Agriculture

It’s another warm, early spring day on the farm of Joe O’Daniel, whose 116 acre property sits off of Cemetery Road, heading out of Bowling Green. He says signs of this year’s short winter and early, warm spring are all around him. While it’s not that uncommon to have a few 80 degree days in late winter or early spring, this year’s numerous warm days and have challenged O'Daniel to find ways to unload a larger-than-usual bounty of early spring crops.

Many farmers in our region are seeing unusually large numbers of crops springing up earlier than usual. Edmonson County farmer Paul Wiediger told WKU Public Radio things are running about three to four weeks ahead of schedule at his farm.

Senate Minority Leader  Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has joined with several of his colleagues to introduce legislation to block the Department of Labor from enacting proposed regulations regarding youngsters working on farms. The  issue has drawn widespread concern among farm families and farm organizations across the country.

KY Department of Agriculture

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer will visit Warren, Butler, and Daviess Counties today, promoting a ten dollar voluntary donation for farm license plate renewals. Commissioner Comer says the ten dollars will be split evenly between the 4-H, The Future Farmers of America, and the Kentucky Proud Program. Comer believes the funds can help to encourage some young people to attend college and then return to the farm. He says more young people are needed in production agriculture in Kentucky and across the nation. Dan Modlin talks with him.

WKU Public Radio

A group of about two hundred Kentucky Farm Bureau volunteers are in Washington D.C. to talk with lawmakers about key issues that relate to agriculture. Jeff Harper, the Director of Public Affairs for Kentucky Farm Bureau, says the group is talking with Congressional leaders about several areas of concern, including recent EPA  proposals to regulate dust on the farm and a Department of Labor proposal regarding children working around the farm. Dan Modlin has this report.

A Warren County farmer has discovered a way to farm, and make profits, year round.

Kentucky lawmakers are protesting a current trade agreement that they say would hurt tobacco.

The U.S. is currently negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which includes countries like New Zealand, Peru and Vietnam. But the lawmakers say the proposal excludes tobacco protections.

At a news conference in Frankfort today, Democratic and Republican lawmakers urged President Barack Obama to add provisions for tobacco to the agreement.

Republican Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says including the crop will help Kentucky farmers.

The US Meat Export Federation says US pork exports to Japan could top the two billion dollar mark for 2011. The Executive Director of the Kentucky Pork Producers Association says that's good news for some farmers in the Bluegrass State. Bonnie Jolly of Elizabethtown says the export market is boosting the prices farmers receive for their hogs. 

Bowling Green, Ky – Later this summer, the National Mall in Washington begins a multi-year renovation. A big part of the changes will be new grass along the mall to replace the turf that has been worn down by years of heavy foot traffic. Experts have chosen the Kentucky bluegrass seed for the effort. In this report, we hear from Caroline Cunnigham, President of the Trust for the National Mall, and turf expert Murray Cook.

Russellville, Ky – The relationship between JD Country Milk in Russellville and Mozz Mozzarella Bar in Louisville is a perfect example of the farm-to-table movement. Logan County dairy farmer Willis Shrock produces non-homogenized milk that's bottled on-site at the farm. The chefs at Louisville's Mozz Mozzarella Bar swear by the milk and use it to create their signature cheese. Kevin Willis visited the farm and the restaurant to learn about the partnership.

Glasgow, Ky – Shoppers at a Glasgow farmer's market have an unusual meat option: locally raised buffalo. Kim and Bev Braun run Buffalo Nickel Ranch, their 20 acre farm in Glasgow. Currently home to 26 bison, the ranch provides several cuts of buffalo meat, which is popular with some consumers because it's much healthier than beef. Kevin Willis visited the Barren County buffalo ranch, and brings us this report.

Summer Shade, Ky – At Dry Branch Farm in Monroe County, Lane Linnenkohl is hard at work preparing his sustainably-raised produce and livestock ahead of the summer growing season. But he's not alone. Andy McPhearson, a 26 year old from New Orleans, is interning at the Summer Shade farm through an apprenticeship program that pairs up-and-coming farmers with those who practice sustainable agriculture. Kevin Willis visited the farm and has our story.

Bowling Green – A Kentucky National guard unit deploys today for Afghanistan with an unusual mission: agriculture. As Lisa Autry reports, many soldiers are leaving their own crops and livestock to help farmers a world away become more self-sufficient and avoid the illegal drug trade.

Austin, Ky – Kenny's Farmhouse Cheese is the stuff of legend for many cheese lovers in the region. Kenny Mattingly started making cheese 11 years ago in rural Barren County, and after some tough times, his business caught the wave of interest in locally-produced food. Kevin Willis visited the Mattingly farm to learn more about the story behind the cheese.

Glasgow, Ky – A grassroots organization in Barren County is pushing for greater reliance on locally produced food. Sustainable Glasgow is one of a growing number of groups throughout the US focusing on the promotion of local food markets as a way to bolster the regional economy. Kevin Willis recently visited Glasgow to meet members of the group and find out what they hope to accomplish.

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