A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

UK sophomore Myers’ passion for agriculture pays off with election to national FFA office

By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   Boyle County native and University of Kentucky sophomore Ruth Ann Myers may be young, but she has a long history when it comes to agriculture education in the Commonwealth.   “I kind of grew up with agriculture in my blood. That is the way I like to say it. My whole family has been heavily involved in the agriculture industry,” she said.
   Her...

UK sophomore Myers' passion for agriculture pays off with election to national FFA office

By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   Boyle County native and University of Kentucky sophomore Ruth Ann Myers may be young, but she has a long history when it comes to agriculture education in the Commonwealth.   “I kind of grew up with agriculture in my blood. That is the way I like to say it. My whole family has been heavily involved in the agriculture industry,” she said.
   Her...

UK economist says tobacco growers without
a contract may run into problems with price

After recording strong prices for their product a year ago, tobacco producers without contracts may see less money this year, economists say (Photo by Tim Thornberry)   By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   Burley tobacco growers in Kentucky have long been regarded as the best producers of the crop in the world, having the right climate, the right soil and the most knowledge of just...

Louisville food hub takes root, promises to be ‘green, job-creating machine,’ mayor says

The West Louisville Food Hub will be a ‘campus of businesses’ related to getting local food to consumers. (Renderings provided)   By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   In the midst of a full-fledged “buy local foods” movement, the idea of growing the local food economy by way of a food hub seems to have come into its own.   One such food hub – a one-stop shopping...

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...

Flag that draped veteran's casket flies at FFA camp; daughter asks others to 'Fly a Veteran'

By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   The American flag plays an important role with many organizations. The Future Farmers of America is no exception.   The flag is displayed prominently at all meetings where gathering members say the Pledge of Allegiance. It is also the central point at most FFA camps where members meet around the flagpole every morning and evening for poignant raising...

Flag that draped veteran’s casket flies at FFA camp; daughter asks others to ‘Fly a Veteran’

By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   The American flag plays an important role with many organizations. The Future Farmers of America is no exception.   The flag is displayed prominently at all meetings where gathering members say the Pledge of Allegiance. It is also the central point at most FFA camps where members meet around the flagpole every morning and evening for poignant raising...

Round or square, hay bales may tell a story
of lower yields for Kentucky producers

Kentucky producers may be in for a season of lower yields, says Ray Smith, University of Kentucky forage specialist. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)   By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   For anyone driving through the state’s rural areas, it’s plain to see that hay season is in full swing with field after field decorated with roll and square bales emitting that familiar aroma of...

Stubborn, ‘unbelievably competitive’ Palmer pigweed could do damage to Kentucky crops

By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   Keeping weeds out of cropland has long been an issue for farmers and one usually handled with the use of chemicals. But more producers are coming across a herbicide-resistant weed that can do real damage if not handled properly.   The Palmer pigweed, or Palmer amaranth, has been making its way up from the southeast and has been present in Kentucky...

Balls giving 'Gift of Blue' through endowment to help needy FFA members buy iconic jacket

Officers from the National FFA recently visited Don Ball, right, at his Donamire Farm in Lexington. Ball and his wife, Mira, created an endowment that will go toward purchasing 400 jackets a year for FFA members who otherwise could not afford to buy. (Photo from National FFA)   By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   There is perhaps nothing more identified with a group or organization...

Balls giving ‘Gift of Blue’ through endowment to help needy FFA members buy iconic jacket

Officers from the National FFA recently visited Don Ball, right, at his Donamire Farm in Lexington. Ball and his wife, Mira, created an endowment that will go toward purchasing 400 jackets a year for FFA members who otherwise could not afford to buy. (Photo from National FFA)   By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   There is perhaps nothing more identified with a group or organization...

Despite mixed reviews, five-year Farm Bill
is expected to benefit Kentucky farmers

The five-year Farm Bill is getting mixed reviews, but most agricultural organizations say it should benefit Kentucky farmers. (Photo by Tim Thornberry)   By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   While not everyone is happy with the five-year Farm Bill that passed Congress last week, most agricultural organizations appear to be content with the compromise legislation that took two years...

Folklorist turns conversations with tobacco producers into book about state’s top crop

The structure of the tobacco industry has seen drastic changes in the last decade, as highlighted in a new book by Ann K. Ferrell. (Photo by Tim Thornberry)   By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   While the art of producing tobacco has changed little over the last couple of centuries, the structure of the tobacco industry has seen drastic changes – especially in the last decade.   How...

Farm Bill may be the best chance for legalizing industrial hemp production, proponents say

By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   For nearly two years negotiations have been going on in some form or another over a new farm bill. The current bill actually expired last year with an extension passed to keep things rolling.   That in itself may not be unusual; most farm bills take more than one try to get passed. This one has been batted around a little more, perhaps, but appears...

As annual gathering nears, ever-changing tobacco industry comes into greater focus

(Photo by Tom Thornberry)   By Tim Thornberry Special to KyForward   State burley producers managed to salvage a decent crop from a not-so-decent growing season as they move forward into the marketing portion of the crop year. Nevertheless, growing tobacco is still not the easiest of farming endeavors.     With that, the Council for Burley Tobacco helps producers with research and...

2013 Review: Focusing on farming, local foods, agribusiness reflects Ky.’s culture

At KyForward, we have a special understanding of the farmer – and a great appreciation for the role of agriculture in all its forms in our quality of life, including our economy. Our ag writer, Tim Thornberry, brings special insight and expertise to the issue as well. And a special relationship with the UK College of Ag means value-added content for our readers.   Among the topics we’ve...

Injured farmer gets helping hand from FFA chapter; members learn value of giving back

Western Hills High School student Jenny Carr has become quite proficient at grading tobacco, thanks to her involvement helping an injured farmer strip his tobacco. (Photo by Tim Thornberry)   By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   ‘Tis the season for giving, and in the agriculture community, perhaps no organization does it better than the FFA – Future Farmers of America.   The...

Family involvement helps keep Saddlebred industry viable in tough economic times

A first-time exhibitor gets a little help in the show ring from his trainer after receiving a second-place ribbon. (Photo provided)   By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   Barry Stumbo worked with one of his prized Saddlebred horses recently, watching every move the animal made; examining it to make sure it was ready for the show ring.   But Stumbo, a long-time trainer and breeder...

The Rural Blog: European ban on flavorings in tobacco products likely to hurt U.S. growers

Special to KyForward   A decision this week by the European Parliament could have major implications on the U.S. tobacco business.   The multinational legislature approved new tobacco rules that include a ban on menthol and other flavorings, Juergen Baetz reports for The Associated Press. While the ban still needs to be compromised with the 28 European Union governments before it becomes...

Gypsy horse becomes celebrity as he spreads character-building, healthy-living message

Spring Hill Stables owner Alison Walker steadies Lash as a couple of young fans stop by to see the celebrity horse. Walker and her husband Todd train and care for Lash, who is owned by Jacki Clark. (Photo by Tim Thornberry)   By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   In Kentucky, it’s not unusual for a horse to be the center of attention, but one special horse is becoming quite the celebrity.   In...