Agriculture

Agriculture
5:44 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

USDA Proposes New Standards to Reduce Salmonella in Chicken Parts

Credit Credit Katie Brady / Flickr (Creative Commons License)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has found about half of ground chicken is contaminated with salmonella, and the agency is proposing new standards to reduce the bacteria by 30 percent.

The new rule would mean more testing, which John-Mark Hack says is more expense for the processor. He is a co-founder at Marksbury Farm Market in Garrard County.

“As a company that employs 36 Kentuckians, any additional expense is significant to us,” Hack said. “We’re not a mulit-million dollar, multi-national poultry processor that can easily absorb those kind of expenses.”

The USDA increased standards for whole chickens in 1996, but now knows the chance of salmonella increases as chicken is processed. The further processed meat like chicken wings and breasts make up 80 percent of the chicken available for purchase.

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Agriculture
10:17 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Farm Fresh? Natural? Eggs Not Always What They're Cracked Up To Be

Cage-free eggs for sale in 2008 in Knoxville, Tenn.
Joel Kramer/Flickr

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 2:49 pm

You're in the supermarket gathering ingredients for eggnog and a Christmas Bundt cake, and you're staring at a wall of egg cartons. They're plastered with terms that all sound pretty wonderful: All-Natural, Cage-Free, Free-Range, Farm Fresh, Organic, No Hormones, Omega-3. And so on.

And yet the longer you stare at them, the more confused you become. You are tired and hungry, so you just grab the cheapest one — or the one with the most adorable chicken illustration — and head for the checkout line.

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Agriculture
1:18 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Farm Cash Receipts Projected At Record $6 Billion in 2014

Buyers select produce at a farmer's market in Bowling Green. Kentucky farmers brought in record receipts in 2013 and will likely do so again in 2014, according to projections.
Credit Lisa Autry

University of Kentucky agricultural economists are predicting the state's farm sector will produce a record $6 billion in cash receipts in 2014.

But they are forecasting a five percent drop in next year's ag cash receipts due to the end of tobacco buyout payments and lower grain prices.

University of Kentucky agriculture economist Will Snell says Kentucky's diverse farm economy has it positioned better than much of the country. Kentucky's projected total is up five percent over 2013, while U.S. farm cash receipts are expected to drop by one percent in 2014.

Snell says strong increases in beef, poultry, dairy and hog prices are boosting this year's cash receipts.

The forecasts by Snell have become a fixture at the Kentucky Farm Bureau's meeting, which was happening Thursday in Louisville.

Agriculture
3:23 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Kentucky Seeking Hemp Growers for 2015

WKU Assistant Gardener Jenny Comer assists agriculture student Corinn Sprigler with cutting down hemp plants on the WKU farm.
Credit Lisa Autry

The application window is now open for Kentucky farmers and processors who want to grow hemp for research in 2015. 

Several Kentucky universities, including WKU, grew hemp this year for the first time in decades.  The application deadline for the next round  is January 1.

The first round of pilot projects yielded a lot of data about production methods, seed varieties, and processing techniques. 

"This past year we were as far west as Murray and as far east as Bath County.  We'd like to see that continuation or even expansion on either end," said Adam Watson, Industrial Hemp Program Coordinator in the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.  "Definitely, we have different growing environments in Kentucky."

Applications are available on the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's website at www.kyagr.com/hemp.  Applicants who are selected will undergo background checks and site visits.

Agriculture
4:27 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Legislative Committee Briefed on Hemp Research Plans

The State Agriculture Committee heard an update last week on Kentucky's hemp pilot project. In September, researchers at the University of Kentucky harvested the first legal crop in decades. UK Plant Sciences Professor David Williams says there's growing interest in a variety of hemp supported products.  "They're particularly interested in the vast of the long strong fibers for composite materials like car door panels, pseudo plastics, particle board type products, building construction materials," said Williams.

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Agriculture
4:13 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Why Farmers Aren't Cheering This Year's Monster Harvest

Sunlight streams into a corn storage building at a Michlig Grain storage facility in Sheffield, Illinois, U.S., on Oct. 31, 2014. The price of corn has been falling for months.
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 5:32 pm

U.S. farmers are bringing in what's expected to be a record-breaking harvest for both corn and soybeans. But for many farmers, that may be too much of a good thing.

Farmers will haul in 4 billion bushels of soybeans and 14.5 billion bushels of corn, according to USDA estimates. The problem? Demand can't keep up with that monster harvest. Corn and soybean prices have been falling for months. A bushel of corn is now worth under $4 — about half what it was two years ago.

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Agriculture
4:21 am
Sat November 1, 2014

With Style And Silo, 'Modern Farmer' Melds Agrarian With Urban Hip

Modern Farmer has a particular fondness for stories about anything having to do with goats.
Courtesy of Modern Farmer

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 9:42 am

If you cover food and farming, as we do, you end up looking at farm magazines and agricultural web sites. This means you see lots of articles about corn prices and ads for farm equipment.

Then, a couple of years ago, Modern Farmer appeared. It's a farm magazine like no other. It flaunts a look and attitude that sometimes make us laugh out loud.

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Agriculture
11:04 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Apps Aim To Guide You On 'Sustainable Food' (Whatever That Means)

Confused about all the different sustainability ratings out there? The simplest option may be to shop at your local farmer's market.
iStockphoto

If you're reading The Salt, it probably comes as no surprise to you that consumers increasingly want to make food choices based on not just their health, but their ethics. A growing number of groups are coming up with technological solutions to help them.

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Agriculture
8:37 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Survey Shows Jump in Retail Food Prices in Kentucky

A new survey of Kentucky food prices says the rising cost of beef and pork products led to an overall 3.9 percent jump in retail food prices during the third quarter of the year.

The Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation's survey was conducted last month. It listed the total cost of 40 basic grocery items at $127, compared with $122.23 in the previous quarter.

The Farm Bureau says it's the fifth consecutive quarter with an increasing price total.

The latest results show Kentucky's grocery prices rising by 5.8 percent overall in 2014.

Of the six food groups recorded in the most recent survey, the beef category showed the largest total gain. Pork was not far behind.

Agriculture
5:17 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Corn Yields Down Due to Less Rain

Credit Kevin Willis

Corn farmers in south central Kentucky say the dry summer didn't affect crops as much as they feared.

Smiths Grove farmer Chad Elkins, for one, was expecting spotty crops this season but he says that wasn't the case in his fields. Another farmer, David Hunt, says modern crop genetics make the crop better able to handle dry conditions. But Hunt says the low rainfall meant his yield was down to 125 bushels an acre compared to 200 bushels an acre last year.

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