Agriculture

Kevin Willis

While the recent rain in our listening area is certainly a welcome sight for farmers, it comes too late to save the crops that have already been devastated by the drought. Still, WKU agriculture professor Todd Willian says the rainfall could help crops that are harvested later in the year, like soybeans.

WKU Public Radio

In a move that could be good news for beef producers in Kentucky and surrounding states, leaders in Japan are reportedly interested in relaxing some  restrictions on U.S. beef imports. 

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture usually deals with bigger farmers but has joined with the Governor's Office of Agricultural Policy to work with some younger potential growers. First lady Jane Beshear and Agriculture Commissioner James Comer have launched a program to show young people how they can plant their own gardens and grow food, even on a patio.

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says he is restarting the long-dormant Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission. The General Assembly created the commission ten years ago to look into hemp's potential in the commonwealth, but it has never met.

Kevin Willis

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear's office says another 68 counties have been declared primary disaster areas due to damage from drought. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued the declaration, which also qualifies 22 contiguous counties for assistance.

Two of Kentucky’s highest profile Republicans are teaming up to rally for industrial hemp. U.S. Senator Rand Paul and Agriculture Commissioner James Comer will hold a news conference on Thursday to double down on their support for the crop, which can be used for textiles or oil.

For burley tobacco farmers in Kentucky and Tennessee, an average crop being forecast is a big relief.  A few weeks ago, the crop was on the brink of ruin from extreme heat and drought. 

Kevin Willis

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.

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