Ag report: April 25, 2014

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KSU opens new

High Tunnel Complex


Kentucky State University in Frankfort today will host a ribbon cutting and open house for its new High Tunnel Complex. The open house will begin at 10:30 a.m. and the ribbon cutting at 11:30.

The one-acre campus site features four solar-heated greenhouses where students can conduct replicated research trials and apply horticultural skills throughout the school year. KSU students and research staff using U.S. Department of Agriculture Capacity Building Grant Research and Teaching Funds built these simple, low-input greenhouses, called high tunnels. The tunnels will increase yields and extend the season for local fruit and vegetable production.

The complex is designed to teach and demonstrate sustainable agriculture principles, including soil building, renewable energy production and resource cycling. Rainwater is collected from the high tunnel’s roof and is gravity-fed to a 9,600-gallon reservoir for later use. Solar and biomass-powered pumps deliver the water back to the high tunnels for irrigation. Growing practices comply with organic standards, allowing the site to be certified as organic after a three-year transition period. In addition to providing hands-on learning opportunities for KSU students, the high tunnel complex builds capacity to provide fresh organic fruits and vegetables to the campus community year-round.

At Friday’s open house, guests can learn about organic agriculture, high-tunnel and solar technology, and research opportunities in the high tunnels.


USDA’s disaster assistance programs

U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency has announced that farmers and ranchers can sign-up for disaster assistance programs.

The Livestock Indemnity Program and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program will provide payments to eligible producers for livestock deaths and grazing losses that have occurred since the expiration of the livestock disaster assistance programs in 2011, and including calendar years 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Enrollment also begins on Tuesday for producers with losses covered by the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program and the Tree Assistance Program in 2011, when the programs expired, through 2014.

“These very important disaster assistance programs will help Kentucky producers that have been adversely affected by the extreme cold winter and past years drought,” said John W. McCauley, State Executive Director.

Producers also are encouraged to contact their county office ahead of time to schedule an appointment.

For more information, producers can review the 2014 Farm Bill Fact Sheet, check out the LIP, LFP, ELAP and TAP fact sheets online or visit any USDA Service Center.


USDA Sets Date for Soybean Request for Referendum

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering soybean producers the opportunity to request a referendum on the Soybean Promotion and Research Order, as authorized under the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act.

Soybean producers who are interested in having a referendum to determine whether to continue the Soybean Checkoff Program are invited to participate.

The Request for Referendum will be conducted at USDA's county Farm Service Agency offices. To be eligible to participate, producers must certify and provide documentation that shows that they produced soybeans and paid an assessment on the soybeans during the period of Jan. 1, 2012, through Dec. 31, 2013.

From May 5-30, producers may obtain a form by mail, fax or in person from the FSA county offices. Forms may also be obtained via the Internet at www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/SoybeaninformationontheSoybeanRequestforReferendum during the same time period.

Additional information can be found on the Agricultural Marketing Service website, www.ams.usda.gov.



  • The Shelby County Extension Office will offer a series of Green Thumb Gardening once a month at 1117 Frankfort Road. The classes include growing cucumbers, cantaloupes, squash, etc., May 15; botanical garden shrub and tree tour, June 19; saving heirloom seeds, July 24; establishing an emerald green lawn, Aug. 21; propagating plants through cuttings, Sept. 18; and putting the garden to bed/spring bulbs, Oct. 16. The cost for the series of classes is $15. Classes will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. except for the fruit tree pruning class, which will be from 9 to 11 a.m. For one class, the cost is $5. Reserve a space by calling 633-4593.
  • The Shelby County Extension Office will be part of a series of equine seminars to assist horse owners with management of their animals and facilities. The remaining session is 6-8:30 p.m. and cost $10, including dinner. The final meeting is Thursday in Bedford and will cover grazing management and laminitis. For more information or to reserve a seat, call 502-222-9453 or send an E-mail to traci-missun@uky.edu.
  • The Farmland, Food and Livable Community Conference is scheduled for Oct. 20-22 at the Hilton Lexington Downtown. Participants will tour area farms, have mobile workshops and dine at a farmer-chef connection banquet. For more information on the conference, visit: www.farmland.org.
  • Classes on food gardening will again be offered this year at the Shelby County Extension office, 1117 Frankfort Road. You’ll learn to grow everything from potatoes to strawberries, cantaloupes to cucumbers. Classes start from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and run once a week through April 23. Classes are free but space is limited. For more information or to sign up, call 633-4593.


The Kentucky Ag Report is compiled weekly from news releases distributed by Keeton Communications and the Kentucky Press News Service.