farms

Samantha Horton | Indiana Public Broadcasting

Farmers across the Midwest are facing tight profit margins and rising healthcare costs. And that means some hold off getting medical treatment or forgo health insurance altogether. In response, some state farm bureaus are trying to fill that gap by creating their own group health plan.

The sun is setting as Jacob Smoker does evening chores, feeding cattle on his family's farm in northern Indiana.

“We raise beef cattle primarily,” says Smoker, who chairs the Indiana Farm Bureau’s Young Ag and Professionals state group. “That goes to grocery stores, things like that, but then also we do row crops as well. Non-GMO corn, non-GMO soybeans, things for like tofu processing, as well as seed corn and wheat.”

 


Owensboro Regional Farmers Market/ facebook

The Owensboro Regional Farmers Market is showing significant growth in the number of vendors and customers.

One reason for the increase is the new permanent structure.

This first full season with the permanent pavilion offers shoppers a comfortable place to relax and chat with neighbors, as well as an expanded choice of vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, and crafts. The permanent structure opened in late spring 2018, giving roots to the market that began 35 years ago.

Jim Gilles, president of the board of Owensboro Regional Farmers Market, said the market used to have an average of 30 vendors, and now it’s jumped to 40. He said customers like the increased offerings.


Something strange is happening to Pengyin Chen's soybean experiments at the University of Missouri's Fisher Delta Research Center in Portageville, Mo.

"You see how small they are?" says Chen, gesturing at a field filled with thousands of small plots of soybeans.

Rhonda J. Miller

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its five-year census on April 11, and for the first time it includes a category for military veterans who are farming. The census shows that Kentucky currently has about 13,000 farmers with miltary service. 

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture recognized the value of this combination in 2013 with the creation of a program called Homegrown By Heroes. It's a marketing initiative to spotlight and support agricultural producers with military experience.


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.