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Kentucky strawberry lovers may be able to buy locally grown berries as early as May, thanks to a new variety that is showing great potential for commercial growers. University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment horticulture specialists regularly perform variety trials on a number of crops to see what works best for the state’s growers, climate and consumer tastes.

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The Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service will host two workshops in aquatic weed control and pond management March 20-21 in Princeton.

Ponds are important to Kentucky farmers and recreationalists. The state’s more than 233,000 farm ponds serve as water sources for livestock and crops and may be great spots for recreational fishing. Landowners can help these water systems reach their full potential with proper management.

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A new University of Kentucky study has found agriculture’s total impact on Kentucky’s economy equaled $45.6 billion in 2013, an 8.3 percent increase over 2007’s figures.

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While it may not be the all-time coldest temperature ever recorded—that was -37 in 1994—Kentucky is about to experience some brutal lows and bone-chilling wind. These conditions pose significant risks to livestock, and farmers need to prepare for the extra care the animals will certainly require.

“This will definitely be one for the record books,” said Matthew Dixon, University of Kentucky agricultural meteorologist. “The extent of the cold air outbreak is being pushed further by the amount of snow that has fallen recently.”

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Registration is open for the 2015 season of the Community Supported Agriculture project sponsored by the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. All UK faculty, staff and students are eligible to enroll in the program, which provides them with a weekly share of fresh, certified organic vegetables from May through October.

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At this year’s Integrated Pest Management Training, presenters will discuss issues likely to impact Kentucky grain producers now and in the future.

The daylong training hosted by the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, will be from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. CST March 4 at the UK Research and Education Center in Princeton.

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Chair of the Family Sciences Department and Director of UK's Marriage and Family Therapy Program Ronald Werner-Wilsonand Director of UK's Family CenterTracey Werner-Wilsonwere featured during the "UK at the Half" that aired during the UK vs. University of Georgia basketball game, broadcast on the radio Feb. 3.

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Kentucky Master Loggers will have the opportunity to enroll in two upcoming continuing education classes. The Web-based sessions will take place in 15 county Cooperative Extension offices around the state.

The first class will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. EDT on March 10. Subjects covered will include new trucking regulations, updates on logging legislation, the tie and stage log markets, the pulpwood market and the forest industry economic report for 2014 to 2015.

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Visiting a doctor regularly is regarded as a necessity for keeping the body healthy, just like routine maintenance performed on a car is vital for its continued functionality and reliability. However, one of the most important aspects of many individuals' lives is often overlooked — relationships.

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Forestry and wildlife experts from Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio will offer advice on how woodland owners can get the most from their properties during the annual Ohio River Valley Woodlands and Wildlife Workshop on March 28 in Sharonville, Ohio, approximately 100 miles from Lexington and Louisville.

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Referred to by Swedish scientists as the “Nobel Prize of Agriculture,” the Bertebos Prize is a pretty big deal. This year’s co-recipients are Youling Xiong, an animal and food sciences professor for the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, and Jan Delcour, professor at the University of Leuven, Belgium.

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Burley tobacco is one of the most labor intensive crops a farmer could choose to grow. The stripping process often is the most laborious and tedious things about it, accounting for about half of the total labor cost. Traditionally, farmers manually remove the leaves from the stalks and then separate them into different grades for the market.

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Andrew Bunting has written more than 100 articles for several popular gardening publications including American Gardener, Fine Gardening, Public Garden and Arnoldia. This Old House magazine and the Wall Street Journal have featured his home garden, Belvidere. The Arboretum, State Botanical Garden of Kentucky, will welcome Bunting to the University of Kentucky campus Feb. 11 to talk about the evolution of Belvidere as part of The Arboretum’s Founders’ Lecture Series.

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When a market opens or expands, farmers take notice. That was the case recently when The Food Connection at UK hosted a one-day workshop to connect Kentucky food producers with the new Aramark-managed UK Dining.

On a recent morning, the meeting room at the Fayette County Extension office swiftly filled to capacity with about 80 farmers and food processors, reinforcing with organizers the interest among local food purveyors in being able to provide the University of Kentucky with fresh food for campus dining rooms.

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Sand County Foundation, the Kentucky Agricultural Council and the Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts are accepting applications for the Leopold Conservation Award Program in Kentucky. The $10,000 award honors Kentucky farmers, ranchers and other private landowners who voluntarily demonstrate outstanding stewardship and management of natural resources.

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For the past 35 years, the Kentucky Alfalfa Conference has offered alfalfa and animal producers and enthusiasts the chance to get the latest information on the most pressing topics during a one-day event. This year’s conference on Feb. 26 at the Cave City Convention Center will continue that tradition.

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The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment inducted the 2015 members into its Hall of Distinguished Alumni.

This year’s living inductees are Randall Barnett, Thomas Hammond, William Moody and John Robertson. These honorees have had outstanding careers and continue to serve in their professions and their communities.

“This is one of the most exciting events for our college, because we celebrate our alumni who are true legends in their various fields,” said Nancy Cox, dean of the college.

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In the early 1960s, Blaine Parker was part of a group of agricultural engineers working on a rural electrification project. Parker was the chair of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s Agricultural Engineering Department at the time. He had no idea that those group meetings would lead to a farm machinery demonstration that would still be going 50 years later and attracting visitors from around the world.

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Many Kentucky growers are using high tunnels to extend their crop seasons. While it offers a great opportunity, high tunnel production can be overwhelming without the right tools. Growers can learn to navigate the ins-and-outs of high tunnel production through a series of six webinars offered in February and March.

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s Center for Crop Diversification, through the Barnhart Fund for Excellence, is sponsoring the series.

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The Lexington Forum recognized Kentucky Small Business Development Center senior consultant Fausto Sarmiento with the 2014 One to Watch Award at the annual Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government’s State of the Merged Government Address and luncheon held at the Hyatt Regency Lexington recently.

The One to Watch Award is presented each year to a business leader or expert who embraces and exhibits genuine community spirit. This is the third year the Lexington Forum has presented the award.

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Billions of dollars are spent each year by federal, state and local governments with outside contractors. Significant economic impact can be realized when Kentucky businesses have the opportunity to bid and win these contracts. As such, the Kentucky Procurement Technical Assistance Center and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government will offer workshops to educate and train small-business owners seeking to secure government contracts. All classes are free and open to the public.

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Kentucky’s quality forage base affords many opportunities for goat and sheep grazing pastures. With the Kentucky Department of Agriculture reporting that the state is home to nearly 68,000 goats and about 43,000 sheep, new and established producers can benefit from educational opportunities like the Small Ruminant Grazing Conference.

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Researchers in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment have found that plant lipids, which are fats, oils or waxes, play an important role in plant defense against pathogens. These same lipids contribute to the nutritional properties of vegetable plants and may possibly play a role in humans’ abilities to fight diseases.

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The Center for Leadership Development in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, will welcome Robert Long as the 2015 W. Norris Duvall Leader in Residence Feb. 23-27. Long is currently the visiting Distinguished Professor of the Nonprofit Leadership Studies Program at Murray State University and serves as senior fellow at Arizona State University’s Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation.

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