• Make a positive impact on the environment this holiday season

    While visiting our local recycling center with Teen Leadership Washington County last Friday, it brought home the importance of recycling.  

    It was also interesting to see how many families that currently do not recycle or have fallen “out of the habit.”  

    Recycling is one way we can all help the environment.

    Often we associate environmental topics with springtime, but you can be environmentally friendly any time of the year.  

  • KY farm cash receipts could reach, exceed $6 billion

    Kentucky 2013 farm cash receipts could approach, exceed $6 billion

    This article is from Dr. Will Snell, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.                
    Kentucky agricultural cash receipts could approach or possibly exceed, $6 billion in 2013, boosted by exceptionally strong equine, poultry and cattle markets, according to agricultural economists from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

  • Picking the ‘right’ Christmas tree

    Have you considered a live tree either cut or balled and bur lapped/containerized?  

    Nothing can replace that fresh pine scent and the nostalgia of a live tree.  

    There are several things you can do to increase the life span and viability of a live tree.  

    I will start with the cut ones.

    First of all, if you want a live cut tree, the one you cut yourself will last the longest.  

    Many department store and tree stand trees have been cut for several weeks before you even get to look at them.  

  • Policy briefs: Farm bill and tobacco buyout payments

    Congressional agricultural leadership and farm bill conferees have been meeting over the past several weeks to discuss the differences in the House and Senate farm bills.

    Despite some progress, a lack of consensus on key items (nutrition and commodity title reform) is jeopardizing the completion of the farm bill as we head into the Thanksgiving break.    

    Complicating the process is the level of budget savings that must evolve from agricultural and food nutrition programs (primarily SNAP – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). 

  • 4-H news for the holidays

    Last week, I wrote about families spending time together, and one way was to be creative while cooking together in the kitchen.

    Another way is to decorate together for the holidays, whatever your tradition might be.  

    Over Thanksgiving, I experienced visiting a farm market that sells fresh greenery and beautiful trees with my family.  Just getting out in the countryside and seeing live trees and wreaths made me appreciate the approaching holiday season.  

  • Make Thanksgiving about the family

    Thanksgiving can be a positive time of year, when families enjoy being together and sharing quality time.  

    Sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of getting ready for the coming holiday season though, the opportunity of taking the time to do things as a family is passed by.  

    Since the holidays are times we think of baking, consider spending time cooking together as a family. Especially when it is too cold to play outside, it is time to get creative inside.

  • Caring for amaryllis

    Amaryllis hippeastrum are sold near the holidays because of their ability to flower any time of year.  

    It is a tender bulb that originates from South America.  Its cousin, the belladonna lily — or as we affectionately call it in Kentucky, “Naked Ladies,” or a nicer version, “Resurrection Lily” — is also an amaryllis, which is native to South Africa.  

    Obviously, the version we grow called “Naked Ladies” is hardy, but sadly, the larger-flowered amaryllis is not.   

  • FSA advises producers to anticipate payment reductions due to mandated sequester

    USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is reminding farmers and ranchers who participate in FSA programs to plan accordingly in FY2014 for automatic spending reductions known as sequestration.

    The Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) mandates that federal agencies implement automatic, annual reductions to discretionary and mandatory spending limits.

    For mandatory programs, the sequestration rate for FY2014 is 7.2 percent.

    Accordingly, FSA is implementing sequestration for the following programs:

  • It’s time to prepare rose bushes for winter

    We have had temperatures down in the low 20s to burn rose leaves back and to tell them that winter is approaching and they should go dormant.  

    You can now safely cut them back.

    Generally, we are a few weeks later in the season, but this year, we have had significantly colder weather.

    It seems winter is approaching a little early.

    Before you cut your roses back, you need to know what type you have.  

  • Soil tests and pH are important

    I have had numerous people ask me what to fertilize with and how much.

    I often tell them it depends on the plants they are growing and that I can’t give them an accurate recommendation without a soil test. 

    Granted, we don’t test for nitrogen because it is always present and volatile. However timing and amounts to apply are generally constant for particular plants.