Ag report: Jan 31, 2014

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By The Staff

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.

GAP Connections offers a streamlined approach to free farmers from overlapping their efforts through the U.S. Tobacco GAP Program, supplying them with simple procedures that are coordinated with industry buyers and manufacturers.

The Grower ID System provides a secure way for tobacco farmers to document and share their agricultural practices training associated with the U.S. Tobacco GAP Program. Growers will be assigned a unique Grower ID number that will be used to track GAP training attendance and generate an electronic record of that attendance that can be shared with companies that purchase their tobacco and need to verify that the crop was grown using good agricultural practices.

Use of the Grower ID System to document training will simplify documentation of training compared to the former system of paper certificates kept by the farmer.

“We’re trying to ensure sustainable, economically viable production of usable tobacco, using guidelines for agricultural practice to help growers produce a quality crop through sustainable practices,” Jane Starnes, acting director of GAP connections, said in a release. “The Grower ID System further streamlines that by giving tobacco farmers a secure and easily accessible place to keep all of their training records.”

When growers register online in the ID system, they will receive their unique grower ID number and grower ID card, which will be scanned at training meetings starting this year. This system will provide an immediate record of their training that, with the permission of the farmers, will be made available to participating companies that buy their tobacco. 

Registered farmers can also use their Grower ID number to log into the Grower ID System at www.gapconnections.comto view and print their training records at any time.

If you have questions or would like help in securing your Grower ID, you can contact Corinne Belton at the Shelby County Extension Office at 633-4593.


Equine seminars set

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 five sessions, which begin March 6 with a program on pasture management at the Henry County Extension office in New Castle, are at 6-8:30 p.m. and cost $10 each, including dinner.

Subsequent sessions are:

  • Equine dental care, featuring Shelby veterinarian Jack Easley, March 20 at the Shelby County office.
  • Equine survey results and impact, April 3 at the Oldham County office in La Grange.
  • Fly control, April 17 at the Spencer County office in Taylorsville.
  • Grazing management and laminitis, May 1 at the Trimble County office in Bedford.

For more information or to reserve your seating, call 502-222-9453 or send an E-mail to traci-missun@uky.edu.


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.

On the first night, Warren Beeler of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture will lead a discussion about the good news about agriculture, and Shelby farmers Mary Courtney and Amanda Gajdzik and Jon Bednarski will be on a panel called “Why Speak Up.”

On Feb. 20, Jana McGuire of the Center for Food Integrity will address “How Do I Know What to Say?” – a program to address speaking with the media.

For more information or to reserve a space, call 633-4593. Light refreshments will be served.


Kentucky farmer wins

Linda McClanahan of Mercer County was Kentucky’s representative in the Young Farmer & Rancher Excellence in Agriculture contest at the American Farm Bureau convention in San Antonio and emerged as the winner of the competition. This award recognizes young farmers and ranchers who do not derive the majority of their income from an agricultural operation, but who actively contribute and grow through their involvement in agriculture, their leadership ability and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations.


Mobile app for farm show

The 2014 National Farm Machinery Show mobile app is now available for free on smartphones (iPhones, Androids and Blackberry) and features an interactive exhibitor map, listings, seminars, speakers, Championship Tractor Pull schedule and Louisville area information to plan your trip to the largest indoor farm show in America.

The app is called “NFMS 14.” During the show, the app will provide text alerts and mobile updates about what’s happening at the show. Social media will be incorporated into the app using the official show hashtag #nfms14.
The show is 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily Feb. 12-15 at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville.


  • Saturday is the deadline for applications for five, $1,000 college scholarships Monty’s Plant Food is awarding in conjunction with the National FFA. To be eligible students must live on a family farm, plan to pursue post-secondary education and study agronomy and crop science, sustainable agriculture, soil science or soil conservation, have a minimum high school grade-point average of 3.25 and have participated in community service. Applications are available at www.ffa.org/scholarships.
  • The2014 National Farm Machinery Show is 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily Feb. 12-15 at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville.
  • Kentucky Round-Up, an annual event sponsored by the Kentucky Horse Council that celebrates horses with live demonstrations, hands-on activities and educational exhibits, will be Feb. 15-16 at the Alltech Arena in the Kentucky Horse Park.
  • 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. on Feb. 19, 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 Shelby County Extension office will offer a series of Green Thumb Gardening once a month starting in February at 1117 Frankfort Road. Topics include: fruit tree pruning on Feb. 22; lawn mower care and maintenance, March 20; herbs, April 17; 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.
  • Shelby County Cooperative Extension Service is offering a series of four classes on the basics of backyard poultry production. The classes are from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, March 4, 11, 18 and 25 at 1117 Frankfort Road. Classes will cover selecting appropriate breeds, housing, feeding, disease prevention, marketing and more. Classes will be taught by Tony Pescatore and Jacqui Jacob, extension poultry specialists from the University of Kentucky and Walt Reichert, Shelby County Extension horticulture technician. Classes are free, but space is limited. Reserve a spot by calling 633-4593.


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