Coldiron also said maintaining the amount of funds that go to agriculture from the tobacco master settlement at 50 percent "does not seem unreasonable," but he would like to see the details of the bill in question.
Coldiron suggested hemp crops may be a good way for Kentucky farmers to make money, if the controversy surrounding hemp and the federal laws prohibiting it can be dealt with.
"I know there's a lot of controversy over the issue but … it's at least as good a cash crop as tobacco," he said.
Coldiron was strongly supportive of emphasizing state career and technical education programs. Such programs are one of his primary campaign issues, he said.
"We need to teach them a skill," he said. "That way, if they can't afford to go to college, maybe they can work."
Shelton was perhaps the most short-winded of the four candidates. Shelton kept most of his answers to a few sentences at most, providing a one-word answer — "yes" — to the idea that technical and career programs are an important priority.
On the issue of property rights and eminent domain, Shelton said, "your property is your property and I don't care what you do with yours if you don't care what I do with mine," eliciting laughs from the audience.
When talking about House Bill 44, which works to limit annual property tax increases to no more than 4 percent, Shelton said he strongly dislikes any increase in taxes and thinks revenues should be increased by growing the economy rather than raising taxes.
"I hate taxes more than the Lord hates sin," he said. "And that's a pretty big statement."
Shelton, a farmer from Crab Orchard, stated and re-stated many times during the discussion his support for farmers like himself.
"I support any program that's going to protect farmers," he said during discussion of grain elevator and inspection programs.
Meade, a Stanford resident, said debt service that gets pulled out of tobacco master settlement funds reduces how much money is available to be put into agriculture. He would like to see the debt service costs covered elsewhere so more of the settlement money would be freed up.
"This money has really helped our farmers around the state, but especially those that were tobacco farmers," he said.
On the issue of a cost-sharing program for pollution and run-off control, Meade said funding for the program was dropping off from $9 million to $6 million in 2012, with another drop to $3 million planned for next year. Meade said his idea to transfer debt service costs away from the master settlement would be one way to free up funds for keeping the cost-share program around.
While talking about funding for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Meade said, "The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is the only state agency that affects every one of our citizens every day."
Eaton, a Rockcastle County resident, mentioned several times his personal friendship with Danny Ford, who was his Sunday school teacher while he was growing up.
On the issue of cost-sharing for pollution and run-off control, Eaton said he was unsure exactly what he could do for farmers, but whatever he would be able to do, he would do it.
Talking about Kentucky Department of Agriculture funding, Eaton said, "I can't imagine anyone trying to cut funding and I can say that I would fight to keep the funding."
Eaton, who worked in insurance before becoming a preacher at a Rockcastle County church, described himself as a "very conservative" Republican who was against "big government."
Eaton said while campaigning for Ford's seat, he's been on roads in Lincoln County he had never been on before and has seen first-hand the importance of good roads.
"I will fight to get the funds that we need in our district for our roads," he said.