A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

USDA grants waiver to allow schools to serve students off-site meals; will address food insecurity

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) received notification from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that it has received approval to extend alternate meal service flexibility to students in the case of extended closures due to COVID-19. The waiver allows Kentucky’s schools to continue to serve students’ meals following the guidelines of the Summer Food Service Program and National School...

FairWarning: Little progress so far on US goal to cut food waste in half; big portions end up in landfills

By Susan Abram FairWarning While 1 in 8 Americans are considered to be “food insecure,” an estimated 40 percent of the nation’s supply of fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat goes to waste, discarded by farmers, retailers, restaurant owners and households. Three federal agencies have agreed to work together to cut that food waste in half by 2030. But a recent government oversight report found that...

Ag Commissioner Quarles wants farmers to be treated fairly, farmers want trade over aid

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles says the new tariffs announced by President Donald Trump are about fairness to farmers. Speaking to reporters this week, Quarles said since taking office, he has been an advocate for policies that “give American farmers access to other countries, and that we’re also treated fairly and equally compared to other countries.” He said...

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...

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 College of Agriculture, Food and Environment students selected as Wallace-Carver Fellows

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Two University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment students were selected as Wallace-Carver Fellows by The World Food Prize Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The two students — Morgan Hasler and Stone Warfield — completed their fellowships this summer. The fellowship is a prestigious honor that allows the students to work...

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...

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...

Kentucky by Heart: For many kids across the state, Summer Food Service Program is literally a lifesaver

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist Valerie Knight is a big supporter of a government program that she believes is well worth the expenditures. At her position as Director of Food Services for Webster County Schools in western Kentucky, she sees poor children receive a dose of love and kindness outside the scope of the regular school year, during the summer, and it starts with nourishing food from...

Commentary: Nation stands strong against soring; Tennessee walking horse industry should, too

By Keith Dane Special to KyForward It has been decades since Congress passed the Horse Protection Act to criminalize the conduct of trainers who use abusive methods to produce a prize-winning, unnaturally high-stepping gait known as the “big lick.” Yet the inhumane practice of soring continues, and those involved in the big lick segment of the Tennessee walking horse industry are desperate to...

Louisville-based Cure House recalling cured pork products produced without federal inspection

The Cure House, a Louisville, Ky. business, is recalling an undetermined amount of cured pork products that were produced without the benefit of federal inspection, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Monday. The cured ham items were produced from 2009 thru Dec. 19, 2015. The following products are subject to recall: Various weights of individually...

Local food systems in Hazard, Barbourville will get boost from federal grant program

With the coal industry in decline in Eastern Kentucky, agriculture may fill the void. (Photos by Tim Thornberry)   By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   In an effort to create strong local food systems, 26 communities in 19 states – including Kentucky – will receive technical assistance as part of the Local Foods, Local Places Initiative.   In a press release from...

USDA block grants will help Kentucky’s specialty crops businesses ‘grow and prosper’

By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   Earlier this month, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that nearly $118 million in grants would go to states to help in efforts of strengthening markets for specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, horticulture and nursery crops.   That money was part of the Farm Bill package passed by Congress earlier this year. Vilsack...

Fayette Farm to School Team receives service award for connecting students to agriculture

The Bluegrass Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has selected the Fayette County Farm to School Team to receive its 2014 Award for Community Service. This annual award goes to an individual or group that has promoted or enhanced the nutritional well-being of the community or has contributed significantly to the nutrition profession.   The team concentrates on these three Cs – classroom, cafeteria...

The Chop Shop fills void for beef producers and consumers alike in Eastern Kentucky

By Aimee Nielson Special to KyForward   Cattle quality has been on the rise in Eastern Kentucky for several years now. Beef producers have a local stockyard to sell their animals, and now there’s a place for those cattle to be processed and sold to Kentucky consumers.   The Chop Shop off of Mountain Parkway in Eastern Kentucky provides a much-needed meat processing service in the area....

Farm to School served 21 million students nationwide, including 350,000 in Kentucky

Staff report   Students saw, touched and sometimes tasted produce that were new to them at schools participating in Farm to School. (USDA photo by Lance Cheung) The first-ever census of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm to school program shows it purchased and served more than $350 million in local food during the 2011-2012 school year. That translates to 38,000 schools and 21 million...

Parents projected to spend $241,080 to raise child born in 2012, according to USDA report

(Photo from USDA’s ‘Cost of Raising a Child’)   Middle-income families with a child born in 2012 can expect to spend about $240,080 – or $301,970 when adjusted for projected inflation – on food, shelter and other necessities associated with child-rearing expenses over the next 17 years.   That’s according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual...

Nearly 56,000 Kentucky students to enjoy fresh produce through USDA program

Nearly 56,000 students in 134 Kentucky elementary schools will enjoy fresh produce in the 2013-14 school year as part of a federal Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program implemented through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.   The FFVP provides all children in participating schools with a variety of free fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the school day. It is an effective and creative way of...

UK’s Appalachian ties, land grant mission help transform Indonesian community

By Sarah Geegan Special to KyForward     Indonesia looks nothing like Kentucky.   While the Commonwealth yields tobacco, corn and soybeans, the Southeast Asian islands grow rice, pineapples and coffee. But the obstacles the two regions face are eminently similar: namely, economic and agricultural underdevelopment. Sixty percent of the poorest Indonesians live on small farms. Indonesian...

New report: 875,000 Kentuckians will see cuts to their food assistance benefits this fall

Some 875,000 people in Kentucky will see a cut in their food assistance benefits this fall, when a temporary boost to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) is set to expire, according to new data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and detailed in a report from the Washington, D.C.,-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.   (Photo...