USDA

Matt Markgraf / WKMS

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner says a legal opinion from the USDA provides much needed certainty for the hemp industry. 

Nicole Erwin / Ohio Valley ReSource

The new U.S. Department of Agriculture census released April 11 shows mid-sized farms in Kentucky farms are on the decline.

Vivian Livingood is the mayor of Gilbert, a southern West Virginia  town of under 500 people that has struggled for years without reliable internet. Livingood said that hampers Gilbert’s tourism, businesses and schools.

 

“We get kicked off the internet here every two minutes, and that’s if we can afford the internet,” Livingood said. “And it’s just pitiful service. It’s not fast.”

 

Glynis Board | Ohio Valley Resource

Inside Winkin’ Sun Hemp Company in downtown Wheeling, West Virginia, store owner Doug Flight tries to position himself in front of a camera crew.

His experience with growing and selling hemp spans years. But memorizing lines for what he says could be the first hemp TV commercial in the state is another issue.

“I know, I grow,” Flight says to the camera. “Is that it?” Flight asked.

“It’s ‘I know because I grow,’” someone with the camera crew said back.

America’s trade disputes have decreased the export of many food products, so the U.S. Department of Agriculture is buying surplus from farmers and distributing it through what’s called ‘trade mitigation’ programs. 

One Kentucky food bank director said the organization is short on funding required to get the perishables to families in need.

At Feeding America Kentucky’s Heartland in Elizabethtown, two tractor-trailer loads of apples from Michigan arrived recently, as well as a tractor-trailer full of potatoes. USDA surplus coming in also includes oranges, almonds, pistachios and canned pork in the form of barbecue or taco filling. More milk and cheese are due in.


Nicole Erwin / WKMS

  Some Ohio Valley farmers are working around the aftereffects of the government shutdown. Along with Farm Service Agency offices being reopened to farmers trying to sign up for federal relief payments, it includes a backlog of government reports with important crop information delayed for weeks.

 

Kentucky farmers will soon be getting crops reports they use for market information and to make decisions about spring planting. The U.S. Department of Agriculture office in Kentucky that does those reports was closed during the government shutdown, but now - it’s open.

David Knopf is regional director for the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, based in Louisville. He said crop reports that were due out on Jan. 11 are now scheduled to be published Feb. 8.

Knopf said the report on corn, soybeans and wheat that’s in storage is especially valuable to Kentucky farmers. 

The Farm Service Agency office in Mayfield, Kentucky, is so quiet you can hear the tick of the Department of Agriculture-branded clock on the wall.

Matt Markgraf / WKMS

Kentucky got off to a quick start toward putting its oversight strategy in place for hemp production on Thursday when its agriculture commissioner filed a plan with federal regulators — the same day hemp was legalized as a farm commodity.

Sergey Kuzmin / 123rf Stock Photo

Todd County is receiving more than $4 million from the federal government as part of a national investment in rural water infrastructure improvements. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on Tuesday $1.2 billion toward projects in 46 states.

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