A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky farmers now eligible for small business loans to retain employees during pandemic

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Kentucky farmers are now eligible to benefit from a new program through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Until passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, Economic Security (CARES) Act, farmers were excluded from SBA’s emergency loan programs. “Since taking office four years ago, I have always advocated for federal agencies and the public to see our 75,000...

Ryan Quarles: During global pandemic, buy local, support and honor the American farmer even more

Last week, Kentucky farm families celebrated “National Agriculture Week,” but as you can imagine, our annual celebration was quieter than usual, given our ongoing fight against the global COVID-19 pandemic. As I talked to members of the media and neighbors to promote the celebration, they bombarded me with the following questions: Are we going to run out of food? Is our food supply safe? How can...

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...

Quarles praises Kentucky farm community On National Ag Day; recognizes ag economic impact

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles is encouraging all Kentuckians to celebrate Kentucky’s agriculture community on National Ag Day and all week long during National Ag Week. “It’s important to realize during National Ag Week that Kentucky’s 75,000 farm families are responsible for more than 352,000 jobs and $45.86 billion of economic output in the Commonwealth,” said Quarles....

KDA responds to students learning at home due to pandemic by generating education opportunities

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) is responding to the state’s school students currently learning at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic by generating ag education opportunities for students. “The KDA is announcing two ways that students can learn about agriculture at home during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles. “We are extending...

Kentucky State Board of Agriculture is accepting applications for new deputy state veterinarian

The Kentucky State Board of Agriculture has begun the search for a new deputy state veterinarian following the resignation of Dr. Bradley Keough, who will leave in March to take a position with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). “Farmers and other agriculture-related representatives that make up the State Board of Agriculture have the authority to hire both the state veterinarian and deputy...

Quarles encourages Kentucky Proud members, local organizations to apply for promotional programs

Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles is encouraging Kentucky Proud members and local organizations to apply for three Kentucky Proud promotional programs. “Kentucky Proud grant programs help promote the Commonwealth’s local foods and agricultural products,” Quarles said. “As a result, these grants also help Kentucky family farms and agricultural businesses succeed. The aim of these grants...

Summit to promote local, sustainable food systems in Ky. set for Feb. 26 at UK’s Gatton Student Center

The second annual Kentucky Local Food Systems Summit will bring together the Commonwealth’s farm and food community for a day of workshops, networking and conversations. The event will take place on Feb. 26 at the University of Kentucky’s Gatton Student Center. “The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is proud to support the second annual Kentucky Local Food Systems Summit,” Agriculture Commissioner...

Four county fair boards awarded $300,000; grants for new construction projects at fairgrounds

Four Kentucky county fairs boards were awarded $300,000 from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) for new construction projects, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has announced. “These grants will enable four deserving local fair boards to provide their citizens with a more enjoyable fair experience,” Quarles said. “Fairgrounds are important to rural Kentucky because they serve as...

KDA annual poster & essay contest — ‘Kentucky Farmers: Ready, Set, Grow’ — accepting submissions

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles is inviting Kentucky students to enter the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s (KDA) annual poster and essay contest. The theme of the 2020 contest is “Kentucky Farmers: Ready, Set, Grow.” “I hope every Kentucky student will submit an entry to express in art and writing how our farmers all across the state are helping to grow the safest, most abundant...

Hemp application period underway, deadline for growers is March 15; summit Dec. 4 in Louisville

The window to apply for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s 2020 hemp licensing program is now open, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles announced. “Kentucky’s hemp industry had a banner year in 2019 with nearly 1,000 growers and an influx of processors,” Commissioner Quarles said. “We expect that momentum to continue in 2020, and we look forward to seeing more farmers apply to grow...

Buy Local funds exhausted, Quarles cites ‘testament to the strength of Kentucky’s local food culture’

Funding for reimbursements under the Buy Local program has been exhausted for 2019, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles announced. Buy Local is a Kentucky Proud initiative that rewards participating restaurants, distributors, and other foodservice businesses for buying Kentucky food products. “This is a testament to the strength of Kentucky’s local food culture,” Quarles said. “More and more,...

Kentucky Proud launches statewide 2019 holiday ad campaign to showcase Kentucky farm products

Kentucky consumers are reminded that “the freshest gift ideas come from Kentucky farms” in the 2019 Kentucky Proud holiday advertising campaign that will launch statewide next week. “Kentucky Proud products make unique, thoughtful gifts from the Commonwealth we all love,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “Buying Kentucky Proud also helps support Kentucky farm families and small...

Department of Agriculture to host first Hemp Summit Dec. 4 at Louisville’s Kentucky Exposition Center

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) will host a Kentucky Hemp Summit on Dec. 4 for those interested in learning more about the hemp industry, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has announced. “We decided to host a Kentucky Hemp Summit so that Kentuckians can learn more about this crop that connects the Commonwealth’s past to its future,” Quarles said. “The Summit will feature...

KDFWR increasing monitoring of deer and elk for chronic wasting disease as hunting season returns

As hunters return to the woods and fields for the fall seasons, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is increasing its efforts to monitor the state for chronic wasting disease (CWD) at the same time. Seventeen years ago, the department recognized an encroaching threat to Kentucky’s deer and elk herds and took steps to prevent the spread of CWD to the state. Now, in 2019, the agency...

New recipe card series — ‘Cook Wild Kentucky’ — to educate Kentuckians on how to prepare wild game

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources are teaming up to raise awareness about “Cook Wild Kentucky,” a new recipe card series from the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment aimed at educating Kentuckians on how to prepare wild game. “It is an unfortunate reality that 1 in 6 Kentuckians is food...

KDA connects farmers to Kentucky schools in October, holds high school culinary competition

School districts throughout Kentucky will hold special events to celebrate Farm to School Month in October and raise awareness of the advantages of serving local foods to Kentucky school children. “Farm to school helps Kentucky students get access to fresh, nutritious local foods that will help them to grow up strong and healthy,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “At the same time,...

New film ‘Silo’ combines farm safety education, entertainment; premieres in Kentucky on Oct. 12

A film about the dangers of entrapment in grain bins — “Silo” — will premiere in Kentucky at the Louisville International Festival of Film on Oct. 12 at the Muhammad Ali Center, 144 N. Sixth St. “I’m proud to say that the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Farm and Home Safety Program was consulted for this film,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said, noting much of the movie...

Kentucky hemp program application period for 2020 opens Nov. 15 with new online application

Kentucky hemp growers and processors may apply for a hemp license from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s (KDA) hemp program for 2020 beginning Nov. 15, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has announced. Ryan Quarles “We are constantly looking for ways to improve our hemp program,” Quarles said. “We are making significant changes to the application process for the 2020 growing season...

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...