A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Pew Trusts: Many first-time growers still don’t have buyers, but keep dreaming big with risky hemp crops

By April Simpson and Sophie Quinton Pew Charitable Trusts Standing between two rows of thigh-high hemp crops close to the Tennessee-Kentucky border, the retired owner of a New Hampshire convenience store cheerfully recalled why he chose to grow his first hemp crop this year. Barry Paterno, 67, is a gardener, not a farmer — he likes to grow tomatoes and corn. But he saw on the local TV news that an...

Ryan Quarles elected vice president of National Association of State Departments of Agriculture

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles was elected vice president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) at its annual meeting. “I am grateful to my counterparts in the other states for electing me to such a prestigious office,” Quarles said. “Policy makers at the federal and state levels will address trade, low commodity prices, the growth of the hemp...

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles proclaims Sept. 15-21 as Farm Safety and Health Week

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has proclaimed the week of Sept. 15-21 as Farm Safety and Health Week in Kentucky to encourage farmers and farm workers to put safety first at all times. “Farmers face all sorts of risks in the course of their work – machinery accidents, chemical exposure, unruly livestock, grain bin entrapment, severe weather, and many others,” Quarles said. “In Kentucky,...

Voluntary donations to Department of Agriculture ‘Ag Tag’ program reach second-highest total in FY 2019

Kentucky farmers donated $613,246.37 to the Ag Tag Program in the 2019 fiscal year ended June 30, slightly more than the total for fiscal 2018 and the second-highest total in the history of the program, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles announced. “The Ag Tag Program has succeeded in providing much-needed funding for promoting agriculture and educating Kentucky’s youth on the importance of...

Quarles invites Kentuckians to visit 115th Kentucky State Fair; mid-summer showcase runs Aug. 15-25

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles is inviting all Kentuckians to visit the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s mid-summer showcase at the 115th Kentucky State Fair Aug. 15-25 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville. “The Kentucky State Fair brings the best of Kentucky agriculture together in one location,” Quarles said. “The fair is a golden opportunity for farmers to talk to the...

Kentuckians invited to celebrate Farmers’ Markets Week by visiting markets, posting to Instagram

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles invites Kentuckians to celebrate Kentucky Farmers’ Markets Week by visiting a local market and posting photos from their visit to Instagram in August. Entrants could win a basket of Kentucky Proud products. For the second year in a row, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) is conducting the social media contest to commemorate Farmers’ Markets Week Aug....

Ryan Quarles: Farms to Food Banks reduces hunger, helps farmers recoup losses for produce not sold

When you and your family shop for local produce at your farmers’ market or grocery store this summer, what will you look for? A recent study found that most people look for produce without any blemishes. What happens to produce with a cosmetic blemish? At the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA), we work to steer that nutritious produce to hungry Kentuckians in need through a program called Farms...

Ryan Quarles elected president of Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles was elected president of the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture (SASDA) for 2019-20 in its annual conference this week. “I am honored and humbled to be elected by my peers in the other southern state departments of agriculture,” Quarles said. “This position will enable me to utilize Kentucky’s positive relationship with the...

Ryan Quarles: Hemp History Week — take a moment to reflect on where we’ve been with this versatile crop

George Washington. Thomas Jefferson. Henry Clay. These great Americans grew hemp in the United States long before it became illegal over much of the 20th century. This year, Kentucky has around 1,000 licensed hemp growers and more than 130 licensed hemp processors who are joining the ranks of the great Americans who have grown hemp. This Hemp History Week, it’s important to remember where our state...

Kentucky’s Harlan County High School is runner-up in Regional Junior Chef Competition

North Carolina edged out Kentucky on Friday – not on the basketball court, but in the kitchen. Apex High School of North Carolina prevailed in the second annual Southeast Region Junior Chef Competition at Sullivan University in Louisville. Kentucky champion Harlan County High School was the runner-up among the state champion high school culinary teams from six states. “These teams are what Junior...

Kentucky cattle producers, clothing store ‘Raising the Steaks’ against hunger as part of KDA’s initiative

Kentucky’s beef industry is celebrating Beef Month by “Raising the Steaks” against hunger in May. For the second year in a row, the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association, the Kentucky Beef Council, and Wildcat Wearhouse are teaming up on a T-shirt to honor the Commonwealth’s beef cattle industry while helping Kentuckians in need. Gov. Matt Bevin prepares to ceremonially sign House Bill 311 as...

Ag Commissioner Quarles announces grants to 25 Kentucky food pantries as part of Hunger Initiative

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has announced 25 Kentucky food pantries will have additional cold storage space, thanks to grants from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA). Ag Commissioner Quarles celebrates grant awards to Kentucky food pantries. “We launched the Hunger Initiative nearly three years ago to look for solutions to food insecurity in Kentucky,” Agriculture Commissioner...

Kentucky Department of Agriculture sponsoring Kentucky Proud Direct Farm Marketing contest

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has announced the Direct Farm Marketing Division is sponsoring a contest for Kentucky FFA members actively involved in the production, growth, and marketing of farm commodities or value-added products. “What better way to get our youth in the habit of going to a farmers’ market than a contest?” Commissioner Quarles said. “Kentucky FFA students are some...

Sales of Ky. hemp products more than tripled in 2018 compared to 2017; farmers paid twice as much

Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles announced Monday that sales of Kentucky hemp products in 2018 were more than three and a half times higher than the previous year and that the amount that farmers were paid for their harvests more than doubled. “When I became Commissioner of Agriculture, I promised to make Kentucky the epicenter of hemp production in the United States,” Commissioner...

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles proclaims week of March 4 as Soybean Week in Kentucky

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles saluted Kentucky’s soybean producers by proclaiming Soybean Week in Kentucky the week of March 4. “Kentucky soybean growers produced a record crop in 2018,” Commissioner Quarles said. “Kentucky is recognized as a national leader in the American soybean industry with our own Davie Stephens of Clinton serving as president of the American Soybean Association...

New website launched to better serve Kentucky’s veterinary community, will provide vital information

The new Kentucky Board of Veterinary Examiners (KBVE) website provides vital information and services to Kentucky veterinarians, veterinary technicians, animal owners, and citizens with just a few clicks. The website address is kybve.com. “We are proud to provide a modern, user-friendly website for anyone who might have an interest in the work of the KBVE,” board chair Dr. Steven Wills said. “The...

Agriculture commissioner applauds national organization’s adoption of new policies on hemp

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles on Tuesday applauded a national organization of government agriculture officials for adopting a new hemp policy that recognizes its economic potential and encourages uniformity in regulation. Commissioner Quarles authored the policy based on Kentucky’s existing hemp regulatory framework. The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA)...

Kentucky agribusinesses award USDA farm to school engagement grants for marketing needs

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has announced ten Kentucky agribusinesses have been awarded United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm to School Producer Engagement grants for training, equipment, and other needs to enable farmers to develop or enhance their farm-to-school marketing efforts. “These grants will enable these Kentucky farm families and agribusinesses to improve their...

Kentucky Department of Agriculture seeking nominations for 2019 Leopold Conservation Award

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is inviting Kentuckians to nominate a farmer or forester for the 2019 Kentucky Leopold Conservation Award. “The Leopold Conservation Award celebrates Kentucky farmers and foresters who go above and beyond in the care and management of natural resources,” Commissioner Quarles said. “The nominees carry on Kentucky’s proud tradition of conserving important...

Deputy sheriff, third-grade teacher win Kentucky Proud Weddings Contest grand prize of $5,000

Justin and Christa Conley of Ewing won the second Kentucky Proud Weddings Contest, which includes a $5,000 grand prize package, The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has announced. “I want to thank the Conleys for making Kentucky Proud a part of their special day,” said Agricuture Commssioner Ryan Quarles. “We started Kentucky Proud Weddings to give our farm families an easy way to earn a share...