• WICHE: USDA hardiness zones are hot and cold

    The USDA Hardiness Zone Map has long been a guideline for cold hardiness of plants. About every 10 years it is revised in order to provide a bit more detail in our changing climate. The most recent map was revised in January of 2013 and is based on temperature information from 1976 through 2005.

    Climate researchers collected temperatures from more than 4,600 weather stations across the United States. They take the average coldest temperature of a location to come up with an “average annual extreme temperature” to determine an area’s hardiness zone.

  • Ag report: Jan 31, 2014

    New program to track GAP training, practices

    GAP Connections, a nonprofit aiming to create awareness and cultivate positive environmental and social impact through good agricultural practices in the tobacco industry, has announced the launch of a new Web site and online Grower ID system to provide a resource for tobacco farmers and other interested parties to learn about the organization’s initiatives, as well as a way for farmers to sign up for the Grower ID System.

  • WICHE: All this cold could be good

    A few weeks ago on Ira Flatow’s Science Friday there was an interview with research biologist Rob Venette from the U.S. Forest Service in Minnesota who addressed the effect temperature has on certain insects.

    The ability of insects to survive winter – when so many of them thrive in summer – has always fascinated me. While we would most certainly root for the bees and butterflies, my enthusiasm would wane for fleas and ticks.

  • Groundhogs cast shadows in Shelby, too

    After suffering through more than one “polar vortex” it’s a safe bet that Shelby Countians are hoping that Punxsutawney Phil and his fellow groundhogs don’t see their shadows on Sunday.

    According to folklore, if it’s cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day – Feb. 2, or Groundhog Day – then spring will come early. Or, if it’s sunny, the groundhog sees his shadow and returns to his burrow – resulting in six more weeks of winter.

  • WICHE: Orchids determined by the bloom

    Have you ever wondered what makes an orchid an orchid? Well, it is all about flower parts. In fact, most plants are categorized in the plant kingdom by their flowers.

  • Ag report: Jan.24, 2014

    Extension office to host

    ag leadership program

    The Shelby County Extension Office will host two events to help train leaders and spokespersons to deliver the message of the agriculture industry.

    These training programs will be at 6-8 p.m. Feb. 13 and Feb. 20 at the office at 1117 Frankfort Road. They are free.

    The goal of the program, its announcement says, is to help sort through information and misinformation and to communicate the concept that farmers provide safe, affordable food for families.

  • Ag report: Jan. 17, 2014

    Today is last day to vote for FSA county committee

    USDA Farm Service Agency officials issued a reminder to farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers that they have until today to return to the FSA office completed ballots for county committee members.

    Eligible voters who have not received a ballot can obtain one from the USDA Service Center on Breighton Boulevard in Shelbyville. This is the last day for voters to submit completed ballots in person to local USDA Service Centers, and mail ballots must be postmarked no later than today.

  • WICHE: Plan ahead for spring garden

    Plant and seed catalogs will be jamming the mailbox any day now. I always feel like January ushers in a clean slate for the garden: Optimism abounds among fresh ideas and promises never to repeat a crop busting mistake are sharp in my memory. Sometimes the slate stays clean; sometimes it doesn’t.

    Either way the next couple of months can be used to plan and prepare for the next growing season. Don’t get over whelmed by (or over indulge in) all the catalogs until you actually decide on what you want to accomplish for the year.

  • Tobacco adjustment to be a big winner

    CAMPBELLSVILLE – Tobacco producers who opted for the 10-year annual payments during the 2004 tobacco buyout will receive the full amount of their final installment after all.

    Last year, United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the USDA planned to cut final tobacco payment installments by 7.2 percent as part of budget cuts resulting from federal sequestration.

  • Ag report: Jan. 10, 2014

    Shelby farm honored

    again for its corn crop

    Kevin and Kathy Smith once again this year are being honored for having an outstanding corn crop.

    The Smiths, who operate Dusty Feather Farms on Figgs Store Road in southern Shelby County, were notified recently that they were being honored by the National Corn Growers Association that they were winners for District 4 in Kentucky.

    They will travel to Bowling Green next week to accept their rewards during the Kentucky Commodities Classic.