A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky 4-H’ers finding safe, effective ways to impact their communities during COVID-19 pandemic

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Kentucky 4-H’ers are finding safe and effective ways to brighten people’s days and make their communities better places to live during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Nelson County, a group from the county’s 4-H teen council decided to host an online community service club on Zoom. Named 4-H Helping Hands, the group was led by the teens and met weekly during the...

Farmer-researcher partnerships are backbone of agricultural advances in fields across Kentucky

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Agriculture is advancing in fields across Kentucky thanks to farmers willing to take the time and share their land for research. Scientists in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment engage with an extensive network of producers in all disciplines. The partnerships do not form overnight but over the course of numerous meetings, developing...

UK researchers say plant reproduction finding could lead to more reliable crop production, higher yields

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Understanding the mechanisms behind successful plant reproduction can lead to more reliable crop production and higher yields. In a recent study, an international group of scientists led by researchers from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment identified signaling and motor proteins that help guide the male nuclei toward its female...

UK Extension Service volunteers fulfill need of region’s health care workers during pandemic

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky As COVID-19 cases escalated across the state, a group of University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service volunteers in Northeast Kentucky stepped up to make sure local health care workers had proper protection to administer COVID-19 tests. The Lewis County Extension office was contacted by Primary Plus, which operates 10 clinics across the region. The health...

Despite COVID-19 impacts in past year, Kentucky agricultural receipts hold steady to 2019 levels

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky The COVID-19 pandemic made for a tumultuous year in Kentucky agriculture, but the state’s agricultural receipts will likely hold steady to 2019 levels. Agricultural economists from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment are projecting 2020 farm cash receipts to be $5.5 billion, equaling 2019 receipts. The economists estimate that...

Bake-A-Long keeps 4-H’ers in the kitchen during pandemic, returning normalcy to everyday life

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky A University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service club is keeping young people engaged with 4-H and returning some normalcy to their lives during these uncertain times by teaching them to bake. Each month, nearly 100 youth sign on to the videoconferencing platform Zoom to participate in the monthly meetings of the Kentucky 4-H Bake-A-Long Club. During the...

Eastern Kentucky Hay Contest helps region’s producers improve forages, livestock

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky For more than 25 years, the Eastern Kentucky Hay Contest has helped the region’s forage and livestock producers improve their operations. The contest, which is a free program of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, allows producers in participating counties to submit hay samples to UK for testing each fall. “The great thing about the hay...

Working with plants provides comfort to UK graduate student and U.S. Army veteran Eric Luteyn

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Standing in a field of hundreds of varieties of teff at the University of Kentucky Spindletop Research Farm, graduate student Eric Luteyn is at peace studying the differences between the plants. After a decade of military service that ended in a medical discharge, peace is exactly what the disabled veteran needs. “Plants are peaceful and beautiful,” said Luteyn,...

UK soil physicist begins on-farm variable rate irrigation research at site in Western Kentucky

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky A University of Kentucky research project that could have significant impacts for Kentucky grain producers with irrigated acres is beginning on a Western Kentucky farm. Ole Wendroth, soil physicist in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is leading a study examining the effects of a variable rate irrigation system that, to his knowledge, is the...

UK researchers launch $2 million project to study sulfur problem in biofuel production, reduce pollution

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Sulfur found in biofuel feedstock poses serious problems to the industry, because it causes pollution, is toxic to the catalyst and corrosive to biorefinery equipment. A national group of scientists and industry partners led by researchers at the University of Kentucky is studying ways to reduce sulfur levels in pine byproducts used to produce biofuels. Pine byproducts,...

UK Fall Crop Protection webinar series begins in November; weekly series occurs on Tuesdays

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment specialists have organized a webinar series aimed at helping producers provide better protection for their grain crops. The 2020 Fall Crop Protection webinars begin Nov. 10 on the video conferencing app Zoom and will focus on new and common threats to Kentucky corn, soybeans and wheat. The weekly...

Virtual education brings UK Cooperative Extension into Kentucky homes during COVID-19 pandemic

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service agents have used creative techniques and the internet to meet their clients wherever they are during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Whether it is in-person or online, it is important to me that I reach my clientele,” said LaToya Drake, Barren County family and consumer sciences extension agent. “It made sense...

Wolfe County extension celebrates addiction recovery stories: ‘Drugs do not discriminate’

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Recovering from drug addiction can take many years with many bumps in the road along the way, as Wolfe County resident Dena Brooks can attest. Brooks has been in recovery for nearly six years. Today, she stays busy raising her daughter and working as the director of the Wolfe County senior citizens center. “My life is finally where it should be now,” she said....

UK Cooperative Extension Service agent receives national award for leadership, innovation

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky An agent with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service recently received national recognition for her visionary leadership and innovative programs. Jennifer Bridge, Meade County family and consumer sciences extension agent, was the recipient of the National Distinguished Service Award from Epilson Sigma Phi, an organization dedicated to extension...

UK researchers part of regional group working to reduce farmer stress during COVID-19 pandemic

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Unprecedented times have unleashed an enormous amount of new and unique stressors on American farm families. To help producers and their families better deal with stressful events, researchers in the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and College of Nursing have joined other scientists from across the South to develop resources...

Research shows native milkweed cultivars can support monarch butterflies, bees in urban gardens

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Millions of people plant pollinator gardens to provide monarch butterflies with food along their annual migration from their overwintering sites in the highland forests of central Mexico to their summer breeding grounds in the United States and southern Canada. For the first time, University of Kentucky entomologists have studied how effectively native milkweed...

UK Cooperative Extension program provides fun, raises community awareness during pandemic

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky As the COVID-19 pandemic continued to alter Americans’ everyday lives, an office of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service used the pandemic as an opportunity to foster community pride and promote its town’s local economy and history. Samantha Saunders, Robertson County extension agent, worked with community partners to design a scavenger...

Kentucky Grazing Conference goes virtual; Red Angus Association’s Johnny Rogers to speak

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kentucky Grazing Conference will occur online. The annual event, hosted by the Kentucky Forage and Grassland Council and the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, will occur on the videoconferencing platform Zoom during the evenings of Oct. 27-29. The conference begins each day at 5:50 p.m. CDT and lasts until 8...

UK agricultural engineer says timely soybean harvest important to maintain yields, quality of crops

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Kentucky has experienced a couple weeks of dry weather. As a result, soybean producers need to pay close attention to their crops to make sure they get them out of the field in a timely manner. “This year’s dry weather is the exact opposite of the wet conditions producers dealt with in fall 2019, and dry weather will push soybeans to mature quicker,” said...

UK agricultural economist says current grain markets favoring wheat, double-crop soybeans

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky As Kentucky producers begin to decide their planting intentions for the next growing season, current grain markets favor a wheat, double-crop soybean rotation over full-season soybeans. “Right now, expected market prices look incredibly attractive for Kentucky producers to plant wheat and double-crop soybeans in most scenarios,” said Greg Halich, agricultural...