A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

Commentary: Federal aid hasn’t reached most Kentucky farmers, exposes fragilities of food system

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program has missed 70 percent of Kentucky’s farmers and has been largely inaccessible for direct market, small-scale, and specialty crop producers and farmers of color. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragilities of our food system. The pandemic has stretched or broken the value chains that bring food from the farm to our plates....

UK weekly webinar series to help Kentucky farm families work through current economic challenges

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky The COVID-19 pandemic has put financial, physical, mental and emotional strains on many Americans, including farm families. To help them work through these unprecedented challenges, the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is hosting “Crossing through This: Managing Farm and Family in 2020,” a weekly webinar series. The series...

Quarles celebrates hunger heroes in Letcher County; checks status of Kentucky Hunger Initiative program

Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles visited Community Agricultural Nutritional Enterprises (CANE) Kitchen and the Cowan Community Center in Letcher County on Monday to check in on the status of a Kentucky Hunger Initiative program feeding children with Kentucky-grown fruits and vegetables and to mark the distribution of the 100,000th meal kit in the community. “Childhood hunger in Kentucky...

UK leads national team studying pandemic’s effect on local food systems; USDA partners in research

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Services Division is partnering with the University of Kentucky, Colorado State University and Penn State University on a $1 million cooperative research agreement to conduct a national study on the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on local food systems. Co-principal investigators Lilian Brislen and...

Kentucky students eligible for new emergency food benefits; families can apply for federal assistance

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) and the Kentucky Department of Education are partnering to provide food assistance to families who have lost access to free or reduced-price school meals during the novel coronavirus emergency. Beginning May 23, Kentucky families with students who normally receive free or reduced-price meals at...

KDA secures USDA grant to purchase 56 freezers, refrigerators for Kentucky food pantries

Fifty-two local food pantries across Kentucky will soon have more space to store food items, thanks to a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant secured by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. “Thanks to the hard work of our Division of Food Distribution and Kevin Peach applying for the grant, we were able to fund the purchase of 56 appliances to keep food fresh during the pandemic,” Commissioner...

Meat scientists answer COVID-19-related consumer questions with practical, science-based answers

By Aimee Nielson University of Kentucky Consumers have raised questions about meat supply and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. To help them sort through the information, meat specialists from three land-grant institutions recently joined forces to offer practical, science-based answers. Many of the questions revolve around food safety and the concern that humans could get COVID-19 by eating meat...

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...

UK researchers part of international group of scientists working to advance cover crop knowledge

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment researchers Erin Haramoto and Hanna Poffenbarger are part of an international group of scientists working to enhance the effectiveness of cover crop-based conservation tillage systems to create more sustainable agriculture production. The five-year, $10 million project is funded by the U.S. Department...

Kentucky’s Summer Food Service Program seeking sponsors to provide meals to children in need

Many Kentucky families depend on free or reduced-price meals during the school year. When school is out for the summer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Kentucky Department of Education’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) helps ensure that children continue to receive nutritious meals to bridge the nutrition gap during these months. The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) encourages...

U.S. Department of Agriculture reopens sign-ups for Conservation Reserve Program in Kentucky

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reopened sign-ups for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to Kentucky landowners. The deadline to sign up for general participation is Feb. 28, 2020, while sign-ups for more permanent structures within the program are ongoing. Participants receive an annual stipend for their contribution to conservation. Landowners enrolled in the program contribute to improved...

UK Grain and Forage Center of Excellence accepting applications for summer USDA internship program

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Undergraduate students can apply for a hands-on research internship next summer with the University of Kentucky Grain and Forage Center of Excellence. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Research and Extension Experiential Learning for Undergraduates summer internship program allows students to complete meaningful projects in the UK College of Agriculture, Food...

New tool to help Kentucky grain producers plan disease management strategy for growing season

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Kentucky grain producers have a new, free tool at their disposal to see the past yield losses and economic impacts of common diseases affecting corn and soybeans. This tool can help them plan their disease management strategy for the upcoming growing season. Developed by the Crop Protection Network, the Field Crop Disease Loss Calculator can tell producers how...

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...

U.S. Department of Agriculture rolls out proposed regulations for hemp mandated by Farm Bill

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday issued its proposed regulations on hemp production as mandated by the 2018 Farm Bill. The USDA established the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program through an interim final rule, which outlines provisions for federal agriculture officials to approve plans submitted by states for the domestic production of hemp. Kentucky was...

USDA Farm Service Agency issues safety-net, conservation payments to Kentucky farmers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Kentucky is processing $9,688,641 in Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) payments for the 2018 crop year. Additionally, Kentucky FSA will distribute $32,039,597 in Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) rental payments to landowners to support voluntary conservation efforts on private lands. FSA began processing...

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...

UK researchers studying better ways to detect worms in apples; codling moth infestation can be costly

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Worms poking out of apples may be a cute back-to-school theme, but they are not a welcome sight in orchards. Researchers at the University of Kentucky are studying noninvasive ways to improve detection methods for the codling moth in apples. Codling moths are the most devastating insect pests of apples. Each spring, adult moths lay their eggs on or around developing...

Kentucky Agricultural Training School to host late-season workshop on Aug. 22 at UK Research Center

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky The Kentucky Agricultural Training School will host a late-season workshop from 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. CDT on Aug. 22 at the University of Kentucky Research and Education Center in Princeton. The daylong, hands-on clinic is ideal for corn and soybean producers and crop consultants and is part of the UK Grain and Forage Center of Excellence’s mission to provide producers...