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

Beekeepers from across the Commonwealth are still looking for some way to stop the loss of their hives.  The Kentucky State Beekeepers Association stages its spring meeting in Richmond this weekend.  The nation’s agriculture industry is coping with a massive die-off of the essential insect.  Besides honey production, bees are essential to the pollination of some crops.  Currently, association Vice President Jim Coss says they’re scrutinizing farm chemicals.

From NPR: An Indiana farmer looking for cheap soybean seeds for a second, smaller harvest has been taken to the Supreme Court by the largest seed company, Monsanto. 75-year-old Vernon Hugh Bowman signed a contract with the seed giant to not save and replant any of his harvest.

Monsanto wants to be his sole provider, but their seeds are “Roundup Ready” and more expensive, especially for a small second planting. Bowman bought a motley of seeds from his neighbors for his second harvest thinking Monsanto wouldn’t care. Boy, was he wrong.

Whitney Jones

Many of farmer Jim Kelly’s fields in Murray are bright green with winter wheat even after several frosts. But tromp around some of his other crop fields and you’ll find the withering leaves of radishes. And he’s just going to keep letting them rot.

"These things are in the process of dying. See, some of them already have," he said.

Kelly’s crop usually consists of tobacco, wheat, soybeans, corn and hay. But this year he’s adding radishes to his rotation in his soybean fields as a cover crop. The pale yellow vegetable looks a lot like a carrot and digs down breaking up the soil. Kelly won’t harvest the radishes. They grow until the first hard freeze then begin to die.


Although western Kentucky has already seen its first snow storm of the season, experts say much more will have to fall to ease farmers’ pain from the past summer’s drought. The Dec. 26 snow storm dropped up to 7 inches of snow in Kentucky and up to a foot in some places in Illinois. But climatologists say it would take at least 8 feet of snow to return the soil to its pre-drought condition in time for spring planting. The average snowfall for Paducah is 10 inches, so the large amount of snowfall isn’t likely to happen.


U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack makes a Tennessee visit today to discuss the importance of passing comprehensive food, farm and jobs legislation. He will also talk about revitalizing small rural businesses and communities. Vilsack's stops include Cedar Hill and Clarksville. Officials say Tennessee farm income rose from $447 million in 2010 to almost $800 dollars in 2011.

Fall Armyworms Invade Yards, Pastures

Sep 27, 2012

Thanks to this summer's historic drought fall armyworms have invaded and are destroying yards and pastures in McCracken County.