273-pound Watermelon Wins Kentucky State Fair

Aug 17, 2012

A watermelon weighing 273.3 lbs. has won the blue ribbon at the Kentucky State Fair. Fair spokeswoman Amanda Storment says the watermelon is one of the five largest ever grown and the largest on record in the U.S.

Farmers around the Midwest are seeing their crops and livestock die in the midst of one of the most severe droughts in the region in years. The drought was recently upgraded in severity to “Exceptional Drought,” the highest level on the drought severity scale. United States Department of Agriculture officials are looking at ways to help out farmers. USDA Deputy Under Secretary Karis Gutter toured the region last week to meet with farmers. WKMS’s Shelly Baskin spoke with Gutter about what he learned.

IL launches buy local campaign

Jul 26, 2012

Illinois agriculture officials have launched a campaign to encourage shoppers to buy locally produced food.  Authorities say consumers will be able to find those products on shelves bearing a new “Illinois Product” logo. 

At Brad Lowe’s farm, the livestock enjoy free range living together in an open field. Under an old oak tree, chickens peck for food while pigs root around and goats graze. An audience of dairy cows listens intently, while Lowe explains his love of sorghum.

Farmer: Illinois drought good for peach crop

Jul 5, 2012
Ralf Roletschek, Wikimedia Commons

Dry conditions in Illinois have meant headaches for many farmers in the state, but not those growing peaches.  

Andy Wright

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.

Drought Monitor

On his Calloway County farm, Mark Paschall is getting ready for a long, dry summer. During 58 years on a farm, Paschall has seen many droughts. This one, he says, is a bad one.

KY Agricultural agency OKs $400,000 in farm loans

Apr 10, 2012

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.

Floods in 2011 and this year’s tornadoes could complicate the tax returns filed by Kentucky farmers.  For example, when farmers receive an insurance check for damaged crops, IRS spokesman Luis Garcia says they must claim that money as income.  And, if bad weather forces the early sale of livestock, Garcia says that income can sometimes be claimed on next year’s tax return.

Kentucky lawmakers are protesting a current trade agreement that they say would hurt tobacco.

The U.S. is currently negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which includes countries like New Zealand, Peru and Vietnam. But the lawmakers say the proposal excludes tobacco protections.

At a news conference in Frankfort today, Democratic and Republican lawmakers urged President Barack Obama to add provisions for tobacco to the agreement.

Republican Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says including the crop will help Kentucky farmers.