July 22, 2014

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USDA announces results for the 45th Conservation Reserve Program sign-up Print E-mail

Offers received for 1.9 million acres

John W. McCauley, USDA Kentucky Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director, today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will accept 1.7 million acres offered under the 45th  Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up. The Department received nearly 28,000 offers on more than 1.9 million acres of land, demonstrating CRP’s continuing appeal as one of our nation’s most successful voluntary programs for soil, water, and wildlife conservation. Under Vilsack’s leadership, USDA has enrolled nearly 12 million acres in new CRP contracts since 2009. Currently, there are more than 26.9 million acres enrolled on 700,000 contracts.

CRP is a voluntary program that allows eligible landowners to receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource-conserving covers on eligible farmland throughout the duration of their 10 to 15 year contracts.

Under CRP, farmers and ranchers plant grasses and trees in fields and along streams or rivers. The plantings prevent soil and nutrients from washing into waterways, reduce soil erosion that may otherwise contribute to poor air and water quality, and provide valuable habitat for wildlife. In 2012, CRP helped to reduce nitrogen and phosphorous losses from farm fields by 605 million pounds and 121 million pounds respectively. CRP has restored more than two million acres of wetlands and associated buffers and reduces soil erosion by more than 300 million tons per year. CRP also provides $2.0 billion annually to landowners—dollars that make their way into local economies, supporting small businesses and creating jobs.

In addition, CRP sequesters more carbon dioxide than any other conservation program in the country, and also reduces both fuel and fertilizer use.  Yearly, CRP results in carbon sequestration equal to taking almost 10 million cars off the road.

USDA selected offers for enrollment based on an Environmental Benefits Index (EBI) comprised of five environmental factors plus cost. The five environmental factors are: (1) wildlife enhancement, (2) water quality, (3) soil erosion, (4) enduring benefits, and (5) air quality.

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Donations of $20,000 for farms to Food Banks Print E-mail

Farm Credit Mid-America Donates $20,000 for Farms to Food Banks.

More than 750,000 people in Kentucky do not always know where they will find their next meal, according to Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization.

To aid in the effort to alleviate at least some of that hunger, Farm Credit Mid-America has awarded a $20,000 grant to the Kentucky Association of Food Banks in support of the Farms to Food Banks program. Farm Credit Mid-America is an agriculture lending cooperative serving farmers, agribusinesses and rural residents throughout Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

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2013 Livestock Fair Results Print E-mail
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Reduce grocery costs Print E-mail

You have probably heard that the cost of food is expected to rise next year. You can do several things to reduce your current grocery expenses and hopefully prepare yourself for the expected price increase.

One of the easiest things to do is to plan ahead. That includes making a meal plan for the week and making a shopping list based on the ingredients you need to fulfill your plan. Check weekly store sale ads and product coupons in the newspaper and online to find the best prices for the items you need. However, don’t buy something you don’t have plans for just because it’s on sale. Make sure sale items ring up with the correct price at checkout.

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Using social media wisely Print E-mail

Social media are very much a part of our culture, and many young people and adults regularly use the sites to connect with their friends and family. When used appropriately, social media can be very positive. When misused, there can be serious consequences for a family. Instances of cyberbullying and sexting have increased with the popularity of social media. In some cases, thieves have used social media accounts to find their next victims.

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Respiratory protection in agriculture Print E-mail

It is important for farmers to use respiratory protection to safeguard their lungs against dusts in the coming weeks and months as they harvest crops, clean out grain bins, open silos, and strip tobacco among other seasonal farming activities.

A disposable toxic dust respirator will filter out fine dust particles that can deeply penetrate the lungs. It is needed for protection from potentially harmful dusts in confinement hog or poultry housing, grain dust and mold from grain, hay or silage. Agricultural workers should use a toxic dust respirator anytime they will be exposed to dusty operations or activities.

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Comer hails historical hemp vote: More to do to restore hemp production to Kentucky Print E-mail

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer cheered House passage of legislation to allow university research on industrial hemp. The measure was an amendment to the farm bill that passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Without a doubt, this was an historic day for industrial hemp in America,” Comer said. “There’s a long way to go in the legislative process. And I won’t be satisfied until Kentucky farmers can legally grow industrial hemp again. But I am pleased that we have made it this far.”

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Get ready for Cloverville Print E-mail

Summer’s here, and before you know it, the Kentucky State Fair and Cloverville will be in full swing. This year, the state fair is from August 15-25.

Cloverville is an annual attraction of every Kentucky State Fair. Located in the West Hall of the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Cloverville offers an opportunity for 4-H’ers to showcase their abilities and compete for statewide ribbons and awards. Regardless of whether they win at the state fair, the young people who have exhibits at Cloverville are already winners, as they won their county competition to advance to the state fair. Cloverville gives fellow Kentuckians good examples of 4-H projects and our young people’s work ethic. Some of these projects took 4-H’ers weeks, months and sometimes an entire year to complete. Projects display skills in areas as diverse as science, the home and arts and crafts.

In addition to the projects, 4-H’ers will be on-hand showcasing their skills in activities such as mannequin modeling and on-site competitions.

Mannequin modeling gives participants the chance to model an outfit they have designed and constructed. On-site competitions include Lego wars and 4-H’s version of “Cupcake Wars.”

For more information about Cloverville events or to register for a competition, contact the Pendleton County Cooperative Extension Service.

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Beneficial snakes Print E-mail

Many people fear snakes, but despite the fright they can cause, the majority of snakes are beneficial. Of the 33 varieties of snakes in Kentucky, only four are venomous (Northern copperhead, Western cottonmouth [water moccasin], timber rattlesnake, and pygmy rattlesnake). Most snakes you encounter around your home are harmless. If you are scared of them, try to remember that they are useful—they keep the rodent population in check by eating mice, rats, chipmunks and even toads, insects and other pests.

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Give infants and toddlers a good start Print E-mail

Recent findings indicate that even infants and toddlers are now at risk for becoming obese. Current national figures for infants and toddlers show that one in 10 is overweight, and more than 20 percent of children between the ages 2 and 5 are already overweight or obese.

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