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.Now, tobacco specialists say much of the burley has gone through a growth spurt, thanks to recent rains.Farmers are just beginning to harvest tobacco.University of Kentucky agricultural economist Will Snell says that with a decent curing season, this year's burley crop could fetch higher prices than a year ago.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has reactivated its hay hotline to help farmers find forage for their livestock. Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says he restarted the hotline to connect farmers in need of forage to others willing to sell it. The Department’s website also has online directories where producers can list hay for sale, and where farmers can search for available hay by county.
The summer drought is expected to have an impact on many of the Kentucky State Fair’s agricultural entries. Kentucky’s suffered a hot, dry summer, and farmers in the western half of the state are bearing the brunt of the disaster. The stress has already shown up on fair entries in other drought-stricken areas of the country, with smaller ears of corn and other vegetables and fewer head of livestock on display.
Kentucky agriculture is still reeling from a one-two punch of heat and dry conditions. And farmers are feeling the pain from the prospects of shrinking income and inflated expenses caused by weather-related setbacks. Corn fields are shriveled, especially here in western Kentucky where the dry spell has been worst. Poultry farmers are being hit with higher grain prices to feed birds. And pastures turned to stubble are forcing cattle producers to dip into hay reserves. State Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said it is a disaster affecting every segment of agriculture.
The decline in the number of dairy farms continues in Kentucky. A decade ago, State Dairy Marketing Specialist Eunice Schlappi says the Commonwealth had about two thousand dairy farms. Schlappi says that number is down to about 850 today.
The Kentucky Agricultural Finance Corporation has approved more than $400,000 in loans to farmers to expand their operations. The agency partners with lenders to help farmers finance projects that would increase their profits. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture announced the latest round of loans Monday. The largest loan topped $110,000. The finance corporation also has a beginning farmer loan program that helps people start or expand a farming operation. Those loans can be used to purchase livestock, equipment and land.
National grain specialists are predicting a record amount of corn could go in the ground this spring. As Kentucky Public Radio’s Stu Johnson reports, a rise in corn yields has been a trend in the commonwealth...
University of Kentucky Extension Professor of Grain Crops, Chad Lee says Kentucky’s corn acreage could go up about ten percent this year. Lee says the profit potential is partly the result of warmer than usual weather. He says, in the bluegrass, corn has gone from being the number three crop to number one in the last few years.
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer is the featured speaker at the Purchase Area Cattleman’s Assosciation dinner tonight at Graves County High School. Comer is the founder and owner of James Comer Jr. Farms,a 950-acre beef, timber and hay farm in his native Monroe County. Comer’s speech is scheduled for 7:15 pm at the Graves County High School Cafeteria.