The drought that has impacted so many parts of region is also presenting major challenges to livestock producers. The lack of corn crop this year has led to higher feed prices for cattle, and that is forcing livestock producers into a difficult decision: do they sell their cattle now at a loss, or hold on to those animals in hopes of getting better prices down the road?
A task force is set to begin reviewing whether a state fuel lab built under former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer can be saved. The bi-partisan panel has its first meeting scheduled on Tuesday at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture offices in Frankfort.
The brutal weather this summer throughout the Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee region is leading to dire consequences for farmers and consumers. Some corn farmers in southern and western Kentucky have had almost all of their crop wiped out this season. That has many agriculture experts predicting both short and long term effects on commodity and food prices throughout the region.
The state Personnel Board has voted to investigate multiple merit system and employee abuses that allegedly took place in the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. The alleged abuses took place under then Commissioner Richie Farmer, and were detailed earlier this year in a scathing audit of the department.
Per capita pork consumption in Mexico currently runs considerably lower than in the United States. However, pork producers in Kentucky and other states are investing in programs designed to help boost pork exports to that country.
State Climatologist Dr. Stuart Foster of the Kentucky Climate Center at WKU has been checking the dry conditions in several parts of Kentucky. He says the drought this year is somewhat similar to one that occurred in 2007, but it could eventually be compared to worse droughts if the dry weather continues.
As temperatures this week head into the triple digit range, pastures in the state are suffering. University of Kentucky Extension Forage Specialist, Dr. Garry Lacefield, says farmers are faced with a tough situation.
The National Weather Service says heat will build across Kentucky this week, climaxing in triple-digit readings on Friday. Meteorologists say temperature readings that day could reach 103 degrees in Owensboro. The forecast is leading to more worries for farmers.
Farmers in some portions of western Kentucky could be facing a tough year if dry weather continues. Officials say the drought has been upgraded from "severe" to "extreme" in some areas.
Henderson County Extension Agent Mike Smith told the Henderson Gleaner that farmers could see losses of up to 40 percent in fields. Smith says that means the crop producers might make enough to cover expenses, but will make little or no profit.