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....

Quarles in communication with farm credit system leaders, says they want to help during pandemic

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles is joining Central Kentucky Ag Credit, River Valley Ag Credit, and Farm Credit Mid-America to assure Kentucky farm families that the state’s farm credit associations are ready to assist farmers during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. “Many Kentucky farm families are concerned about their financial situation given the coronavirus pandemic,”...

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles honors soybean growers during Kentucky Soybean Week

Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles honored Kentucky’s soybean producers by proclaiming Soybean Week in Kentucky the week of March 9. “Kentucky soybean producers punch above their weight class,” Commissioner Quarles said. “Our soybean growers are tough and optimistic people. I think I speak for everyone when I say our soybean farm families are hopeful for the 2020 season, which also happens...

Ryan Quarles: Phoenix, Bloomberg uninformed about middle America — especially hard-working farmers

Hard-working people in middle and rural America are under attack from all corners of our country these days. No matter where you turn, actors and politicians are consistently misinforming people about the basics of agriculture and belittling working families across the nation. First came actor Joaquin Phoenix, who won the best actor award for the movie Joker. In his acceptance speech, he attacked...

Quarles asks Ky’s congressional delegation to help with FDA’s ‘bureaucratic paralysis’ surrounding hemp

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles is calling upon the state’s Congressional delegation to help what he terms the “bureaucratic paralysis” by the Food and Drug Administration which says is hindering Kentucky’s burgeoning hemp industry. Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has run into some roadblocks in help the hemp industry in Kentucky. (Kentucky...

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...

StoneBrook Winery of Camp Springs takes top honors in seventh annual Kentucky wine competition

StoneBrook Winery of Camp Springs took home two of the five Commissioner’s Cup awards at the seventh annual Kentucky Commonwealth Commercial Wine Competition and Commissioner’s Cup earlier this month in Lexington. “Kentucky wines continued to show progress in quality at this year’s competition,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “A highly qualified panel of judges awarded medals...

Kentucky launches selling farmers tax credit program to sustain agricultural industry

Kentucky has launched a new program offering farmers incentives for selling their property to beginning farmers, an effort to further sustain one of the state’s most important industries. Gov. Matt Bevin and partner organizations announced the Kentucky Selling Farmer Tax Credit (KSFTC) program, which will begin accepting applications Dec. 16. Gov. Matt Bevin “Farmers are a vital part of Kentucky’s...

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...

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...

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...

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...