Carcass removal eeco-pay questioned

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By The Staff


Why are Trimble County farmers charged a $15 co-pay for dead animal removal? As a member of the Trimble County Cattlemen’s Association, in April 2009 I made a motion that was carried to fund the county $4,500 to fund the deceased animal disposal assistance program, requesting that farmers not have to pay a fee for disposal.

As a farmer, I know that losing livestock creates a hardship, itself; then to have to add the expense of disposal may cause someone to look at other means of disposal. We all want proper disposal of deceased animals.

Although we requested $4,500 (for the county through the state Tobacco Settlement fund), according to Fiscal Court, the amount they received was $2,500. As chairman of the Trimble County Soil Conservation Board, I am aware that the Conservation District wrote a check in July 2009 for the deceased animal removal assistance program. I believe that Trimble County Fiscal Court has been funded $7,500 for this program, with the intent that farmers do not have to pay a co-payment.

When I, unfortunately, had to utilize dead animal removal, I was asked to pay a $15 co-pay. I have asked our judge-executive, Randy Stevens, why farmers are being charged a co-pay since funds had been paid to Fiscal Court to prevent this, and I have not been satisfied with the response. I made inquiries regarding this, and the Agricultural Development Board received correspondence from Judge-Executive Randy Stevens that stated, “The cost to the county has been $3,870, which is $45 per head according to our contract with Harmon Brothers. In addition, a $15 co-pay has been paid by the producer. Projected totals for the 12-month fiscal year [July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010] would be 82 bovine and 22 equine, for a total cost of $4,680 to the county.”

If I do the math correctly, the overall projection is to dispose of 104 animals and the $45 paid by the county and the $15 co-pay from the producer would be $60 each for a total projection of $6,240, of which Fiscal Court has been given $7,500.

Clearly, I am missing something, because I think there should be a reserve of $1,260 over the estimated cost, without the producer/farmer paying a co-pay. I question if Fiscal Court needs to refund the producer/farmers who have made co-payments to Harmon Brothers.

John Ellegood

Bedford, Ky.

(Editor’s note: According to Randy Stevens, the $5,000 check referred to in Mr. Ellegood’s letter was applied to the 2008-09 fiscal year, as the state actually reimburses the county for the dead-animal removal expenses for the previous fiscal year. If the county receives state funding for 2009-10, the funding will not be disbursed to the county until July, Stevens said.

The $4,500 that the Cattlemen’s Association had voted to give the county was reduced by the state to $2,500, using a formula that based grant funding for the program (from the Tobacco Settlement funds) on on the number of cattle in Trimble County, Stevens said.

The county established the program in April 2009 with Harmon Brothers, after federal regulations regarding the rendering of livestock carcasses for other animal food sources forced the previous contractor, Nation Brothers, out of the business. At the time, Fiscal Court was working to establish the county’s 2009-10 operating budget and agreed that initiating the co-payment would be necessary because of anticipated losses in county revenue for the 2009-10 budget year.

Stevens said Monday that the program and the co-payment requirement will be revisited when Fiscal Court begins working to establish the county budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year later this month.)