A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

UK agricultural economist: Grain markets favor storage; alternative structures likely option

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Continuous years of large crops and demand uncertainty makes grain storage attractive for producers this fall. While Kentucky producers have added on-farm storage to their operations in recent years, many will store corn and soybeans in alternative structures through the winter, particularly as markets are showing positive returns. “Higher futures prices in spring...

Quarles proclaims October Farm to School Month to promote local foods for Kentucky students

Serving local foods in Kentucky schools benefits the entire community, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said in proclaiming October as Farm to School Month in Kentucky. Quarles “Eating healthy local foods helps Kentucky kids do their best,” Commissioner Quarles said. “At the same time, when schools buy local, farmers and food businesses increase their sales, and that boosts the local economy....

UK researchers using lignin to make next-generation batteries; new technology could power cell phones

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky A new study by University of Kentucky researchers is examining whether peach pits and walnut shells can be used to create cheaper, longer-lasting lithium ion batteries. The three-year project led by Jian Shi, assistant professor in the UK College of Agriculture Food and Environment, will study whether lignin, a component of cell walls in woody plants and stone...

Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School Program wins USDA Grant for nearly $100K

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School Program was awarded a $99,913 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to expand its efforts to help Kentucky schools serve local foods to their students. “This funding will put more focus on equipping farmers and food producers to sell their products to Kentucky schools,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “Tina Garland...

The Rural Blog: U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says farmworker visa program to be overhauled

The departments of Labor, Agriculture, State and Homeland Security will modernize the H-2A visa program that brings in foreign farmworkers, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said recently. Farmers have been struggling to find enough workers since the Trump administration cracked down on illegal immigration; more than 55 percent of California farmers surveyed in March said half their land...

PETA calls for criminal investigation of Warsaw-based Harmon Bros. Meats for ‘persistent violations’

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on Monday requested the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky investigate Warsaw-based Harmon Brothers Meats, Inc. for persistent violations of the federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. PETA cites recently-obtained U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports revealing four violations of the federal law in the past year and has requested...

Distinguished trio added to lineup of speakers at ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference in Lexington

Former General Electric vice chair Beth Comstock, U.S. Department of Agriculture under secretary Bill Northey and groundbreaking neurologist Dr. Majid Fotuhi have been added to ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference’s high-impact mainstage lineup of speakers. Four thousand attendees from more than 70 countries are expected to attend this year’s 34th annual conference in Lexington from May 20–22. Beth...

UK, local schools and agribusinesses team up to combat ‘brain drain’ in rural economies in Kentucky

By Carol Lea Spence UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Brain drain, the term for a community’s loss of intelligent, highly trained people, is a serious problem for local economies in Kentucky. Often, many from the younger generation leave home for an education and never return, because of a lack of opportunity. Faculty and staff in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food...

UK faculty working with Kentucky farmers to prevent livestock losses incurred by Black vultures

By Katie Pratt Special to KyForward Black vultures are a concern for livestock producers throughout Kentucky, particularly this time of the year, as they can kill newborn calves and other juvenile livestock. University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment faculty and staff are working with Kentucky producers to find low-cost, legal options to control these birds and prevent livestock...

Department of Agriculture offers funding for projects to support specialty crops; proposals due March 1

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) is seeking concept proposals for 2018 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funding, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has announced. “This funding is intended for projects that make Kentucky specialty crops more competitive in both domestic and foreign markets,” Commissioner Quarles said. “Specialty crops make up a significant part of Kentucky’s...

Kids Can Cook: UK extension serves up successful cooking program featuring fresh ingredients

By Katie Pratt Special to KyForward Nikita Hampton, 11, thinks she might want to be a chef when she grows up. It’s a big reason why she attended Kids Can Cook twice this summer. Kids Can Cook is a weeklong day camp cooking program offered by the Boyd County office of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. The program was the idea of Eugenia Wilson, the county’s family and consumer...

People in the News: Community Trust names Riley Beaumont manager; UK prof wins teaching award

Larry Jones, Central Region President of Community Trust Bank, Inc., announced that Shirley Riley has been hired as the Assistant Vice President/Branch Manager of Community Trust Bank’s Lexington Beaumont Centre office.

Fayette County Summer Food Service Program kicks off at Village Library event

Fayette County Public Schools and other Lexington-area sponsoring organizations and partners will join on Thursday, June 15 to kick off the Summer Food Service Program in Kentucky. The event begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Village branch of the Lexington Public Library, and the program starts at noon. In case of rain, the event will move indoors. This is one of many events across the state next week to...

Louisville’s Creation Gardens Inc. recalls beef products due to possible e. Coli contamination

Creation Gardens, Inc., a Louisville establishment, is recalling approximately 22,832 pounds of raw ground beef and beef primal cut products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Monday. The raw ground beef and beef primal cut products items were produced on May 31, June 1 and June 2, 2017. The following...

As national consumption increases, new book claims sugar is our nutritional enemy

For about decade as the century started, more and more Americans appeared to obey the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s advice to eat less sugar. But that trend of improvement has leveled off, according to statistics released last week by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data show that about half of American adults drink at least one sugar-sweetened beverage daily and...

Critics at public forums say USDA changes to Horse Protection Act would ruin walking-horse industry

The U.S. Department of Agriculture held a pair of forums this week—in Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Lexington, Ky.—to seek public feedback on proposed changes to the Horse Protection Act that would ban soring, the use of chemicals and physical abuse to induce high steps in show horses. Additional forums will be held Tuesday in Sacramento, Calif., and Sept. 6 in Riverdale, Md., with a call-in meeting...

Kentucky Summer Food Service Program makes sure students have full stomachs during break

The Kentucky Summer Food Service Program is once again making sure students’ stomachs are full even when classrooms are empty. U.S. Department of Agriculture Southeast Regional Administrator Robin Bailey joined Kentucky Department of Education Office of Administration and Support Associate Commissioner Robin Kinney and other staff members from the Division of School and Community Nutrition in kicking...

Honeybees lost 28 percent of population over winter; mites, pesticides to blame

Honeybees took a big hit this winter, losing 28 percent of colonies, up from 22 percent the year before, Seth Borenstein reports for The Associated Press. The losses are about average over the past decade, but are higher than the 17 percent beekeepers consider acceptable. It’s still down from a peak of 36 percent nine years ago. University of Montana bee scientist Jerry Bromenshenk said he...

More than 300 jobs preserved at Pineville Community Hospital following USDA loan, refinancing

A USDA loan, along with strong partnerships among Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, First State Financial and Pineville Community Hospital, have saved more than 300 jobs and created 12 new jobs at the hospital. Local, state and federal officials announced a $3.1 million USDA Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan as well as $3 million line of credit from First State Financial. “Pineville...

Crowdfunding studies instrumental in securing five-year $2.1 million multiple species grant from USDA

The first research crowdfunding project launched at the University of Kentucky helped secure an approximate $2.1 million, five-year, multiple species grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In January 2014, Martin Nielsen, an equine parasitologist, veterinarian and assistant professor at the UK Gluck Equine Research Center, launched the crowdfunding project, “Let the germs get the worms: Testing...