A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Pew Trusts: Kentucky leading the way as Farmer’s hope for riches from legalized hemp, despite risks

By April Simpson Pew Charitable Trusts Michael Calebs begins feeling nostalgic standing in the airy barn on his rolling, 400-acre farm. He recalls the hard labor of his youth: climbing up to horizontal beams to hang floppy tobacco leaves to air cure so the leaves could develop a sweet taste. Calebs places a small amount of Kodiak snuff between his cheek and gum on a recent afternoon while walking about...

Summer internships for undergraduates available with UK Grain and Forage Center of Excellence

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Applications are available for undergraduate students interested in interning this summer with the University of Kentucky Grain and Forage Center of Excellence. The program allows students to complete meaningful research projects in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Internships will occur at the UK Research and Education Center in Princeton or...

Kentucky Department of Education Summer Food Service Program seeks sponsors statewide

Kentucky Teacher Sponsors are being sought for the 2019 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Children enjoy their lunch during a kickoff event for the Summer Food Service Program at Calvary Elementary School (Marion County). In 2018, 166 sponsors served nearly 3 million meals to children age 18 and younger at 2,600 meal sites in Kentucky. Photo by Mike Marsee While sponsors are being accepted in all...

Climate Change: A look at the latest National Climate Assessment report — and a heads up

Staff report Thirteen federal agencies released findings this week in a 1,600-page report on climate change. The U.S. Global Change Research Program is a consortium of 13 federal agencies that include the Department of Defense, NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency. The fourth National Climate Assessment is the latest of required reports on federal research into climate change. Mandated by...

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...

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...