January 19, 2017

KDA program collects chemical containers, protects the environment

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan F. Quarles
From the Kentucky Department of Agriculture
Farmers are the first environmentalists. We farm in part because we love working the land and knowing our work means something – we are feeding our friends and neighbors. But, we understand that we have a special responsibility to maintain clean air, clean water, and fertile soils to sustain life.

As part of fulfilling that responsibility, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture operates the Rinse and Return Program, a voluntary, cooperative program that provides Kentucky farmers a safe, proper way to dispose of empty agricultural chemical containers at no cost. Under the Rinse and Return Program, the KDA collects used farm chemical containers from farmers and businesses. This material is reformed into many useful items such as agricultural drain pipe, highway sign posts, fence posts, and underground utility conduit.

January 15, 2017

Customers spoke, Greens listened, and Crank & Boom was born

By Chris Aldridge, Kentucky Agricultural News

Commissioner Quarles and Toa Green
Toa Green, co-owner of Crank & Boom Ice Cream, tells Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles the story of how the business came about at her Lexington shop in December.
Mike and Toa Green’s business philosophy is to let customer demand dictate their business decisions.

In 2011, the couple, who owned Thai Orchid Café in Lexington, decided on a whim to add a new dessert to the menu of their Kentucky Proud restaurant. Coconut ice cream, popular in Thailand, was added because it pairs well with spicy Thai dishes.

“We thought we’d do Kentucky Proud with ice cream,” Toa said.

The Greens purchased a two-quart Cuisinart ice cream maker and started making ice cream.

January 10, 2017

High Tunnels Produce Crops

High tunnels are a low tech version of more elaborate, and expensive, greenhouses for production of produce crops. Dr. Shubin Saha, UK extension vegetable specialist says this form of “protected agriculture” is expanding, giving consumers more variety of products in more months of the year, and providing premium income for producers of these crops.


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Social media saves on insecticides

By Katie Pratt
From UKAg News

A University of Kentucky entomologist is using a social media platform to help producers cut down on unnecessary insecticide applications.
A male spotted wing drosophila

Ric Bessin started the Facebook page Swdinky to help growers monitor and potentially treat for the spotted wing drosophila, a fruit fly that can destroy soft-skinned, small fruit including grapes, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries. The invasive insect first appeared in Kentucky in 2012. It overwinters in the state, but when it becomes active varies by year.

Bessin recruited growers to volunteer to trap the insect during the growing season. Volunteers reported their findings to their county extension agent. The agent in turn reported the information to Bessin who posted it on the Facebook page.

January 9, 2017

Local Food Marketing Practices Survey

Feldhaus reports results on a first-ever Local Food Marketing Practices Survey that provides some telling data for high potential for direct sales of produce and foods. Dave Knopf, director of the regional office of USDA’S National Ag Statistics Service provides details which can have immediate impact for Kentucky farmers.


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