle income like myself and my family, whether you’re a small business owner, it’s hard to plan for the future anymore. It’s hard to be able to grasp beyond your current subsistence place, to be able to look to the future to plan not only for yourself but for your kids’ future and beyond. And so, you know, what I’ve, what I’ve really enjoyed about this campaign, is that I feel like I’ve been able to have those conversations to understand peoples’ plight in their areas better to where that I can see where this disenfranchisement and this frozenness comes from. And I’m not saying that I’ve
got the solution for it. I’m not saying that I’m going to go in there day one and everybody’s circumstances are changed. But I feel it, I understand, I know it, and that’s what they’re getting.
Renee Shaw: Yeah. I kidded with you before we started taping about the number of miles you put on your truck, and I remembered back in 2020 when you were campaign chair for U.S. Senate at the time Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. And you put how many thousand miles on it, just for perspective here?
Jonathan Shell: Well, I’ve put about 130,000 miles on my vehicle during this campaign. I bought it right before we announced.
Renee Shaw: In 2021.
Jonathan Shell: I think that’s the date, yes.
Renee Shaw: But that’s more than when you were out, you know, helping him.
Jonathan Shell: Oh, yeah. And even whenever I recruited all those candidates back in 2015 for the 2016 cycle, we put about 75,000 on that. I am no stranger to the roads in Kentucky --
Renee Shaw: (laughs)
Jonathan Shell: -- I, I joke with my friends and my wife occasionally that I think that not only could I draw a map of this state, not only could I tell you 120 counties, and probably their county seat --
Renee Shaw: Uh, huh.
Jonathan Shell: -- but I could draw nearly all the major veins and arteries in those highways across the state of Kentucky.
Renee Shaw: You’re the modern-day Rand McNally, aren’t you. (laughs)
Jonathan Shell: (laughs) Whatever that means, I guess, yeah.
Renee Shaw: The map guys that I remember growing up. Why do you want to be ag commissioner?
Jonathan Shell: You know, for me, whenever I look at the circumstances that we have in the state of Kentucky, I see nothing but opportunity. You know, we as Kentuckians a lot of times don’t realize how large in perspective that we are in the ag community, not only in the state but in the world. We’re 15th in almost every major commodity, we’re number one in cattle east of the Mississippi, we’re number eight nationally in beef cattle. Our numbers are great. We’ve got amazing farmers in this state, we’ve got amazing agriculture that takes place on a daily basis. Right now is one of my favorite seasons in agriculture because it’s harvest season, and so a lot of our farmers are seeing the fruits of their labor as they go out, but also, we’ve got all these farm markets that are out in the state that have pumpkin patches and corn mazes, and the experience of being able to have a family or consumer get on your farm to see the faces of you, your dad, your mom, your kids, your employees, uh, that’s one of my favorite times because I think that is whenever we shine the best is whenever we get people on the farm. And so, when I look at agriculture and the reason that I’m running for this position is I see so much opportunity in the future of what we can grab. And there are some challenges that we face. You know, I’ve got three main things that I want to try and accomplish. Now, most people that watch this are politically understanding. They understand government, they understand a lot of the purposes and what the roles are. You know the Department of Agriculture is one of the largest regulatory agencies in the state. It, it regulates anywhere from pesticides to bees to zip lines to --
Renee Shaw: Gas pumps --
Jonathan Shell: -- gas pumps to --
Renee Shaw: -- roller coasters --
Jonathan Shell: -- all kinds of different things.
Renee Shaw: Right, yeah.
Jonathan Shell: And there’s great employees at the department, but whenever you look at it from the whole, it’s kind of the voice of rural Kentucky, it’s the voice of agriculture, it’s that connector between urban and rural. And there’s three main things that I really want to try and accomplish as ag commissioner, and the first one is looking at ag as economic development. Looking at it as an industry itself, and looking at the infrastructure needs that we have across the state of Kentucky. You know, we’ve got amazing farmers, we don’t need better farmers, we always need to better ourselves. We’ve got the best farmers. We need everything else. We need geneticists, we need marketers, we need scientists, we need people getting engaged in agriculture from the collegiate level and beyond that are understanding of what we need to replace in those secondary areas in, in agriculture. Looking at secondary manufacturing in agriculture. Looking at our hubs of economic development around our granaries and our institutions of marketing that come in play where farmers are delivering products and then building off of that secondary manufacturing to really give a value-add to these products. Instead of sending them out of the state, let’s grow those businesses here, let’s recruit those businesses to come in and really let’s look at this from an infrastructure standpoint of overlaying where commodities are in this state, where the deficiencies are, and where the opportunities are to get private-sector investment into the state or, or built-up to where that we have Kentucky jobs and Kentucky farmers coming together to make something special. The second thing is on-farm retail and local marketing. You know we’ve got a lot of farmers that are being pushed out into the workforce because farming is hard, it’s tough, it’s tough to turn a profit. And so, we’ve got a lot of people that have been pushed out because they don’t, there’s not enough local markets and marketing available to them, whether it’s an on-farm retail market to where that you come and you buy whatever product it is from meat to flowers to pumpkins, whatever that is. Or whether it’s a local farmers market to get people inside an understanding of that, because the closer we get people from the farm gate to the food plate, the more profitable our farmers are, and the more understanding a consumer is and educated on those things. And, and that’s one of the biggest keys is educating consumers of what their nutritional needs are, what their nutritional values are, and, you know, I think that we need to make a campaign in this state to tell people that it’s, it’s healthy to eat, it’s more healthy to eat locally and fresher, to get the chemicals out of our food, to get more fresh food available to people. And on top of that, whenever I look at this state in that same vein, we have hospitals, school districts, and jail systems that have to have food on a daily basis. Every single day, 12 months out of the year, food has to come in and out. We don’t take full advantage of the opportunities that we need in this state to be able to market to those institutions at a value that they can afford for our farmers to also be able to flourish. And when you look at a hospital system, specifically, you’ve got local farmers’ markets, they do a great job in the east, especially at ARH where they do the double bucks program. They basically give another prescription on top of the food stamps that people are able to get. If they go to the farmers’ market, buy locally, they can almost double the amount of food that they’re able to get. And when I look at that, I look at these vulnerable populations inside of Medicaid, welfare, or food stamp systems, they’re some of the most unhealthy people that we have because of the situations that they have found themselves in. And so, if we can help to educate them to get fresher foods inside of them, from a taxpayer standpoint, it helps to cut down on diabetes, heart disease, stroke, risk factors that are health related. Those are 40-year solutions to, to problems that we have currently. But it also helps to make people healthier to maybe get them back into the workforce as well. And so that’s number two. The third one is just being that voice to push back against a lot of the insaneness that’s coming out of Washington, D.C. from people who are bureaucrats sitting in a cubicle somewhere who have never set foot on a farm trying to dictate to us in rural Kentucky and across America what they think that our value system should be and how we should operate our farms, and it just doesn’t work that way. We need to be able to have a voice that’s strong enough to push back against these things and I think one of the ways we have to do that is to work with inside the court systems to sue and stop, put a stalemate on a lot of the federal regulations that are coming down the pike. And then on top of that, it’s just educating not only the consumers but the general public on the intimacy that is farming. You know, that hands in the clay, that hands in the dirt, that seeing that seed go from a seed to something that you actually harvest, produce, and it helps make money for a farmer but it also helps provide food for the world.
Renee Shaw: Yeah. Well, Jonathan Shell, thank you so much for sharing some time with us. We know you’re really busy and we appreciate it. Good luck in the days ahead.
Jonathan Shell: Thank you, Renee.
Renee Shaw: Thank you so much for joining us today on Connections. You can watch all of our candidate interviews online, on demand at KET.org/Connections. Remember early voting begins November the 2nd and goes through the 4th. And of course, Election Day is November the 7th. Stay connected with me on social media all the ways you see on your screen. And follow the candidates on the campaign trail in this final stretch on Kentucky Edition, weeknights at 6:30 Eastern, 5:30 Central. Thank you for watching, take really good care, and I’ll see you soon.