Membership in Kentucky Proud is so much more than just access to a logo that has over 80% brand recognition statewide. Browse some of the most frequently asked questions about membership and the benefits that come along with being a part of the official agricultural marketing brand of Kentucky.
What is Kentucky Proud?
Introduced by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture in 2002, the Kentucky Proud brand (which was originally called Kentucky Fresh) was created as a central platform to raise awareness of the Commonwealth’s ever-expanding agricultural industry and to promote Kentucky’s farm families and farm products. In 2008, Kentucky Proud became the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s official agricultural marketing brand by legislative action (KRS 260.017).
What does Kentucky Proud do?
Kentucky Proud promotes locally grown food, farmers’ markets, farm stands, agritourism sites, and many other products and destinations with roots in Kentucky soil. Kentucky Proud products are raised, grown, manufactured, or processed in Kentucky by Kentuckians (KRS 260.016).
How is Kentucky Proud funded?
The Kentucky Proud program is funded through the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund. Directed by the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board and administered by the Kentucky Office of Agricultural Policy, the fund is a product of the 1998 Master Tobacco Settlement between cigarette manufacturers and 46 states, including Kentucky.
Why is Kentucky Proud necessary?
More than 75% of our members are made up of small family farms. Kentucky Proud is a centralized marketing platform that helps elevate consumer recognition of local businesses and local farm products.
What does Kentucky Proud make?
Kentucky Proud is the marketing brand for agriculture across the Commonwealth, but we don’t actually make or produce anything (aside from really great marketing). Instead, we promote Kentucky farms and the farm products that our member businesses create. When you see the Kentucky Proud logo, you can be assured those products are raised, grown, manufactured, or processed in Kentucky by Kentuckians.
Where can I locate Kentucky Proud products and businesses?
Products from Kentucky Proud member businesses can be found in a multitude of places across the Commonwealth and beyond. Keep an eye out for the Kentucky Proud logo next time you’re shopping at your local grocery store or anywhere you shop. And if you can’t find any, be sure to ask why and suggest they support local! If you’re looking for specific products or businesses, you’ve come to the right place. Locate the wide range of products and member businesses that make up the Kentucky Proud brand!
Do you sell Kentucky Proud merchandise to the public?
Currently, we don’t have merchandise available for sale to the general public. But let us know if that is something you would be interested in purchasing. We currently offer branded items only for our members but are considering expanding our inventory for everyone!
If you are a current member and have questions, get the answers you need now.
Can caterers, food trucks, senior centers, country clubs, pop-up concession stands, and amusement parks sign up for this program?
Yes – as well as other types of food service operations – as long as they have or obtain Kentucky Proud membership and submit the completed Buy Local application, they are eligible to participate in the program.
Do you want me to send in copies of my actual invoices or can we send in a report from our QuickBooks?
We request that restaurants and other food service operations send in copies of the actual invoices, please. For convenience, you may submit copies of the invoices electronically.
Does it cost anything to be a Kentucky Proud member?
Membership in Kentucky Proud is currently free to all eligible applicants. If you choose to purchase Kentucky Proud-branded marketing materials (such as hats, bags, stickers, etc.) through our At-Cost Program, you will be responsible for the cost of those items.
Does my membership expire?
Yes. Your Kentucky Proud membership must be renewed annually during our renewal period. If you do not update your information, complete our renewal process, and download your certificate for the current market year, you may be marked as inactive and your business information will no longer appear in our search results or marketing campaigns.
How can I use the Kentucky Proud Logo?
Active members of the Kentucky Proud program have the ability to use the widely recognized Kentucky Proud logo to market their approved products. For more detailed information, please read our terms and conditions.
The Kentucky Proud® logo may only be used by licensed, qualified applicants on agricultural products grown and/or processed in Kentucky.
Product's major ingredients shall be grown and/or processed in Kentucky.
The farm(s) where the ingredients are grown, processing/production facilities, or corporate headquarters shall be located in Kentucky.
Facilities shall meet all State and Federal regulations where applicable. Products shall meet or exceed USDA and/or State of Kentucky standards where applicable.
Logo cannot deviate from its original design or color without prior written approval from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Office for Agricultural Marketing and Product Promotion.
The logo shall only be used in association with approved agricultural products for which the major ingredients were grown and/or processed in Kentucky.
The use of the logo is royalty free, but is personal only to the applicant. The logo shall not be reassigned to another party. The Kentucky Proud® symbol is registered with the Kentucky Secretary of State and regulated by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.
Permission to use the logo may be denied or revoked at any time by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Office for Agricultural Marketing and Product Promotion.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is in no way liable for, nor does the Department guarantee products using this logo.
Upon approval of the initial application, the Department shall provide artwork for each approved applicant.
How do I join Kentucky Proud?
The fastest, easiest way to apply for Kentucky Proud membership is to complete our online application. You’ll need to register for an account and complete the application before we can determine your eligibility - it's easy and quick. We also offer a paper intake form that can be downloaded and mailed to us. Please note, the paper intake form will add time to review, so feel free to contact our membership coordinator if you’d prefer to fill it out online and require assistance.
How do I know if the distributors are reporting for me or not?
Each quarter, our enrolled distributors automatically send us eligible Kentucky Proud purchase information for all enrolled restaurants/food service entities. We work closely with our distributor partners and keep them abreast of new enrollees each quarter – even if you’ve never been in the program before. When your calculations are completed, we will send you a copy of what was calculated, and you may double-check that your distributor did report on your behalf and what was reported to us by them.
You do not need to send in copies of invoices from these distributors. We hope this saves you time.
How do I obtain Kentucky Proud stickers, labels, bags, etc.?
The Office of Agricultural Marketing (OAM) offers some branded marketing materials to our members through the At-Cost Promotional Program. These items are offered to our members at cost, with no profit to us. Take a look at the items we currently have to offer.
How do I qualify to participate?
Your restaurant or other food service entity must have an active membership status in Kentucky Proud. If needed, apply online for your Kentucky Proud membership at no cost.
You must submit your completed Buy Local Application and await your official approval date into the program.
This “approval date” will be used to verify reimbursement eligibility of your purchases. Purchases made before this date will not be eligible.
You must be able to submit invoices or receipts showing your eligible farm-food purchases or purchase eligible products from an enrolled distributor that will report purchases on your behalf.
How long does it take to be approved?
There is no set review time, as it varies for each application. The time it takes to review your eligibility will depend on the complexity of your application. If you have questions about your application status, feel free to contact the membership coordinator at any time.
I bought Kentucky Proud grits from a grocery store, and I know these grits are made from 100% Kentucky farm-grown grain. Would an item like this be eligible for 15% reimbursement even though I didn’t buy it from a farm?
Yes, as long as the Kentucky Proud item you purchased from the store is made from Kentucky farm ingredients, then it can be considered for the 15% reward (with an appropriate receipt or invoice). If the grits you purchased from the store are indeed made from 100% grain grown on a Kentucky farm, then this item would be coded as Gold.
I buy from Kentucky Proud members at a farmers’ market, but sometimes the farmers don’t have a way to give me a receipt. Is there a way I can track and submit those purchases?
If they are able to informally handwrite a receipt with the date, quantity, total, item description, farm name and contact info – that could be a way to submit such purchases. Or, we have a limited number of receipt pads available at no cost for Buy Local program participants. You may request these from Chad.Smith@ky.gov and take it with you to the farmers’ market or farm.
I don’t see the product I’m offering listed. Does this mean I’m not eligible?
Not necessarily! Though we regularly update the list of eligible products on our application, we understand there may be products we’ve not yet encountered. If you offer a product that is not listed on the application, complete as much of the application as you possibly can. We will follow up by email or phone to get any additional information we might need.
I’m no longer operating a business/farm – what should I do?
If your business or farm is no longer in operation, it is important that you contact us by email or phone to let us know. Once we receive notice, we will mark your membership inactive and you will no longer appear on our website, in search results, or in marketing campaigns.
I purchase my produce from a local Kentucky farmer, but he is not a registered Kentucky Proud member. Are these purchases eligible?
We encourage the local farmer to apply for Kentucky Proud membership so that both you and the farmer can benefit from the program. The online application is available at no cost.
Once the farmer has become a Kentucky Proud member, the invoices or receipts you submit from the farmer may then be eligible for reimbursement consideration. Plus, the farmer may now take advantage of the benefits Kentucky Proud has to offer and can market themselves to other restaurants and food service entities.
I submitted a paper intake form and I’ve been approved. How do I access my online account?
If you submitted your original application on a paper intake form and have been approved for membership, you will need to contact our membership coordinator to obtain your login information for you online account.
I submitted a paper intake form – can I check the status of my application online?
No. If you submitted a paper intake form application, you will not have access to an online account. If you’re approved for membership, an account will be set up for you at that time.
I think my business/product might qualify, but I’m not sure – should I apply?
If you’re not sure if you qualify, go ahead and apply. Once we have your application, our staff can review the information provided on your application and determine if your business qualifies for the program based upon our eligibility requirements.
Is there a deadline to submit an application for Kentucky Proud?
No. Kentucky Proud accepts new applications year-round.
My restaurant is about to switch to a new type of flour. How do I know if this is eligible for the 15% reimbursement?
We are happy to answer questions related to specific products or brands. Feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to see if your particular item is eligible for reimbursement.
My restaurant is located in Kentucky, but we are right across the border from other states and buy “local” from those states. Are these ingredients eligible?
Products grown or raised in other states are not eligible for reimbursement, even though the products might be “local” to your geographical location. The goal of Kentucky Proud’s Buy Local program is to support Kentucky farms and Kentucky agriculture.
The Kentucky Proud member farm I purchase from is not on the vendor list. Are they not an eligible vendor?
The vendor list is only updated a couple times a year based on those that have sold to participating restaurants. If a farm isn’t listed, that doesn’t mean they aren’t eligible. As long as they are a Kentucky Proud member, provide a receipt, and the ingredients come from a Kentucky farm, then those items can be considered for reimbursement. If the farm is not Kentucky Proud, we encourage them to register as a member so that both you and the farmer can benefit from the Kentucky Proud program. Vendors can apply online at no cost.
We’re just a small, family-run farm – should we apply?
Absolutely! Offering farm-fresh eggs at your local farmers’ market? Creating small-batch soaps from your goat’s milk and selling it online? Kentucky farm families are at the heart of our program, and we want to help you grow your business. If you are a Kentucky farm-business that markets at least one agriculture product, we can’t wait for you to join us.
What about Kentucky Proud products that are sold through my gift shop or store?
Products which are not further prepared by your business as part of your menu offering and are simply offered for resale/retail through your gift stop or storefront are not eligible for reimbursement. Applicants are encouraged to contact us for further clarity.
What are the benefits of being Kentucky Proud?
Kentucky Proud members can use our brand’s widely recognized logo to let others know that they are offering an agricultural product made in Kentucky. As a part of your membership, you’ll also have access to grant opportunities, online promotion, and networking. View a complete list of Kentucky Proud programs and member incentives.
What if I don’t have reliable online access?
We understand that not everyone has reliable internet access, and we are happy to provide you with a paper intake form. The paper form can be mailed to you upon request, or your county extension agent may be able to provide you with a copy. Alternatively, if you do have internet access but prefer a paper form, simply download a printable copy.
What is the deadline to enroll in the Buy Local program?
There is no deadline for enrollment in Buy Local. However, purchases are not eligible for reimbursement until the date your application has been received and approved. Reimbursement requests prior to enrollment in Buy Local will not be accepted. Enrollment in the 2021-2022 Buy Local program will provide the participant reimbursement eligibility for purchases made through December 31, 2022, contingent upon funding availability and compliance with all terms of the program.
Who is eligible to join Kentucky Proud?
Kentucky Proud is free and open to the Commonwealth’s farms and businesses that produce and sell Kentucky agriculture products with direct farm impact. For consideration, applicants should maintain primary business operations in Kentucky and be able to identify their impact on Kentucky’s agriculture. Interested in becoming Kentucky Proud? Learn more about our membership advantages.
How will I know if I’m approved?
You can check the status of your application through your online account. Under the “member info” section of your account dashboard, you should see the status of your application. An approved application will show the word “active” next to your business or farm name, an application in review will show the word “pending,” and a denied application will show the word “denied.” If you have more specific questions about your application or submission status, please contact the Kentucky Proud membership coordinator.
I’m already a member. Can I update my information now or do I have to wait until the renewal period?
You can update your business information at any time. You can review the information we have on record by logging in to your online account and reviewing your application. To make changes, just edit the application and choose “submit.” Please note, this is not the same as applying for a new membership. If you submit an updated application, we will review your information and approve any changes that qualify. Your Kentucky Proud number will remain the same.