While the US drought has been rough on our region’s corn and soybean crops, grape growers in the Four Rivers say their harvest will make up in quality what it lacks in quantity. Winemakers throughout the area report their vineyards have proven resilient to the recent heat and dryness.
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.
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.
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.