farming

Frank Hennenfent is a typical Illinois farmer. At this time of year, he spends countless hours in an air-conditioned, GPS-equipped combine – an enormous machine that can harvest as many as 12 rows of corn at a time.

But in late September, Hennenfent was going back to the basics. He was a top competitor at the 34th annual Illinois State Corn Husking Competition.

tobaccowarpilgrimage.com

As the 20th Century dawned, big business came to the dark tobacco growing region of Kentucky and Tennessee, eliminating competition, manipulating prices and undermining local control. A struggled called The Black Patch War began and lasted nearly until the outbreak of World War I. Commemorations start Friday when the Museums of Historic Hopkinsville-Christian County offer the 3rd Annual Tobacco War Pilgrimage including a raid re-enactment, a tobacco bus tour, a re-enactment of a Trial of the Nightriders and more. Kate Lochte asked Murray State Professor of History Dr. Bill Mulligan to give an overview of the conflict that embroiled this region, starting in 1904. 

"It's a good time for agriculture and an even better time to be at Murray State in agriculture," says the Hutson School of Agriculture Dean Tony Brannon. He joins Kate Lochte on Sounds Good to talk about another record year of enrollment, a new high profile crop approaching harvest and a fundraising gala for The Arboretum.

sevenspringsfarms.com

Seven Springs Farms consists of numerous farms located in Trigg, Christian, Cadlwell and Lyon Counties, and may be the first farm in the region to use drones, specifically the DJI drone that you can see in operation on YouTube. Bart Peters, the Finance Manager of Seven Springs Farms speaks with Kate Lochte on Sounds Good about the business decision to use drones.

Whitney Jones / WKMS

Women have helped on farms for generations, but now they’re beginning to take ownership of their duties, calling themselves farmers instead of just farmers’ wives. The US Department of Agriculture has found a steady increase of women farmers in the 2000s, which plateaued in the agency’s latest 5-year report.

Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture carries out a census of farmers: who they are, and what they are doing on their farms.

The agency just released the latest one, and it's a feast for all ag geeks. And here's the very first, most basic piece of new information: There are 2,109,303 farmers in this country.

But look a little closer at that number, and you can see that it's not quite what it seems. Most of those farmers are not actually making a living by farming.

landbetweenthelakes.us

Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area is accepting bids for farming crops and hay as part of open lands management.

As the average age of the American farmer has crept up to 60, fewer young people are filling in the ranks behind them. That's prompted some to ask if young people even want to farm anymore.

The quick answer is yes, just not in the same numbers as they used to. And surveys indicate many of them don't want to farm in conventional ways.

The Senate voted Monday to approve its version of the farm bill, a massive spending measure that covers everything from food stamps to crop insurance and sets the nation's farm policy for the next five years.

The centerpiece of that policy is an expanded crop insurance program, designed to protect farmers from losses, that some say amounts to a highly subsidized gift to agribusiness. That debate is set to continue as the House plans to take up its version of the bill this month.

Local Writer Shares 'Passions of the Black Patch'

May 3, 2013
Ulysses Hayes

Kate Lochte speaks with western Kentucky native and author Bobbie Smith Bryant on Sounds Good. Bryant was born in the Black Patch of Calloway County and shares her family's heritage in a new book titled, "Passions of the Black Patch: Cooking and Quilting in Western Kentucky." Black Patch is the region in western Kentucky and northwestern Tennessee where a specific type of tobacco, which has distinctly dark leaves, is grown.

Learn more at bobbiesmithbryant.com.

Pages