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Agriculture

  • Farmers' efforts to find labor getting harder

    Shelby County’s farmers and growers say proposed rules changes by the U.S. Department of Labor for its migrant-labor program are unfair and could harm their business.

    "From what I've seen, the changes would just about kill the program," said Melvin Moffett, owner of Snow Hill Nursery. "We'll be at the mercy of local help."

  • Wiche: Here are the All-America selections for 2010

    I can’t believe it’s almost 2010: another year of gardening and another year for the All- America Selections.

    The AAS have an inherent good-gardening stamp of approval. The designation signals superior performance in a plant that usually includes vegetables, annuals and bedding plants.  More recently they have added a cool-season award to the list so gardeners can start planting now.  

  • EARLIER: Farmers deal with too much rain after years of drought

    Mother Nature can't seem to get it just right for Shelby County farmers.

    This year's wet summer, following two years of drought, have meant local farmers have to deal with a different problem: too much rain.

    “It's just like everything else, too much of a good thing is a bad thing,” said Doug Langley, who grows tobacco, corn and soybeans and was also named Kentucky Farm Bureau's Farmer of the Year.

  • EARLIER: Crops top last year's drought-plagued yields

    "We're sleeping better this August," said Jack Trumbo as a forecast for Shelby County crop yields.

    Trumbo, chairman of the Kentucky Soybean Board and president of the Shelby County Farm Bureau, said that soybeans, burley tobacco and corn will all have improved yields this year.

    A report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirms an optimistic outlook after last year's drought yields, showing statewide forecasts put corn production at 169.5 million bushels, soybean production at 57.2 million bushels and burley tobacco at 157 million pounds.

  • WICHE: Predictions for winter, does the deer rut count?

    Everyone seems to have a theory about predicting the severity of winter weather.  I have a wait-and-see attitude, but for fun let’s consider some of the natural predictors that may or may not be of sound authority.

    The woolly worm is a favorite, and the folklore says that winter will be a long cold one if the worms are predominantly black and they start moving about before the first hard frost. 

  • Continual rain makes it hard for farmers to bring in tobacco

    This year's tobacco crop should be a good one for area farmers, if they can just bring it in.

    The harvest has been delayed by all the rainfall, more than 10 inches above normal this year, and some farmers say they are two to three weeks behind schedule.

    "Basically the whole season's been a challenge," said Stuart Chadwell. "We needed the rain, but we had too much at one time, I guess. Overall we have a decent crop."

  • WICHE: The turnip tells the tale of a real Hallow’s Eve

    Pumpkins have been on sale for weeks, children have obsessed over their costumes, and somewhere in the middle of it all is the story of All Hallow’s Eve.

  • WICHE: Native nut trees and bushy tails

    The odd thing about living in the country is that squirrels are rarely the nuisance they can be to urban folk.  I think country squirrels are wilder then city ones, but it also turns out that we are experiencing two different squirrel species all together. 

  • Tractor safety at the top of farmers' concerns

     Before Jeff Hardin climbs into the tractor's cab, he says he goes through precautions like a flight check.

    He inspects the power takeoff shaft and the equipment attached to it. He circles the tractor, making sure each tire is properly inflated.

  • WICHE: Signs of fall everywhere

    I don’t just rely on fall color to tell me the seasons are about to change. There are so many other little things to observe that help me make the transition.

    Gossamer webs floating in the air, the long shadows of a sun falling slowly in the southern sky, walnuts hidden in the grass, and robins flocking in search of crabapples and other fall fruit.