A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Quarles urges Kentucky farmers to apply for federal coronavirus relief funds; portal closes Dec. 11

Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles is encouraging Kentucky farm families facing market disruptions and associated costs because of the coronavirus pandemic to sign up for the second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which opened on Sept. 21 and will run through Dec. 11. “Through the passage of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s CARES Act, the U.S. Department...

USDA proposes most cattle have electronic ear tags by 2023; switch to RFID tags strengthens ADT system

In an ongoing effort to increase animal traceability, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking public comment on a proposal that would only recognize radio frequency identification (RFID) devices as the official ear tag for interstate movement of cattle and bison that are required to be identified by animal disease traceability rules. Public comments will be accepted through Oct. 5 at the following...

UK’s Heart-2-Heart campaign expands to agriculture to thank Kentucky farmers for tireless work

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky They go to work bright and early every morning regardless of the day of the week or the weather conditions to help ensure Americans have the safest, freshest food supply in the world. To thank them for their tireless work, the University of Kentucky is expanding its Heart-2-Heart campaign to the state’s farmers. “Farmers are critical to Kentucky’s economy...

Agriculture Commissioner reminding Kentucky producers of American Farmland Trust grants

Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles wants Kentucky farmers to be aware of cash grants up to $1,000 available from the American Farmland Trust (AFT) to help weather potential market disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic. “American Farmland Trust says it best: ‘No farms, no food,’” Quarles said. “I want to praise this organization for launching a Farmer Relief Fund to provide...

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...

UK researchers, farmers, stakeholders celebrate official opening of Grain and Forage Center of Excellence

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky University of Kentucky researchers, Kentucky farmers and stakeholders celebrated the official opening of UK’s Grain and Forage Center of Excellence, a facility committed to moving the state’s and surrounding region’s agricultural community forward. “The Grain and Forage Center of Excellence reflects our land-grant mission in the 21st century,” UK...

Mitch McConnell: Hemp legalization opens new doors for Kentucky farmers, processors, manufacturers

Kentucky’s farmers are among the best in the world. It’s no surprise agriculture leaders from around the country are looking to the Bluegrass State and our prospering hemp industry. Right now, hemp is growing in 101 of our 120 counties and $100 million worth of Kentucky grown and processed hemp products are expected to be sold this year alone. Our Commonwealth is proud of our long history with...

Kentucky farmers forced to navigate options as shrinking cash flows cause financial pressure

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News service With a downturn in the farm economy, many Kentucky farmers are under increasing financial pressure – and there’s a new resource guide that could help. Low commodity prices are shrinking cash flow for many farmers, forcing some to take out more or higher interest loans. But Jonathan Shepherd – a farm management specialist in the University of Kentucky...

Kentucky Proud is on the menu at the Kentucky Derby Festival; events to feature local foods, drinks

Kentucky Derby Festival revelers can enjoy Kentucky Proud foods and beverages in events throughout the annual celebration of the Commonwealth’s signature event. “Kentucky Proud and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture are thrilled to be a part of the Kentucky Derby Festival again this year,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “In the run-up to the most exciting two minutes in sports,...

Bevin requests USDA emergency disaster declaration to provide low-interest loans for Kentucky farmers

Gov. Matt Bevin has submitted an emergency disaster designation and declaration request in support of Kentucky’s farmers to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. The request follows months of heavy rains and severe weather in the Commonwealth, resulting in flooding and wind damage in many Kentucky counties. These weather events adversely impacted the yield...

Ag Tech Scientific breaking ground on new facility to develop, manufacture heap products in Paris

AgTech Scientific will break ground today on a new facility to develop and manufacture hemp-based products in Paris. The facility is part of AgTech’s plan to work with Kentucky farmers to grow hemp and to partner with the University of Kentucky on research. The ceremony will take place in Paris, where AgTech is building a 50,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art structure on a 10-acre site in the Bourbon...

Kentucky’s agricultural economy slumps in 2015, but cash receipts still third highest on record

Kentucky agricultural cash receipts in 2015 are projected to be off 8 percent from last year’s record high, falling to $6 billion—still the third highest on record. On the national front, the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects cash receipts are down 10 percent from 2014. The outlook for 2016 remains depressed. “One of the major contributing factors to a slumping U.S./Kentucky ag economy...

When Seconds Count: ‘Ugly’ produce finds a home through Farm to Food Banks program

  ‘Pretty’ produce – largely without imperfections – is easier for a farmer to sell than the ‘ugly’ variety, called seconds. The Farm to Food Banks program, however, pays just under wholesale for these seconds and distributes them to food banks across Kentucky. (Photo by Tim Thornberry)   By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   As the state’s...

When Seconds Count: 'Ugly' produce finds a home through Farm to Food Banks program

  ‘Pretty’ produce – largely without imperfections – is easier for a farmer to sell than the ‘ugly’ variety, called seconds. The Farm to Food Banks program, however, pays just under wholesale for these seconds and distributes them to food banks across Kentucky. (Photo by Tim Thornberry)   By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   As the state’s...

With Kentucky’s crops keeping pace with 2013, could this be another record year?

By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   From a production standpoint, it would be difficult for Kentucky farmers to beat what they did last year.   Both soybean and corn production reached record levels, while tobacco prices rose to pre-quota buyout levels. Wheat producers also harvested a record crop, and by year’s end Kentucky agriculture cash receipts had flirted with the $6 billion...

Kentuckians can now donate to the Farms
to Food Banks program through tax refunds

By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   When the Kentucky General Assembly passed legislation several years ago to help farmers get their surplus produce – or “seconds” – to food banks, the legislation did not provide funding. Still, thanks to grants and donations, the Farm to Food Banks initiative has functioned, helping provide more food for the hungry and finding...

Industrial hemp gets ‘yes’ vote, but Farm Bill fails in the House of Representatives – again

By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   For supporters of legalizing industrial hemp, the morning of June 20 must have felt really good as an amendment to the House version of the Farm Bill that would have allowed colleges and universities to grow and research industrial hemp passed, albeit by a slim 225-200 margin.   Granted, it wasn’t as broad of an amendment as its Senate cousin,...

UK professor Brent Rowell helps build connections, transform agriculture in Burma

  By Derrick Meads and Sarah Geegan Special to KyForward   The University of Kentucky has increased its ability to engage in innovative agricultural development work in countries such Burma, through the return of Brent Rowell as the extension specialist in International and Sustainable Horticulture in the UK College of Agriculture.   Rowell began his career at UK as the state extension...