USDA

Kentucky Corn Growers Association

Many segments of the economy have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, but there is positive news for Kentucky agriculture.

Corn and soybean crops are having a very good year.

Kentucky farmers are forecast to harvest 259 million bushels of corn this year, an increase of six percent over 2019. 

David Knopf is regional director of the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service based in Louisville. He said the temperature and rainfall have been good for corn, and harvesting is expected to continue for a few more weeks.

Kentucky Small Grain Growers Association

In spite of challenges from the weather, Kentucky farmers boosted production of winter wheat by 27 percent for the 2019 season over the past year. 

Kentucky farmers planted 460,000 acres of winter wheat last fall, an increase of 10,000 acres over the previous season.

David Knopf is director of the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Office in Louisville. He said the initial seeding of those acres wasn’t promising.  

“Winter wheat production for the 2019 crop season turned out to be a relatively pleasant surprise," said Knopf. "It got off to a slow start last fall when there was a lot of rain and prevented farmers from getting the fields planted.”

But Knopf said the weather cooperated during the spring and early summer and that brought in a harvest that was a 27 percent increase over the previous year.  


USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week a proposal to tighten the rules on who qualifies for food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). USDA estimates more than three million people across the country would lose SNAP benefits in an effort to prevent fraud. Anti-hunger advocates in the Ohio Valley say the more than two million people in the region who use the benefits would be impacted.

The department wants to change what they call “broad-based categorical eligibility” in the SNAP program. The regulation allows people that don’t have a low enough income to qualify for food stamps to get them in other ways. For example, people can also qualify if they receive assistance from other federal programs, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families


Evan Heichelbech

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell joined Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue in Louisville Tuesday to talk to hemp farmers and providers about the industry’s challenges.

All three officials echoed similar sentiments of the challenges hemp farmers and providers are experiencing, despite being just six months removed from the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized the crop.

At hemp processor Commonwealth Extracts warehouse on Tuesday, McConnell said Kentucky is “in the red zone” with hemp.

KY Grains

The new U.S. Department of Agriculture census released April 11 shows mid-sized farms in Kentucky farms are on the decline.

The new USDA Census of Agriculture is based on data collected from farms across the country for the year 2017. That census is done very five years, so the 2017 state-by-state data is compared to previous statistics from 2012.

David Knopf is regional director of the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service based Louisville. He said the new census confirms a trend in Kentucky that the number of  small and large farms are increasing, while those in the middle are disappearing. 


USsoy.org

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that Kentucky soybean farmers harvested a record breaking crop last year, with 103 million bushels. That’s up one percent from the previous year. The increase was due mainly to more acreage, with 50,000 additional acres of soybeans planted across Kentucky last year.

But that record harvest is facing market forces impacted by America’s tariff and trade disputes, especially with China.  Some Kentucky soybean farmers are storing the beans, trying to wait until market conditions improve. 

United Soybean Board

Kentucky farmers will soon be getting crops reports they use for market information and to make decisions about spring planting. The U.S. Department of Agriculture office in Kentucky that does those reports was closed during the government shutdown, but now - it’s open.

David Knopf is regional director for the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, based in Louisville. He said crop reports that were due out on Jan. 11 are now scheduled to be published Feb. 8.

Knopf said the report on corn, soybeans and wheat that’s in storage is especially valuable to Kentucky farmers. 

USDA/Bob Nichols

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has denied a petition by the National Chicken Council to remove the speed limit on work at some slaughterhouses, a move that food safety advocates are calling a victory for workers and consumers.

As the Ohio Valley ReSource reported in October, the National Chicken Council proposal could have increased the line speed for some workers in processing plants where accidents and injuries are already a concern.

Since then the USDA received more than 100,000 public comments and this week the department’s Food Safety Inspection Service turned the petition down. 


An Eastern Kentucky farmer’s market has become the first in the state to be  designated a “Summer Feeding Site” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

As part of a joint effort led by the Community Farm Alliance, the program will provide farm-to-table meals free of charge to children under the age of 18  during summer break.

The program also aims to shore up business among local farmers by providing them with a steady source of income, and to improve community health.

According to U.S. Census data, about a quarter of Letcher County’s 23,600 residents live below the federal poverty line.

The CFA will celebrate the announcement July 26.

Recalled Beef May Have Been Sent To 10 States Including Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana

May 23, 2014

Federal food safety officials say ground beef recalled by a Detroit business may have been sent to stores in 10 states.

According to an announcement Thursday, the U.S. agriculture department's Food Safety and Inspection Service says it has reason to believe recalled beef was sent to retail outlets in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

The USDA says GFS Marketplace locations in Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee may have received the recalled beef. 

Wolverine Packing Co. announced Monday it was recalling 1.8 million pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli.

FSIS had said 11 people were sickened. Messages seeking an updated figure were left Friday.

An economic development organization based in Pulaski County is receiving federal grant money to help aspiring small business owners get a leg up.

The nearly $71,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will go to The Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation in Somerset. The U.S.D.A's Doug O'Brien told WKU Public Radio the grant will provide technical assistance to entrepreneurs in southern and southeastern Kentucky.

"Many times a small business can be just one person, or a couple of people who really see an opportunity in that part of the country. But maybe they haven't been through the rigors of the small business cycle of budgeting, or how to deal with their workforce needs," said O'Brien.

The Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation serves the counties of Adair, Casey, Clinton, Cumberland, Garrard, Green, Jackson, Knox, Laurel, Lincoln, McCreary, Metcalfe, Monroe, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Russell, Wayne, and Whitley.