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Sign-up time is here
for CSA food program
Time also is running out for Kentuckians to sign up for a steady supply of local food in the 2011 growing season through Community Supported Agriculture. “A CSA gives consumers a chance to participate directly in the food production process,” Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer said. “Consumers get fresh fruits, vegetables and other products right off the farm. They also get to get to know the people who produce the food they serve to their families.”
In a typical CSA, members pay the farmer in advance for a weekly share of the farm’s harvest. Members get farm-fresh foods directly from the producer but also share the risk that the crop could suffer because of weather or other unforeseen circumstances. Along with spreading some of the risk of farming, the producer is relieved of much of the burden of marketing and gets a better price for his or her products.
Most CSAs offer a variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs in season. Some provide shares in eggs, meat, milk, baked goods, and even firewood. CSAs vary according to the level of financial commitment, active participation by the shareholders, and details of payment plans and distribution systems.
The number of CSAs in Kentucky and in the United States has grown dramatically in recent years. The U.S. Department of Agriculture found in 2007 that 12,549 farms throughout the country reported marketing products through a CSA arrangement. Fifty-two Kentucky CSAs are registered with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture – including at least two in Shelby County – up from 10 in 2009.
A list of CSAs in Kentucky with available foods and contact information can be found on the Department website at www.kyagr.com/marketing/plantmktg/csa.htm.
Conservation program ends April 15
USDA Farm Service Agency State Executive Director John McCauley reminds landowners and producers that a general sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program ends April 15. During this sign-up period, farmers and ranchers may offer eligible land through the local Farm Service Agency county office.
CRP is a voluntary program that allows environmentally sensitive land be used for conservation benefits. Producers accepted in the program plant long-term, resource conserving vegetative covers in exchange for rental payments, cost share and technical assistance. By reducing water runoff and sedimentation, CRP protects groundwater and improves the condition of lakes, rivers, ponds and streams. The vegetative covers offers improved wildlife habitat, making it a major contributor to the increase in wildlife population.
FSA evaluates and ranks eligible land offered for CRP using the Environmental Benefits
Index. The EBI review looks at five environmental factors: wildlife, water, soil, air and
enduring benefits, as well as cost. The land is ranked based on which would offer the
greatest environmental benefits.
For more information, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/crp
Discounted trees available
The Kentucky Division of Forestry is offering low-cost seedlings to Kentucky landowners and homeowners through the end of April. A limited variety of species are still available for sale, and most species are $24-$34 per 10-tree bundle and $35-$45 per 100-tree bundle, plus shipping. Available species will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis. To view a list of available species and obtain an order form, please visit the division’s web site at http://forestry.ky.gov or contact the main office at 1-800-866-1033.
Soybean production is up
According to the 2011 Prospective Plantings report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture , U.S. farmers will plant 76.6 million acres of soybeans this year. USDA estimates this year’s soybean crop may be 1 percent lower than last year. But if the numbers hold, the 2011 soybean crop could be the third-largest planted area on record.
High-oleic soybeans produce soybean oil with traits that are more desirable to both the food industry and consumers. With lower saturated fats and no trans fats in the oil they produce, high-oleic varieties could help soybean oil win back the market share it has lost to other vegetable oils. To help increase acreage, U.S. soybean farmers can anticipate incentives to plant high-oleic soybeans.
USDA’s final 2010 estimates concluded that U.S. farmers planted 77.4 million acres of soybeans last year and harvested 76.6 million acres. Average yield per bushel in 2010 decreased slightly from 2009, with 2010 bringing in 43.5 bushels per acre.
§ The Mount Eden Saddle Club 2011 horse shows is 6 p.m. each second Saturday of each month, starting Saturday and running through October. The rainout date is the fourth Saturday. Admission is $2, and children 6-years-old and under are free. For more information contact Chasidy Hawkins at 502-680-0497 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Sharon Gilbert at 502-738-9741 or email@example.com or visit www.mtedensaddleclub.weebly.com.
§ The Shelby County Cutting Horse Association will hold its next show Saturday and Sunday at the Rocky Fork Feeders Arena on Dover Road. Following that will be shows May 21-22, July 16-17, Aug. 5-7, Sept. 10-11 and Nov. 4-6. Members also will be participating in shows in Duquoin Ill., and at the Kentucky State Fair (Aug. 8-9). For more information, you can visit www.kchacutting.org.
§ A GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) certification course will be held at 5:30-8 p.m. Tuesday at the Cooperative Extension Office. Pizza will be served for dinner. Call 633-4593 to reserve your meal. No cost to attend.
§ The Shelby County Master Gardeners will host their annual Garden and Art Fair at 9 a.m-2 p.m. April 23 at the Shelby County Fairgrounds. Vendors will be onsite with plants, equipment and garden-related items. Food will be available. The Master Gardeners will offer plants and herbs for sale, and there will be a garden-related yard sale. For more information, call Carolyn at 633-5193.
§ USMGA will sponsor another season of Mounted Games at Red Orchard Park on April 16. A tradition in England is now becoming a fast-growing sport for teaching kids to ride and play with their equine partners. Come out and join the fun or watch the exciting event. For more information call 502-232-2110 or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
§ A course on marketing trends and practices, including new ideas for selling and promoting your operations and market outlook for grain crops, fruits and vegetables, will be at 6-8 p.m. April 18 at the Cooperative Extension Office. Dinner will be served. Call 633-4593 to reserve your meal. No cost to attend.
§ Cornerstone Christian Academy will hold an Ag Day celebration 10 a.m.-2 p.m. May 10 at the school. Guest speakers include business and governmental leaders. There will be booths for vendors, too. The program will provide students with background and in-depth information on agriculture and agricultural opportunities. In case of rain, the vent will be May 18.
The Kentucky Ag Report is compiled weekly from news releases distributed by Keeton Communications and other sources.