A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Fish and Wildlife Resources cancels conservation camps; decision protects families from COVID-19

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources will not offer its summer conservation camps this year due to the novel coronavirus. “We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience,” Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Rich Storm said. ”However, this is a necessary step we had to take to protect the health and safety of our campers, their families and our staff.” This decision was...

UK specialist says to plan ahead for equine feed needs, but no need to overbuy during pandemic

By Aimee Nielson University of Kentucky The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of overbuying of food, and this is not only at the grocery stores. Horse owners may have an urge to buy more feed than usual. Bob Coleman, extension equine specialist for the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, urged horse owners to take a step back and think before making extra feed purchases. “I...

Kentucky 4-H summer camping program suspended for 2020 due to pandemic, gathering restrictions

By Laura Skillman University of Kentucky Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and current gathering restrictions, the Kentucky 4-H program is suspending its traditional 10-week summer camp at its four regional camping centers. “The 4-H camp directors are working to create an alternative schedule that will be modified based on the number of weeks available once gathering restrictions are lifted,” said Mark...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Warm temps bring out ticks early, and these bloodsuckers don’t social distance

When temperatures spiked into the upper 70s in early April, grasses and clover hit a growth spurt, flowers bloomed and trees began to bud out. Our early spring was welcomed during this mentally challenging time, but the fast warm-up brought ticks out a little earlier than normal. While doing yard work, bank fishing around ponds and streams, gardening, hunting wild turkeys or just taking the dog for...

Kentucky distilleries donate nearly 125,000 gallons of hand sanitizer to frontline coronavirus organizations

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association has announced that member distilleries have produced and donated nearly 125,000 gallons of desperately needed hand sanitizer across the Commonwealth to frontline workers, hospitals and healthcare facilities. In the last few weeks, KDA distillers – from the largest to the smallest – retooled their facilities, sourced necessary supplies, battled regulatory and...

Origami project suggested by Kentucky 4-H State Teen Council member offers message of hope

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky An origami project suggested by a Kentucky 4-H State Teen Council member aims to bring hope to Kentuckians in these uncertain times. The 4-H 1,000 Paper Crane Project involves Kentucky 4-H’ers and supporters making at least 1,000 origami cranes. It was the idea of Lily Martin, a 4-H’er and State Teen Council member from Webster County. She brought up the idea...

UK economist says cattle markets constantly swinging in volatile COVID-19 economy

By Aimee Nielson University of Kentucky Cattle markets are swinging up and down amid the COVID-19 economy. University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment economist Kenny Burdine said prices are constantly changing, “almost as fast as we can type.” “I can tell you what’s going on right now, but by next week, things could be very different,” he said. Cattle markets made...

Rural Blog: Citing costs of pandemic, coal companies ask Congress to reduce black lung coal tax

Citing the economic cost of the coronavirus pandemic, coal companies are asking Congress to let them pay less of the excise tax that pays for miners’ black-lung benefits. The move would force the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, a Labor Department program already about $4 billion in debt to the Treasury, to borrow more money from the federal government to remain solvent, Will Englund reports...

Eastern Kentucky lags significantly behind rest of Kentucky and nation in census response

By Ron Daley Special to KyForward Eastern Kentucky is significantly lagging the state and other parts of the nation in responding to the U.S. Census which will determine future federal funding as well as representation in federal and state legislative seats. According to data filed by the U.S. Census on April 7 the 5th Congressional District representing eastern Kentucky response rate as only 34.9%...

Kentucky Science and Engineering Fair participants adapt, overcome, give hope during 18th annual event

The 18th annual Kentucky Science and Engineering Fair was held March 28 in virtual form. Originally planned for Eastern Kentucky University’s Alumni Coliseum, the fair instead occurred simultaneously in 567 homes. Overall, 346 students representing 305 projects participated virtually to compete for awards in 22 middle school and 22 high school categories ranging from animal sciences to robotics and...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Kentucky’s 23-day spring wild turkey season getting a late start in 2020

Due to calendar shift Kentucky’s 2020 spring wild turkey season is starting five days later than last year and two weeks after the youth-only season, which was held last weekend, April 4-5. By regulation, the 23-day general statewide season opens on the Saturday closest to April 15 each year. This year’s season dates are Saturday, April 18, through Sunday, May 10. Fields are greening up fast because...

UK scientist says no shortage in meat supply despite panic buying in America during pandemic

By Aimee Nielson University of Kentucky By the looks of grocery store meat cases, many Americans may believe there is a shortage in the U.S. meat supply. But, University of Kentucky of meat scientist Gregg Rentfrow explained that is not the case. “Rest assured, what we have been witnessing is panic buying and stockpiling,” he said. “People are simply buying more meat, and it is no indication...

Kentucky cattle producers finding alternate ways of purchasing bulls while social distancing

By Aimee Nielson University of Kentucky Traditionally, buying bulls is a very social business. Producers often visit farms, go to auctions or open houses to purchase animals, but that’s out of the question until the travel restrictions and social distancing requirements of COVID-19 begin to loosen. “Many seedstock producers are already using the internet to help market their bulls, and this crisis...

Jim Claypool Art and Conservation Writing Contest winners learn importance of wildlife

The Kentucky Division of Conservation, in partnership with the Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts and the Kentucky Farm Bureau, recently honored the winners of the 2019 Jim Claypool Art and Conservation Writing Contest. The contests’ theme, Things That Fly, helped students from across the state learn more about the importance of wildlife in Kentucky. The students used that knowledge...

UK Cooperative Extension Service readily offers assistance with local food distribution programs

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Staff with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service are working with local partners to help some of the most vulnerable members in their communities find food during the COVID-19 pandemic. “In smaller counties that are pressed for resources, it’s important that extension readily partners with other community organizations to serve local vulnerable...

Kentucky State Parks, Kentucky Horse Park open for daytime use only to prevent spread of COVID-19

As part of an ongoing effort to ensure the health and wellness of the public as Kentucky fights aggressively to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet announced that the Kentucky Horse Park and Kentucky State Parks will be open to the public for daytime use only. Effective Friday (April 3), Kentucky State Parks and the Kentucky Horse Park will suspend all overnight reservations...

Rural Blog: Meth from Mexican cartels increasing in Appalachia, fed partly by move to cut opioid access

Central Appalachia has been long known as a hotbed of opioid addiction, but, aided by a Mexican drug cartel, methamphetamine abuse has been surging in the area for the past few years, presaging a nationwide increase in abuse of a more powerful form of the drug. Crystal methamphetamine (DEA photo) “The region where Kentucky meets Ohio and West Virginia has served as a harbinger of national drug...

KDA relaxing guidelines to allow more Kentuckians to receive food from food banks

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) is temporarily relaxing income requirements through April 30 to allow more Kentuckians to receive food from food banks during the COVID-19 pandemic. “This is an extremely tough time for many Kentuckians who have lost their jobs or had their income slashed because of the coronavirus pandemic,” Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles said. “Our...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: April is crappie month in Kentucky; vary tackle and techniques for success

A crappie is a crappie… well not exactly. The two species found in Kentucky waters look a lot alike, but their seasonal movements and habitat preferences are slightly different, so anglers need to vary their tackle and techniques for success. Here’s some strategies and observations about fishing in April, arguably our best month to catch crappie: Black Crappie (Image from U.S. Fish and Wildlife...

UK’s James B. Beam Institute providing sanitizer to health care workers, instructions to spirits industry

By Aimee Nielson University of Kentucky The COVID-19 pandemic is creating shortages of sanitizing products in hospitals. Across the nation, spirits distillers are stepping up to help and using their products and equipment to make hand sanitizer for healthcare workers. At the University of Kentucky, The James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits is making sanitizer and going a step further by creating...