• THE BUSINESS OF AGRICULTURE IN KENTUCKY •
Homegrown by Heroes
Military veterans realize new careers in agriculture
Udderly Kentucky program creates demand for local dairy products In Partnership with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture // KY-AGRICULTURE.COM // 2014
TABLE OF CONTENTS
7 Welcome Letter from
Commissioner James Comer
8 Kentucky Agriculture Overview 11 Kentucky Top Ten 12 Planning for the Future
Kentucky Agricultural Council unveils new strategic plan
Food and Wine
14 Homegrown by Heroes 18 Kentucky Proud
New program helps veterans realize successful careers in agriculture Bringing the farm to you, no matter where you are Agritourism proves to be a viable farming method Kentucky’s wine industry makes a comeback
22 Life on the Farm
25 Commissioner’s Cup Runneth Over
• THE BUSINESS OF AGRICULTURE IN KENTUCKY •
TABLE OF CONTENTS
KENTUCKY PROUD 2014
Livestock & Animals
26 On With the Show 29 Well Suited
Kentucky hosts world’s largest all-breed, purebred livestock exposition Sheep and goats graze Kentucky farms Thoroughbred industry wins big for the Commonwealth’s economy Agriculture embraces the horse industry
Crops, Plants & Forestry
48 Modern Farming
Technology helps grain farmers harvest more Industrial hemp production poised to benefit economy Global demand keeps Kentucky No. 1 for burley
50 Plant With Potential 51 Tops for Tobacco
30 Reins Supreme
35 Kentucky Proud for Kentuckybreds 36 Udderly Kentucky Milk 40 The Fish Are Biting
52 Growing Agriculture Professionals
Universities prepare students for an evolving industry
Taking buying local to a new level with a family staple Interest in aquaculture is growing in state Cattle farms use Bourbon byproduct as protein-rich feed
55 School on Wheels
Mobile Science Activity Center Program takes agriculture on the road
44 Feeding the Industry
On the Cover Mike Kenealy, a Homegrown by Heroes farmer, is the produce coordinator for the Growing Warriors training farm in Berea. PHOTO BY BRIAN MCCORD
ANIMALS & LIVESTOCK
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A LOOK INSIDE
Exclusive branding spells success for dairy farmers
FARMER DANTE CARPENTER’S family has milked cows since 1947 in southcentral Kentucky. And he plans to maintain that heritage, in spite of challenging times for dairy producers. Slim margins and high costs teamed with a maturing farmer base have fueled a dairy decline in Kentucky. Yet the state’s dairy farmers collectively work against the odds. The rural Kentucky landscape lost 40 percent, or 48,000, of its dairy cows between 1993 and 2013, based on data from
Jersey Calves at KC Farm in Russell Springs, Kentucky.
the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Yet milk production declined only about 23 percent in the same time frame. In fact, between 2011 and 2012, milk production increased while cow inventories decreased. Carpenter is among the farmers doing more with less. Increased management, frugal decision-making and diversification have maintained the farm’s longevity, he says. “I’ve been spending where I need it the worst,” he says. “We don’t buy a whole lot of things. We utilize what we have.”
PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRIAN MCCORD
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UCKY PROU D
BUS INES S OF AGR ICUL TUR E IN KEN TUC KY •
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It’s an exciting time for Kentucky agriculture. Advances in marketing and technology are enabling farmers to diversify and to operate more efficiently. Perhaps the most successful agriculture initiative of the past decade is Kentucky Proud, and in 2013 the Kentucky Department of Agriculture launched several new ventures intended to take the official state farm marketing program to the next level. We launched Homegrown by Heroes and Jobs for Vets in January 2013 to help consumers identify Kentucky Proud products produced by military veterans and connect veterans looking for work with farmers who need labor. I saw this as a wonderful opportunity to give something back to the people who have given so much for our country. In July, we unveiled Udderly Kentucky, a brand that identifies milk produced by more than 100 Kentucky family farms and processed by Prairie Farms Dairy of Somerset. This program is expanding rapidly, and I’m optimistic it will help Kentucky’s dairy industry move forward. The Farm to Campus program helps Kentucky’s colleges and universities find local foods to serve to their students. The Farm to Table dinners feature Kentucky Proud foods prepared by some of the Commonwealth’s finest chefs to educate people about all the fresh, delicious foods Kentucky Proud has to offer. These initiatives will establish Kentucky Proud in parts of the state where the program still has plenty of room to grow. In these pages, you will read more about Kentucky Proud and Kentucky agriculture in general. When you’re finished, I think you’ll agree that it is an exciting time for Kentucky agriculture. Sincerely,
James Comer Commissioner of Agriculture Commonwealth of Kentucky
No public funds were used in the publishing of this magazine.
THERE ARE NEARLY DAIRY FARMS IN KENTUCKY.
A look at the state’s diverse agriculture industry
is a cornucopia of agricultural commodities. Kentucky boasts 13.9 million acres of lush farmland covering 54 percent of the state. Kentucky is in the top five nationally for the highest number of farms with 85,300. The average farm size in the state is 164 acres. Various types of rich soil make up the gently rolling hills and scenic pastures. The Crider soil series, the most prevalent varieties, cover 500,000 acres and 35 counties in the state. The Crider soils are deep, well-drained and extremely productive, ideal for growing Kentucky’s top commodities such as wheat, soybeans, corn and hay. The Crider soils are also perfect for growing Kentucky’s No. 6 commodity, tobacco. Ranked No. 1 nationally for burley tobacco, Kentucky produces 262.5 million pounds annually. Conveniently, Lexington is home to the world’s largest burley tobacco market. In addition to burley tobacco, Kentucky also leads the country for dark fired tobacco and dark air tobacco.
THE BLUEGRASS StAtE
Kentucky has a robust animal agriculture industry ranging from horses to aquaculture and cattle to sheep. Half of Kentucky’s farm income is generated by livestock and livestock products. Kentucky ranks No. 5 in goat farming and is home to approximately 68,000 goats. Forest and timber are another major source of income for Kentucky. Commercial forest covers 12.5 million acres, or 50 percent of the state. Kentucky ranks No. 3 in the nation for hardwood production. White oak, red oak, walnut, yellow poplar, beech, sugar maple, white ash and hickory are the most prevalent species of trees. The agriculture industry in Kentucky generates $17 billion per year and employs more than 400,000 people. Farmers contribute to the state economy by paying more than $200 million in wages a year and more than $50 million in property taxes. Agriculture provides food, fiber and fuel to both Kentucky and the nation. And with some of the country’s top exports, Kentucky holds its own in the global economy. – Hannah Patterson
Kentucky currently has 65 wineries, across the state.
FARMS IN 2011.
Sources: Kentucky Department of Agriculture Kentucky Corn Growers Association Kentucky Equine Survey (2102) UK Forestry Extension United Soybean Board U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service
agricultural commodity in Kentucky.
Poultry is the
ANIMAL AGRICULTURE CONTRIBUTES 35,630 JOBS FOR KENTUCKIANS.
Kentucky’s top corn producing counties are: Union, Daviess and Henderson.
THE VALUE OF ALL EQUINE RELATED ASSETS, INCLUDING THE VALUE OF THE EQUINE INVENTORY, TOTALS
12.5 MILLION ACRES OR 50 PERCENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH ARE FORESTED. THE TOTAL ECONOMIC IMPACT OF FORESTRY IS $9.9 BILLION.
Kentucky is ranked
in burley tobacco.
Kentucky’s top commodities, based on cash receipts
Sources: Kentucky Equine Survey (2012) and U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service
Kentucky Top Ten
Ranked No. 7 in the U.S. for broilers, Kentucky poultry generated $ 867 million in cash receipts for broiler sales in 2012.
Ranked No. 2 in the nation for production, Kentucky tobacco cash receipts totaled $ 385 million in 2012.
The No. 2 commodity in Kentucky earned $ 829 million in 2012. Farmers produced more than 104 million bushels of corn in the state.
7. DAIRY PRODUCTS
The No. 7 commodity in Kentucky brought in $220 million in 2012. The average dairy cow has an economic impact of $13,700 in a single year.
Kentucky is home to 242,400 horses and mules. The equine industry in the state creates 40,665 jobs.
Wheat generated $201 million in cash receipts in 2012. Kentucky farmers harvested wheat on 470,000 acres yielding 29 million bushels.
Soybeans brought $741 million to Kentucky’s economy in 2012, representing a more than $165 million increase from the previous year.
Farmers produced 4.9 million tons of hay in 2012, which brought $142 million in cash receipts to the state’s economy.
5. CATTLE AND CALVES
Kentucky is home to more than 1.1 million beef cattle and is the leading beef cattle state east of the Mississippi River.
10. CHICKEN EGGS
Bringing in an impressive $116 million in 2012, chicken eggs ranked as the No. 10 commodity in Kentucky.
Planning for the Future
Kentucky Agricultural Council unveils new strategic plan
That was only the beginning, however. The second strategic plan, released in 2013, takes Kentucky Agriculture to the next level. “With this second plan, we want to move forward, so we’re going to keep having quarterly meetings,” Brannon says. The new motto of the plan is “What page are you on?” Brannon literally wants each of the 70 participating organizations to take ownership of a page or section of the plan to accomplish the goals. “Everyone involved in the plan plays a strategic part,” Brannon says. “We want them to find a page or paragraph, decide what action can be done and get to work.” Brannon and the members of the task force understand that production agriculture has changed, not just in Kentucky, but worldwide in terms of traditionally profitable and open markets. In Kentucky, profitable production agriculture once included tobacco, dairy, beef cattle and equine. New agriculture involves small grains, poultry and aquaculture as well as continues to evolve, and there’s now a new five-year plan to prove it. The Kentucky Agricultural Strategic Plan, created by the Kentucky Agricultural Council, isn’t just about improving the state’s farms and helping farmers – it’s about strengthening their place in communities and improving quality of life and economic vitality across Kentucky. “We didn’t want this to be a plan that just ends up on someone’s shelf,” says Tony Brannon, dean of agriculture at Murray State University and chair of the Kentucky Agricultural Council. “Our motto was to ‘Plan your work and work your plan’.” Brannon also helped develop the first agricultural strategic plan, used from 2007 to 2012, which had assessments where members graded their progress. “We even had mid-terms to see how we were doing,” Brannon says. “At the end, we felt we had significant accomplishments.”
K ENtUCkY AGRICULtURE
locally grown fruits and vegetables and even exporting “crops” such as largemouth bass fingerlings to Canada. “Our top three goals are to increase net farm income, prosper rural Kentucky and maintain the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund for agriculture,” Brannon says. While other states may have similar strategic plans, what sets this plan apart is that it’s not driven from a governmental office, but from within agriculture itself, Brannon says. “It doesn’t spell out corn, soybeans, wheat and cattle – although they are still important,” he says. “Our core strategy is to make sure the next generation of farmers can thrive. One of the things that makes this plan unique is that producers are involved, not just staff people. Our final document is the result of listening sessions held across the state to make sure we had what producers wanted.” – Charlyn Fargo
KENTUCKY STRATEGIC PLAN GOALS
Restore the historical level of revenue to the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund that will permit it to continue support for diversiﬁcation of Kentucky farm production and strengthen the economic vitality of rural communities.
Fully fund and implement initiatives underway to upgrade the diagnostic facilities at the Murray State Breathitt Veterinary Center, including full construction funding in the Commonwealth’s 2014 budget.
Improve the competitiveness of Kentucky agriculture with other states and help to increase net farm income through innovative legislation and tax law modiﬁcations. In addition, create a regulatory environment that allows agricultural producers and businesses to make long-term operational decisions and investments in land, labor and equipment. Continue to provide strong funding support for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Kentucky Proud program. Another goal is to also increase state funding through KDA for agriculture-focused companion marketing efforts at regional, national and international events.
em Land Manag
Adequately fund the state’s Agricultural Experiment Stations and University Farms to cover the costs of deferred maintenance on facilities and provide adequate funds for new programs.
PHOTO BY BRIAN MCCORD
FOOD & WINE
Homegrown by Heroes
New program helps veterans realize successful careers in agriculture
H AVE YOU tHANkEd A veteran lately? Thanks to Kentucky’s own Homegrown by Heroes program, it can be as easy as buying fruits and vegetables. Homegrown by Heroes, a Kentucky Proud program launched in 2013, allows Kentucky farmers who have served in the military to label their agriculture products with the branded logo to signify a veteran produced the product. You can find the logos on products from grocery shelves to farmers markets across Kentucky. “This label makes it easier than ever to thank a veteran,” says Mike Lewis, a Kentucky veteran farmer. “All you have to do is buy their food. That’s a big enough thank-you because you’re supporting a veteran’s farm.” Lewis grows more than 30 varieties of vegetables in Madison and Rockcastle counties and served from 1992 to 1996 in the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment in Washington, D.C. “We all wave our flags on Veteran’s Day – now let’s put our
food dollars where our hearts are,” Lewis says. According to the White House,44 percent of veterans nationwide come from rural farming communities, and upon returning home from service, they often find themselves unemployed. Homegrown by Heroes is helping change that by encouraging veterans to realize successful careers in agriculture. For Lewis, Homegrown by Heroes was the catalyst that prompted him to start his own business. “Before, I had always managed CSAs on other people’s farms, and Homegrown by Heroes gave me confidence to step out and start my own farm,” he says. “I’m a smallscale producer in a marketplace that’s built for large-scale producers, and I used to feel like I was getting beat up on the price of something. Now when I talk to buyers, the Homegrown by Heroes label helps me create a personal relationship with them, and they don’t mind
Homegrown by Heroes veteran farmer Mike Lewis raises more than 30 varieties of vegetables.
We all wave our flags on Veteran’s Day – now let’s put our food dollars – MIKE LEWIS where our hearts are.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRIAN MCCORD
Veteran farmers Mike Lewis and Mark Walden harvest potatoes on a farm in Berea.
OF VETERANS NATIONWIDE COME FROM RURAL FARMING COMMUNITIES.
paying a little more. I’m finally able to focus on building a farm for my 2-year-old son to take over someday.” Vietnam veteran Danny Ray Townsend is a fifth-generation producer of sweet sorghum at Townsend Sorghum Mill in Jeffersonville and believes the Homegrown by Heroes label will help increase his sales. Townsend also sells apple butter and produce. “I love the idea of it, and I’m so glad someone is doing something for the Vietnam veterans because it wasn’t a popular thing to be back then,” says Townsend, who served in Vietnam in 1970 and 1971. “When we came home, we were told to get out of
our uniforms or we’d get eggs thrown at us. I don’t consider myself a hero, but I did serve in a combat zone. If people want to recognize me, then buying my product is a great way to do it.” Homegrown by Heroes already has more than 40 veteran farmer members, and in 2014, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture plans to partner with the California-based Farmer Veteran Coalition to make it a nationwide effort. “We want farmers to be able to differentiate their products in the marketplace, and we hope Homegrown by Heroes spurs a new generation of farmers,” says
Agriculture Commissioner James Comer. “We hope young vets who are exiting the military will see agriculture as a meaningful career they can pour themselves into.” Executive Director of the Farmer Veteran Coalition Michael O’Gorman says it’s important to recognize veteran farmers for taking on two of the most challenging careers – the military and agriculture. And not only does agriculture help veterans earn a living, it also has healing properties. “There’s something really attractive about having farming to come home to. It’s natural healing for the mind and soul,” O’Gorman says. “A lot of that healing also has to do with finding a sense of purpose. You could have sustained a brain injury or physical trauma, but you can find a new reason to wake up every day. That’s the magic of it.” – Jessica Mozo
Bringing the farm to you, no matter where you are
WHAt dO A UNIVERSItY Of LOUISVILLE national championship pennant, a U of L Cardinal T-shirt and a jar of Ale-8-One salsa have in common? They’re all red hot. They all signify local pride. And you can find them all at the university’s bookstore. The availability of Kentucky Proud products on campus retail shelves and in dining halls across the state is part of the Farm-to-Campus program, an initiative of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. The program encourages universities and colleges to make more locally grown foods available to students as a way to educate them about the nutritional benefits and the impact to the local agriculture economy. At the University of Louisville, the initiative is strong and far-reaching. Local food-related purchases in the past year totaled well over $500,000.
“For an urban institution, we’re quite proud of our results,” says Mitchell Payne, associate vice president for business affairs at U of L. He explains that the efforts to provide local foods to students go beyond keeping them on shelves. Local produce, when in season, is part of the all-you-care-to-eat Ville Grill as well as grab-n-go convenience locations across the main campus. Local beef from Marksbury Farms is also served at the Ville Grill as well as at the Cardinal Burger Company on campus. The U of L’s dining services partner, Sodexo, even publishes a map each semester, so that students can see what local sources provide their food. Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) is another partner in the Farm-to-Campus program. Kentucky Proud products are available in their bookstore, in student convenience stores and at the Fresh Food Company
Clockwise from Top: The Cardinal Burger Company, in the Swain Student Activities Center at the University of Louisville sells local beef from Marksbury Farms; A delivery of ground beef from Marksbury Farms is unpacked at the U of L Ville Grille; Kentucky Proud merchandise available at the U of L bookstore.
PHOTO BY MICHAEL CONTI
PHOTO BY BRIAN MCCORD
PHOTO BY MICHAEL CONTI
restaurant in the Student Center. EKU’s food service partner, Aramark, is also serving Kentucky Proud products in the dining halls. Asbury University and Morehead State University are also promoting locally sourced food and products to their students by being members of the Farm-to-Campus program. Efforts across Kentucky campuses continue to grow. Some provide information on area caterers that use local foods in their menus as a way to encourage university departments to consider that in their choices. U of L holds a Community Supported Agriculture Information Fair each year as well, so students can meet with local farmers and learn more. “We are always looking for ways to expand the program to better serve and educate our students on sustainability and local food issues,” says Payne. That’s one important goal of the Farm-to-Campus program, says Kristen Branscum, executive director of marketing for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. “The earlier and the more frequently we can educate consumers about the value of locally grown foods, the greater the benefits for them and for the agriculture community,” she says. EKU President Michael T. Benson agrees the program is a creative and productive way to benefit Kentuckians’ quality of life and the Commonwealth’s economy. “I firmly believe the Farmto-Campus program will quickly become a model of success other campuses across America will want to follow. I am proud EKU and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture are on the leading edge of what will surely become a national trend.”
program hosts charity dinners at local restaurants that feature menus filled with Kentucky products. The first chef’s bootcamp sponsored by the James Beard Foundation was held in Kentucky and featured locally grown products. The Kentucky Derby Festival provides opportunities to promote Kentucky Proud initiatives, including Homegrown by Heroes products produced by farmers who are also veterans. Branscum explains that getting in front of these different audiences to spread the word about local foods is extremely important. “The Kentucky Proud program is more than a decade old, and there’s been a lot of growth in that time. But we’re also always looking for new ways to bring the message of locally grown to as many people as we can. It benefits consumers, producers and the overall economy of Kentucky.” – Cathy Lockman
PHOTO BY BRIAN MCCORD
University of Louisville students have access to local food products, thanks to Kentucky Proud.
Farm-to-Campus is only one piece of the expanding Kentucky Proud program. Other new initiatives that focus on promoting locally grown foods include Farm-to-Table efforts and partnerships with the James Beard Foundation and the Kentucky Derby Festival. The Farm-to-Table
GETTING VOCAL ABOUT LOCAL FOOD
Agritourism proves to be a viable farming method
on a farm, Kevan Evans still admits to being surprised by something he sees almost every day. It’s the crowd of people who come to visit Evans Orchard and Cider Mill, the Georgetown operation he runs with his family. Evans’ great-great-grandfather started the farm as a place to grow tobacco and raise cattle. Evans’ family ventured into agritourism in the 1990s, when they opened their farm to school tours and as a U-pick operation. The farm is now a destination for many families and school groups looking for U-pick opportunities, seasonal festivals or just fresh fruits and vegetables available at the on-site market. “I was raised on a farm, so I know about that lifestyle,” says Evans, who operates Evans Orchard with his wife Sue and daughter Jenny. “But people who don’t have a farming background really
A S SOMEONE wHO GREw UP
enjoy getting out and visiting a farm. It’s amazing to see how many people enjoy doing something that I’ve always just taken for granted.” More farmers and producers in Kentucky gladly let people on their farms as they start to look at agritourism as a viable way not only to keep a family farm but also to make a living. The definition of agritourism by the Commonwealth of Kentucky is “the act of visiting a working farm or any agricultural, horticultural or agribusiness operations for the purpose of enjoyment, education or active involvement in the activities of the farm or operation.” And Kentucky has a multitude of examples that fall under that definition, from trail rides and dude ranches to tours of distilleries and wineries. Other types of agritourism include farm-stays (similar to bed-and-breakfasts), corn mazes, barn dances and other forms of entertainment. “There are more than 400 agritourism
Kids play on the Bushels of Fun Playland at Evans Orchard and Cider Mill in Georgetown, Ky.
It’s amazing to see how many people enjoy doing something that I’ve always – KEVAN EVANS just taken for granted.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRIAN MCCORD
Kevan and Jenny Evans own and operate Evans Orchard and Cider Mill, an agritourism destination in Georgetown, Ky.
sites in Kentucky, and that continues to grow,” says Amelia Wilson, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s director of agritourism. “Most are fourth or fifth generation farmers. A lot of these are looking for alternative means of income, but also looking for ways to keep their family farms.” This was the case with the Evans family farm. Like many farmers in Kentucky, Evans began getting out of tobacco production and started growing vegetables and fruits. His farm and gift market was once the tobacco barn.
“The driving force of our business now is agritourism, and it has really been that way the past few years,” Evans says. “That end of it is actually growing more than the production end.” Mark Haney is seeing a similar experience with the Haney’s Appledale Farm he owns with his brother Don. Dating to the mid-1870s, the family farm has had apple and peach orchards since the beginning and a retail store on site for some 40 years. Haney, who is president of the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation, says the agritourism industry has
SEE A LIST OF AGRITOURISM DESTINATIONS ACROSS THE STATE AT WWW.KENTUCKYFARMSAREFUN.COM KENTUCKY IS HOME TO AGRITOURISM LOCATIONS.
received a boost from the Kentucky tobacco buyout enacted a few years ago by the U.S. Congress. Of course, the “buy local” and food awareness movements have gone a long way as well. And Haney believes that, in a sense, agriculture has come full circle with agritourism. “We’ve always talked about wanting to have good highways and roads to be able get our crops to the market, and we still do,” he says, “but those roads go in the other direction as well. So we’re able to get folks out into the countryside to experience agriculture, rural life and wholesome, fresh products. I think it has really taken hold.” – John McBryde
Popular agritourism destinations include U-pick farms, orchards, wineries, corn mazes, trail rides, distillery tours and more.
Find out more facts about agritourism in Kentucky at KY-AGRICULTURE.COM
Commissioner’s Cup Runneth Over
Kentucky’s wine industry makes a comeback
ean-Jacques Dufour arrived in Lexington in 1798, purchased 600 acres near the Kentucky River and created the Kentucky Vineyard Society. It wasn’t long before the state became the nation’s No. 3 grape and wine producer. Unfortunately, Prohibition decimated Kentucky’s wine industry, and many farmers converted their acreage to tobacco. But wine has made a comeback. Kentucky’s grape and wine industry has seen tremendous growth, with grapevine acreage increasing from 67 acres in 1999 to about 600 acres today, and the number of wineries soaring from 15 to more than 65. “We’re really still in our infancy as far as wine regions go,” says Tyler Madison, grape and wine program director at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. “Because of that, there’s a lot of experimentation happening in the vineyards as well as at the wineries in terms of cultivars and styles of wine being produced.” The two most widely planted cultivars in the state currently are Vidal Blanc and Chambourcin, but there’s also quite a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. “It’s an exciting time to be a part of Kentucky wine because it’s all still so new,” Madison says. In 2013, the Kentucky Commonwealth Commercial Wine Competition and Commissioner’s Cup was created to be the yearly guide to the state’s best wines. As a result, there will no longer be a state fair wine contest.
“The Commissioner’s Cup is the pinnacle of the competition and highest award bestowed to a winery,” Madison says. Harkness Edwards Vineyards, whose “Taste the Sun” Vidal Blanc 2012 won the Commissioner’s Cup for Best Dry White, has been in the business for more than a decade. “We began in 2000, as raising grapes was determined to be a potential alternative to our tobacco crop,” says Harkey Edwards, owner of the winery. “The ultimate hope for our winery was to produce wine that is recognized as great and expresses unique Kentucky qualities that will take a place beside the great Kentucky bourbon.” Tragically, the Winchester winery lost most of its vineyard to a fire caused by lightning in 2013. Before the fire, the vineyard consisted of 17 acres of vines comprising 11 different verities. It is evaluating its next steps but has been grateful for the support from the Kentucky wine industry. Wight-Meyer Winery has taken home more local, national and international wine awards than any winery in the state. It took home 14 awards at the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup, including three golds, eight silvers and three bronzes. “The state of Kentucky has done a great deal to assist the emergence of the state’s wine industry,” says owner Jim Wight. “For a leader such as the Commissioner of Agriculture to be personally linked to the contest sends a strong message of support for the wine industry to the citizens of Kentucky and beyond.”
Elsewhere in the Commissioner’s Cup, “Lauren’s Blackberry” from Paducah’s Purple Toad Winery received a double gold, as well as Best of Class in the Blackberry Fruit Wine category. Other winners included Best Dry Red: Wildside Winery Reserve Chambourcin 2009; Best Sweet/Dessert Style/ Fruit Wine: Purple Toad Winery “Paducah Peach”; and Best Boutique (Small Production) Wine: Reid’s Livery Winery Black Raspberry 2011. – Keith Loria
ANIMALS & LIVESTOCK
On with the
Kentucky hosts the world’s largest all-breed, purebred livestock exposition
YOU MIGHt SAY tHE NORtH American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) is the mother of all livestock shows. Held annually in November at Louisville’s Kentucky Exposition Center, the NAILE draws more than 200,000 visitors and exhibitors from 49 states. Founded in 1974, the NAILE is the world’s largest all-breed, purebred livestock exposition, featuring 10 different species of livestock. “It’s unbelievable how fortunate we are in Kentucky to have this expo held here,” says Brian Forsee, an Owenton farmer who has been exhibiting sheep at the NAILE for more than three decades. “State fairs are very important, but the North American is the main marker for excelling in an individual breed. If you win a class in Louisville, it really sets you apart. It’s the elite show of the year.” Forsee’s daughter Morgan, 20, and son Preston, 15, have both grown up exhibiting at the NAILE. “It’s been an awesome family experience,” he says. “In 1996, when Morgan was 3 years old, we had the champion ewe, the reserve champion ram, and the first place flock. I have pictures of Morgan as a little bitty girl
The North American International Livestock Exposition features 10 different species of livestock, including llamas, dairy cattle and horses.
Youth exhibitors show sheep for the honor of Supreme Champion ewe at the North American Livestock Exposition.
standing out in the show ring with our champion ewe. It was one of our most memorable shows.” Before the NAILE existed, exhibitors would travel to the International Livestock Show in Chicago, which ran from 1900 to 1975. “The International Livestock Show in Chicago lost its stockyards and meatpacking plants in 1971, and they had been very active in supporting the show,” recalls Jack Ragsdale, executive committee chair of the NAILE. “There was a definite need for a livestock show in this part of the nation, and we have wonderful facilities.” Ragsdale says that many people thought the NAILE wouldn’t last, but it was highly successful the first year and has been every year since. “Last year, we had 25,000 entries from almost every state and even cattle exhibitors from Canada,” Ragsdale says. “We’ve also always
emphasized the importance of youth shows in all breeds, because young people are future breeders, and they’ve caused it to grow.” The NAILE has huge economic benefits for Kentucky, pumping more than $14 million into the state’s economy each year. More than $700,000 in premiums and awards go home with exhibitors from across the nation. Charlie Boyd’s family has been raising cattle for more than a century in Mays Lick, and Boyd recalls showing cattle at the first NAILE with his dad. Today, he continues that tradition with his sons Blake, 20, and Logan, 16. “The youth shows are one of the biggest assets for young people across the nation, and the North American has one of the best facilities in the country,” Boyd says. “It’s one of my sons’ favorite shows because it’s the highest level of competition you face all year. You’re surrounded by the best
in the industry, and it makes you a better person and better at what you do.” Forsee says one of the greatest benefits of the NAILE is the opportunity to create relationships with others in the agriculture industry. “Young exhibitors meet people at the North American who will influence their lives dramatically down the road,” Forsee says. “Those relationships are so very important. That’s how this country was built, and it’s still that way today.” – Jessica Mozo
See more photos of the livestock exposition at KY-AGRICULTURE.COM
ANIMALS & LIVESTOCK
or the first time ever, goat meat made the menu in 2013 at the Kentucky State Fair Commodities Breakfast. The goat bacon brought needed attention to Kentucky’s goat and sheep industries. Largely unknown to many, these represent some of the fastest growing sectors of Kentucky agriculture. “The most versatile animals anyone can have in the state of Kentucky are sheep and goats,” says Kelley Yates, Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office executive director. “Kentucky has a massive forage base. We have lots of areas that we can’t grow any crops on. Those are good pasture grounds for sheep and goats.” Kentucky goat numbers grew at a staggering pace between 1997 and 2007, surging from about 16,000 to 98,000 goats, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Since then, the Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office says goat numbers have declined and settled at around 68,000 in 2013 – still a historically large number for Kentucky. Meanwhile, sheep numbers have increased more than 50 percent in 10 years. In 2013, about 43,000 sheep grazed Kentucky farms.
Sheep and goats graze Kentucky farms
“We’re working toward more Americans consuming goat meat,” owner Denise Martin says. “The nutritional qualities of goat, a red meat, surprise most people. A similar sized serving contains half the calories of beef, and more iron and less saturated fat than other meats, including chicken.” – Joanie Stiers
We would like to thank everyone in Kentucky agriculture for their continuing support of our business and the ethanol industry. At CAE, we strive to provide value-added products from the farm. Learn more about us at our website: www.commonwealthagrienergy.com We provide clean-burning fuel at the highest octane available on the market today. Along with ethanol sold as E-10, E-85 for ﬂex-fuel vehicles, and coming soon – E-15, CAE produces various co-products from corn: DDGS, Distillers Corn Oil, CO2 by Airgas – (food grade liquid and dry ice).
Goats and sheep collectively produce meat, fiber and milk. They require small investments in acreage, equipment and machinery. And opportunities abound in niche markets. Martin Meadow Farms in Central Kentucky sells value-added goat meat products, like jerky, goat roast and bacon.
NICHE MARKETS ABOUND
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR PRODUCTS: For our distillers grains sales: www.ddgsnutrition.com (800) 333-9774, Ext. 1 For our ethanol sales: www.eco-energyinc.com (615) 786-0783 For additional information about the ethanol industry: www.ethanolrfa.org (202) 289-3835
ANIMALS & LIVESTOCK
Thoroughbred industry wins big for the Commonwealth’s economy
Horses graze at Runnymede Farm, the oldest continually operated Thoroughbred breeding farm in Kentucky. PHOTO BY BRIAN MCCORD
FOR tHE CLAY fAMILY, breeding Kentucky’s most popular horse has been a way of life for four generations. The family owns Runnymede Farm in Paris. The 365-acre farm is the state’s oldest continuously operated Thoroughbred breeding farm. Founded in 1867, the farm focuses on breeding and raising Thoroughbreds that can win races, and they have proven successful in this goal, producing several Hall of Fame horses, including winners of the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes and more distinguished races. The farm’s founder, Ezekiel Clay, saw a future in breeding Thoroughbreds when he started Runnymede more than 140 years ago and went on to become one of the industry’s cornerstone breeders. Clay’s great-great-grandson, Brutus Clay III, now runs the farm.
David Blee, vice president and member of the Board of Runnymede Farm, says that horses are synonymous with Kentucky, and as such, Runnymede does its part to sustain the industry’s reputation as one of the top in the world. Apart from breeding and racing world-class Thoroughbreds, Runnymede Farm and Blee himself helped co-found the Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP), which helps educate the state on the economic benefits of the horse industry and the need to maintain a competitive edge. The project is the Commonwealth’s leading horse industry advocate, with a grass-roots network across the state. “We’ve also been involved in a key role in discussions to pioneer a ‘Thoroughbred Trail’ to promote this pivotal component of our industry,” says Blee. “The breed contributes the lion’s share of the billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs to the Commonwealth from the horse industry.” As a whole, the equine industry is one of the most important industries in Kentucky agriculture. It provides a $4 billion economic impact for the
THE THOROUGHBRED INDUSTRY CONTRIBUTES $4 BILLION IN ECONOMIC IMPACT FOR THE STATE.
There are about 450 thoroughbred farms in Kentucky.
Kentucky accounts for about
of Thoroughbreds foaled in the country.
IMPORTANT TO KENTUCKY
According to the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, Kentucky-bred horses have accounted for 76 percent of Kentucky Derby winners, 75 percent of Breeders’ Cup winners, and 8 of the 11 winners of the Triple Crown.
Thoroughbreds support roughly
direct and indirect jobs in Kentucky.
IN 2012 ALONE, KENTUCKY HELD 2,056 HORSE RACES.
The value of all equine related assets, including the value of the equine inventory, totals $23.4 billion.
Sources: American Horse Council; Kentucky Tourism ; Kentucky Equine Study (2012)
What is in it for EWE?
KENTUCKY SHEEP AND GOAT DEVELOPMENT OFFICE
A Kentucky Proud Organization P.O. Box 4709 Frankfort, KY 40604 (502) 682-7780 [email protected]
• Sheep and goats complement cattle operations well, provide good weed control and require little in terms of facilities. • The Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office assists numerous new and current producers to locate resources, develop markets, and gain more knowledge about the goat and sheep industries. • Our members have a strong, united voice in the sheep and goat industry. Join today and receive the HoofPrint magazine, KY Sheep and Goat Management Calendar and a listing on the Breeder Directory.
Thoroughbreds race at Churchill Downs in Louisville. PHOTO BY REID PALMER/CHURCHILL DOWNS
state – which has a yearly budget of $9 billion – and is responsible for roughly 100,000 direct and indirect jobs. Patrick Neely of KEEP says that every horse that lives in Kentucky is like a little job creator. “People are aware of jobs that directly relate to horses like grooms, trainers, vets and farm employees,” he says. “But they often don’t think about the people who grow and transport the hay, people who do landscaping, people who build and paint fences and barns, equine attorneys and accountants and people who work in advertising. All of those people are relying on the horse industry to put food on their tables.” And the equine industry, specifically the Thoroughbred industry, does more than just provide jobs. It plays an extremely important role in Kentucky tourism. Neely says that the equine sector contributes millions of tourism dollars, with acclaimed events including the Kentucky Derby, Keeneland sales, the World Horse Show at the state fair, the Kentucky Horse Park, Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and more. In 2012 alone, Kentucky held 2,056 horse races.
Thoroughbreds are the most prevalent breed in Kentucky’s equine industry, followed by Quarter Horses. There are an estimated 54,000 Thoroughbreds in the state. David Switzer, executive director of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, says that Thoroughbreds in particular are considered Kentucky’s signature industry, and in addition to holding some of the world’s most famous equine events, Kentucky focuses on breeding the finest athletes that can also compete in those events. “This is evidenced by the fact that 40 percent of Kentucky-bred horses are winning Grade and Group One races in the Northern Hemisphere,” he says. Both Switzer and Blee mention the rise in competition for Kentucky’s Thoroughbreds, as other states and countries are stepping up their efforts, making programs like KEEP and the new addition of equine to the Kentucky Proud marketing program more important than ever. “Kentucky’s Thoroughbred leadership, tradition and its enormous economic benefits are being
THOROUGHBREDS ON TOP
challenged by other states that are empowering competition through expanded gaming,” says Blee. “It’s critical that we respond in kind through product expansion at the race tracks with commensurate re-investment in our Thoroughbred industry.” He adds that despite the competition, Runnymede is optimistic about the future of the Kentucky Thoroughbred industry. “Kentucky has a Thoroughbred tradition second to none, coupled with Thoroughbred farms, stallions, mares, race tracks, human capital, innovation and know-how that bode well for the future,” he says. “We hope to continue to do our part at Runnymede as well as at KEEP to make a Thoroughbred breeding and racing future worthy of our past.” – Rachel Bertone
See more photos of Kentucky Thoroughbreds at KY-AGRICULTURE.COM
ANIMALS & LIVESTOCK
Kentucky Proud for Kentuckybreds
Agriculture embraces the horse industry
entucky is known across the world for its top-notch Thoroughbreds at highprofile races, such as the Kentucky Derby. In fact, each May, up to 20 three-year-old Thoroughbreds run in the famous race, and the vast majority of them are Kentuckybred. To keep their edge in the competitive market, the state has launched an aggressive campaign focusing on the quality of the horses and why it pays dividends to breed in Kentucky. The program is a branch of the Kentucky Proud program, a marketing effort by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to promote Kentucky-made and -produced products, which will now include horses and equine products. Under the program, Kentucky Thoroughbreds will be noted in racing programs with the Kentucky Proud logo at Churchill Downs, letting people know that the horse was Kentucky-bred. Since consumers are already familiar with the logo for their favorite Kentucky-made foods and products, it’s a logical transition to add the equine industry into the mix. As members of Kentucky Proud, horse farms in the state will be able to receive financial grants from the department and have permission to use the Kentucky Proud logo when advertising their products. After Churchill Downs unveiled the Kentucky Proud brand at the Derby, all other Kentucky racetracks sprinted to participate in the program. “We now have healthy competition among the tracks to see
PHOTO BY BRIAN MCCORD
Churchill Downs is a Thoroughbred racetrack famous for hosting the Kentucky Derby.
who can do the most to promote Kentucky Proud. We may even see some Kentucky Proud saddle cloths very shortly,” says Agriculture Commissioner James Comer. “We have competitors that would like to take our place in the world market. The Kentucky Proud program helps us leverage marketing dollars for our promotions,” he says. Brett Hale, senior vice president
of corporate affairs at Churchill Downs, says that the racetrack is proud to be the first to promote the Kentucky Proud extension into the equine industry. “We applaud Commissioner Comer’s efforts to promote Kentucky’s $4 billion industry,” he says. “We are happy to recognize Kentuckybred horses in our racing programs during the spring meet.” – Rachel Bertone
ANIMALS & LIVESTOCK
PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRIAN MCCORD
Udderly Kentucky Milk
Taking buying local to a new level with a family staple
FARMER DANtE CARPENtER’S family has milked cows since 1947 in south-central Kentucky. And he plans to maintain that heritage, in spite of challenging times for dairy producers. Slim margins and high costs teamed with a maturing farmer base have fueled a dairy decline in Kentucky. Yet the state’s dairy farmers collectively work against the odds. The rural Kentucky landscape lost 40 percent, or 48,000, of its dairy cows between 1993 and 2013, based on data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Yet milk production declined only about 23 percent in the same time frame. In fact, between 2011 and 2012, milk production increased while cow inventories decreased. Carpenter is among the farmers doing more with less. Increased management, frugal decision-making and diversification have maintained the farm’s longevity, he says. “I’ve been spending where I need it the worst,” he says. “We don’t buy a whole lot
Jersey calf at KC Farm in Russell Springs, Kentucky.
of things. We utilize what we have.” Roger Snell, farm-to-retail liaison and Kentucky Proud grant administrator, adds that for years, there has been nothing but negative news for the dairy industry across the U.S., especially in Kentucky. That is until the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) recently released the Udderly Kentucky branding program. Snell says it has been the first positive for the state’s industry in a long time. Udderly Kentucky is a brand under the umbrella of the state’s Kentucky Proud marketing program, which aims to encourage consumers to buy local Kentucky products. With its own logo, website and more, the Udderly Kentucky brand focuses on the state’s dairy industry, identifying milk produced by one of more than 100 Kentucky family farms and processed by Prairie Farms Dairy of Somerset. Sales under the brand provide premiums to the participating farms. Currently, the milk is
Cows at KC Farm in Russell Springs eat between milking. Milk from these cows will be processed and distributed to be enjoyed by consumers across the state.
being sold at Wal-Mart locations in central and south-central Kentucky. “Commissioner Comer had previously spread the word about this project to a lot of retailers in the state, but Wal-Mart and Prairie Farms have really stepped up to the plate,” says Snell. “Prairie Farms took on a lot of responsibility in processing 100 percent branded milk. That’s what makes it so meaningful, and consumers have really responded.” With 105 farms as part of the program so far, Snell says the response is only growing. The program has gotten great consumer response, but the KDA was overwhelmed by the response from producers, universities and other retailers, pining to be a part of Udderly Kentucky. “The department is looking at just how broad they can get, and are trying to pull in every single dairy farm in the state,” says Snell. “That would be eight times as many farms as there are now, but the commissioner has set a high standard.” He adds that one of the most astounding impacts that has come from the program is the willingness of consumers to buy local, even if it means spending more. Snell says that regardless of the demographics in the area, when you look at the numbers, people are more willing to buy the locally branded milk, which is a dollar more than the cheapest option available. “It’s great to see that consumers are willing and want to support local dairy farms,” says Snell. Those local dairy farms include 73,000 to 75,000 cows on about 750
farms, says Maury Cox, executive director of the Kentucky Dairy Development Council (KDDC). Dairy farms are most prevalent in southcentral and southwestern Kentucky. And these cows prove their worth in more than milk to Kentucky, when you take into account processing, retail value, jobs and more. “The average cow is an economic generator, in a community have an economic ripple effect of $13,700 per year,” Cox says. He adds that every 1,000 cows generate about 10 to 12 direct jobs, he says. From those jobs come 40 indirect and induced jobs. The KDDC, a collaboration of farmers, industry representatives and university researchers, formed in 2005 in response to the decline in herd numbers. The council is funded in part by a grant from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund. The council’s goal is to sustain and grow Kentucky’s dairy industry.
The council, its programs and resources, can take some credit for the industry’s improved performance. Cox says the MILK program, or Market Incentive Leadership for Kentucky, has served as a catalyst to increase milk production. The program includes nearly half the milk produced in the state. It provides incentives to farmers to produce more high-quality milk and keep milk dollars in Kentucky. “Our producers are really paying attention to production per cow and milk quality,” he says. Cox says dairy farming is a heritage and provides tremendous economic generation in the community. And it’s just plain good for Kentuckians. “It provides good wholesome food for people,” he says. “When you’re doing something with your life that matters and makes a difference, it’s well worth the effort.” – Joanie Stiers
LOOK FOR THE LOGO
Udderly Kentucky currently signifies milk produced by one of more than 100 participating Kentucky dairy farms and processed by Prairie Farms of Somerset, Ky. Right now Udderly Kentucky milk is sold in participating Wal-mart stores across Kentucky.
ANIMALS & LIVESTOCK
Interest in aquaculture is growing in state
WHEN tHE NOtION Of “bUY LOCAL” COMES tO MINd, MOSt people probably envision vine-ripened tomatoes at a roadside stand or a pick-your-own orchard with acres and acres of fresh, crisp apples. Angela Caporelli believes that the concept may have begun with fish. As Aquaculture Coordinator and Marketing Specialist for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture since 2001, Caporelli knows a thing or two about fish farming. She has been in the industry for some 30 years and worked in the commercial seafood fishing industry prior to her current position. Caporelli also spent four years in Africa working in aquaculture, and recently traveled to Kenya as a consultant to help with that country’s fishing industry.
Jeanine Raymond raises paddleﬁsh in a rock quarry located on her farm near Louisville. PHOTO BY BRIAN MCCORD.
PHOTO BY ANGELA CAPORELLI
PHOTO BY BRIAN MCCORD
She has been instrumental in the development of Kentucky’s aquaculture segment, which began around the early 1990s. “We started out with a bang in Kentucky and had some really good legislative moves concerning aquaculture,” says Caporelli. “It was before the ‘buy local’ movement and the acknowledgement that fresher and closer are better. People became much more aware of how their food is being raised, harvested, processed, and that’s a great thing. People like to support their local farmer.” Including those who do their farming in the water. Caporelli says aquaculture is a growing industry in a state that has strong roots in more conventional farming. “My philosophy is, it doesn’t matter if you have a quarter-acre pond or a couple of hundred-acre reservoir or a quarry, there is something in aquaculture you could do,” she says. Jeanine Raymond and her husband, Guy Raymond, entered the world of aquaculture after buying property near Louisville that wasn’t really
Top: Guy Raymond holds a paddleﬁsh raised on his farm near Louisville. Paddleﬁsh are the largest freshwater ﬁsh in the United States and are valued as a good source for caviar (pictured below).
suitable for traditional farming. However, half of the 150 acres were bodies of water, including a large rock quarry that could hold water free of sediments and other contaminants – perfect for paddlefish. After consulting with Caporelli and officials at Kentucky State University’s aquaculture program, the Raymonds learned more about paddlefish and decided to stock their quarry with these unique, prehistoric fish. Weighing more than 200 pounds, they are the largest freshwater fish in the United States and are valued as a source for caviar as well as for their boneless white meat. In addition to the eggs and flesh of the paddlefish, the Raymonds are also selling bass, bluegill and crappie to area restaurants. “We’ve had the fish tested, and there were very few contaminants,” Jeanine Raymond says. “We get a high price per pound wholesale because of the clean product we produce here. The restaurants love that.” It took a number of years for the Raymonds to begin marketing what they had stocked on their farm, but aquaculture has turned into quite the livelihood. “When we bought this property, it was listed, tax-wise, as wasteland,” Raymond says, “and now it’s a productive fish farm.” Caporelli believes that similar results are on the horizon for aquaculture, which is the world’s fastest-growing segment of agriculture. And Kentucky could be at the forefront of fish farming, especially with its Department of Agriculture and Kentucky State University resources. “Kentucky State University’s aquaculture program is one of the top five in the country,” Caporelli says. “There’s a lot of great knowledge right in downtown Frankfort.” –John McBryde
PHOTO BY ANGELA CAPORELLI
Guy Raymond and his team catch paddleﬁsh during a video shoot.
Learn about other Kentucky aquaculture farms at KY-AGRICULTURE.COM
Cattle farms use Bourbon byproduct as protein-rich feed
It IS SUStAINAbLE AGRICULtURE tHAt bRINGS together two of Kentucky’s top industries: bourbon and cattle. “We’re using what would be the waste of one industry to keep another industry thriving,” says Alex Cunningham, a recent University of Kentucky College of Agriculture graduate and a beef cattle farmer in Christian County. When distilleries produce Bourbon, they also produce a valuable co-product called distillers syrup. This syrup is a dark brown liquid with similar consistency to runny honey and a slightly bitter taste. The product is the liquid fraction that remains after grains – mostly corn, wheat and barley – have been fermented in the process of producing bio-ethanol in combination with yeast and enzymes. Because the syrup is high in metabolizable energy and a good source of protein, some cattle farmers around the state purchase it from local distilleries and add it to their animal feed. “We’ve been using the distillers syrup as a supplemental
ANIMALS & LIVESTOCK
Steve Downs, a cattle producer from Marion County, feeds his cattle distillers syrup and distillers grains.
KENTUCKY IS THE LARGEST CATTLE PRODUCING STATE EAST OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER. KENTUCKY IS HOME TO OVER
feed for a few years now,” Cunningham says. “It helps us finish healthy herds, and we’re also doing our part to be sustainable. There’s no sense in wasting something that we can use.” Distillers syrup can provide multiple benefits. “Our cattle love it,” say Steve Downs, a cattle producer from Marion County. “Cattle are unique in the fact that they can process different types of feed that may be considered a waste product.” Downs, who lives in the heart of ‘Bourbon Country’, says that cattle producers in Kentucky are fortunate to have this feed source as an option. “It a good deal for both sides,” he says. “It provides a cost-effective alternative to straight commodity diets and allows the Bourbon industry to get rid of a byproduct.”
The recent fuel ethanol industry boom is based primarily on corn in much of the U.S., says UK Extension Beef Cattle Specialist Dr. Jeff Lehmkuhler. The distillers grains that come from the corn industry have a high energy value – even slightly higher than granulated corn – and because Bourbon wet distillers grains are derived predominately from corn, this distillers syrup also contains good protein and a high energy value. “Kentucky may have a gold nugget in this regional feed source if we can overcome a few logistical challenges,” Lehmkuhler says. Lehmkuhler warns that distillers syrup derived from Bourbon production may be a slightly lower energy and protein source than that of corn due to
THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE FEED
the mixture of barley in the grains. Barley stalk is more difficult for the animals to digest.
While it is certain that wet Bourbon distillers grains are a viable, quality feedstuff in the diets of beef and dairy cattle, it is far from being a new practice. Lehmkuhler found accounts from more than 150 years ago that illustrated the utilization of spent grains and thin stillage as livestock feed. In the well-known Feeds and Feeding: Sixteenth Edition by Frank Barron Morrison and William Arnon Henry published in 1916, the authors discuss the potential of distillery byproduct feeds to reduce production costs as something that was widely recognized in the fermentation industry. In fact, many articles published in the early 1900s make reference to several distilleries that had built feeding facilities or dairies near their plants. “It’s tried and true,” Cunningham says. “We’re taking waste off of the hands of these distilleries, and we’re using it to keep our costs down and to produce healthy animals. It’s a partnership that doesn’t just benefit farmers and distilleries, but the whole state. It’s Kentucky producers relying on Kentucky producers to help reduce waste and use byproducts in another useful way. It isn’t innovative, it’s just smart agriculture.” – Blair Thomas
THE HISTORY OF A FEED PARTNERSHIP
CROPS, PLANTS & FORESTRY
Technology helps grain farmers harvest more
Chris Kummer stands in a soybean ﬁeld on his farm in Franklin, Ky. Photo by Brian McCord
FOR CHRIS KUMMER, 2013 has been a good year. The Franklin farmer’s 3,000 acres of cropland have produced one of the best bounties of his career. “The corn and beans are looking about as good as they ever have since I started farming in 1990,” says Kummer. The 2013 growing season has been ideal, but Kummer points to another factor, one he can control much more than the weather. “Technology is really benefiting how much we can produce,” he says. Kentucky’s corn and soybean harvest is increasing, partially thanks to technology that helps farmers produce more bushels per acre. For example, in the 1970s and 1980s, Kentucky’s best yearly average corn yields were between 100 and 120 bushels per acre. From 2008 to 2012, the five-year average yield was 127 bushels per acre – including a 2012 drought year that saw a 71-bushel statewide average. Even in that drought year, according to the Kentucky Corn Growers Association, the 2012 crop was valued at more than $749 million, having a total economic impact of $1.27 billion on the state while supporting 27,313 jobs. “Farmers today are more sophisticated, not only with the technology on their farm but also with their business,” says Dr. Chad Lee, a University of Kentucky Extension agronomist specializing in corn, soybeans and wheat. “Farmers are using better business management systems for things like payroll, staff training and office management. As farms are getting more advanced, that allows them to hire additional employees.” Some of those jobs could be on the farm, or they may be off the farm, such as at the local company Kummer hires to apply precise amounts of fertilizer on his land using GPS technology. “We started using variable-rate fertilizer technology almost 15 years ago,” he says. Soil samples, tied to satellite mapping coordinates, are collected across his fields and analyzed for each quadrant’s nutrient needs. GPS
Chris Kummer’s John Deere tractor with Agriculture Management Solutions (AMS) at his farm in Franklin.
linked application equipment automatically adjusts the amount of fertilizer applied, putting only the nutrient levels needed on each part of the field. “Our grain yields increase, and we don’t over-apply fertilizer, and that aids in maintaining good soil and water quality,” Kummer says. Kummer’s own equipment also uses new technology that helps him avoid planting too much in a field. “We have very few fields that are square, so it can be difficult to get rows planted just right, without any overlapping,” he says (Overlapping plants compete with each other for nutrients, reducing yields). “Our new John Deere planter and tractor have technology that ‘remembers’ where it planted, so that it doesn’t replant the same location.” That planter also automatically adjusts planting depths using an active down-pressure technology, new on the market in 2013. Kummer has already seen benefits as bottom soil may be fairly moist at planting while higher in the same fields might be drier and harder. “The planter senses how soft the soil is and automatically adjusts down-pressure on each row unit to keep the seed placed at the right depth,” he says. Lee explains that such technology
has come a long way. “When these technologies first came out on the market, we thought it would be great if they were accurate within 3 feet,” he says. “Now they are accurate within 1 inch.” Kentucky soybean farmers will harvest about 1.59 million acres of soybeans, around 70 million bushels, in 2013. The 2012 crop was worth more than $853 million, according to the USDA, with a similar value likely in 2013. As with corn, advancing soybean production technology stimulates economic benefits beyond the farmstead. A company in Elkton manufactures conservation-tillage attachments for planters like Chris Kummer’s John Deere. Crop spraying technology is also advancing, Kummer says. He explains, “Our sprayers use automatic GPS systems to steer and shut off at the ends of rows so they don’t overspray. Chemicals we use today do not stay in the environment as long as they used to, but the systems guard against any over-application.” The technology saves farmers money, improves crop yields and makes sense. “Farmers make their living from healthy soil and water, and that helps us guard the environment,” Kummer says. – Matthew D. Ernst
CROPS, PLANTS & FORESTRY
Plant With Potential
here are thousands of uses for industrial hemp, everything from automotive parts to pharmaceuticals. It has been called a “super food” in much of the world for the strong nutritional value of its seeds and oils, and the plant could have a super effect on the nation’s agricultural economy. Because of this, Kentucky is among several states that have lifted the veil of what has been hemp’s dark reputation. Farmers throughout the state are eager to see where this plant can take them. “I’m not going to say it’s something that’s going to happen overnight, and there will be this huge production that’s going to create all these jobs right away,” says Brian Furnish, a farmer near Lexington who is chairman of the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission. “But what I do see, and what I’m hopeful for, is that the free market will have the opportunity to determine whether hemp can be viable in Kentucky or not.” Hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa. It’s from the same plant species as marijuana and has been illegal to grow in the United States for the past several decades. However, hemp doesn’t contain the potency of its “cousin” and, in fact, has an estimated 25,000 productive uses. The Kentucky legislature passed Senate Bill 50 during its 2013 session, giving farmers in the state the go-ahead to grow industrial hemp. James Comer, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, helped to spearhead the bill. A ruling in late summer 2013 by the U.S. Department of Justice will honor state laws regarding the production of industrial hemp.
Industrial hemp production poised to beneﬁt economy
Comer believes the plant’s impact could be far-reaching. “To me there is no crop with more growth potential than industrial hemp because you can make so many things from it,” Comer says. He points to the automotive industry in Kentucky as an example. Interior components of cars made in Germany, such as the Mercedes-Benz or the BMW, are made from industrial hemp. “We’re still using plastic in the U.S. and a fiber called kenaf, a subtropical plant grown in Indonesia,” Comer says. “So we’re importing this plant from Indonesia to make automotive components. By growing industrial hemp in Kentucky, we would significantly reduce the carbon footprint and create a new market for Kentucky farmers. I think it’s a win-win situation.” – John McBryde
PRODUCTIVE USES FOR INDUSTRIAL HEMP.
Hemp can be made into fabrics and textiles, paper, carpeting , auto parts, foods and beverages, home furnishings, construction materials and more.
PHOTO COURTESY OF VOTEHEMP.COM
THERE ARE AN ESTIMATED
CROPS, PLANTS & FORESTRY
Tops for Tobacco
entucky’s tobacco farmers are more focused than ever on worldwide production. “Global burley production fell 25 percent in 2012, with much smaller crops in Africa and South America,” says Will Snell, UK Extension economist. That tight global supply of quality burley tobacco leaf led Kentucky farmers to plant 4,000 more burley tobacco acres in 2013. In 2012, Kentucky grew 74,000 acres of burley tobacco valued at $300 million. That has decreased since 2004’s tobacco buyout – burley tobacco’s farm value exceeded $900 million some years in the 1990s. But Kentucky is still the nation’s leading burley producer, and the state also leads in dark tobacco, with 13,200 acres planted west of I-65 in 2012. Burley is primarily used for cigarettes, while dark is used in smokeless products, and the two tobaccos are physiologically distinct. “Burley is more upright, with more leaves and a thinner leaf texture,” says Andy Bailey, UK Extension dark tobacco specialist. “Dark tobacco has a more sprawling growth habit, and its thicker leaves have a lot more chlorophyll than burley, giving it a darker green color.” Producing both kinds of tobacco is labor-intensive, and accessing adequate harvest labor can be a challenge, particularly for burley tobacco growers.
Global demand keeps Kentucky No. 1 for burley
Burley requires about 150 hours of labor per acre for planting, topping, cutting and air curing. Air-cured dark tobacco takes about 30 hours more; most dark tobacco growers utilize the H-2A temporary agricultural worker program. Fire-cured dark tobacco is the most labor-intensive, requiring 240 work hours per acre from planting to market. Two-thirds of Kentucky’s dark tobacco is fire-cured, which means leaves are hung in metal buildings over smoldering hardwood fires
for five to six weeks. “That gives dark fired tobacco a lot of characteristics from hardwood smoke,” says Bailey. Fire-cured is blended with aircured dark tobacco to make U.S. Moist Snuff. Demand for smokeless tobacco products is rising. – Matthew D. Ernst
Find out more about Kentucky tobacco farming at KY-AGRICULTURE.COM
BURLEY AND DARK
Universities prepare students for an evolving industry
evolve, so do the students applying to Kentucky’s higher education programs. “This week we had more than 100 students from primarily rural school districts,” Grabau says. “But early next month, we’ll have a visit from a busload of urban students from Chicago.” He continues, “We try to tailor our educational programs to meet the needs of different kinds of students, but we believe that our majors are designed to be attractive to students from a wide variety of backgrounds.” On UK’s main campus in Lexington, students can choose from one of 18 undergraduate degree programs ranging from agriculture biotechnology and agriculture economics to human nutrition, landscape architecture and sustainable agriculture. The school has recently instituted a new academic enrichment requirement which gets students involved in one area of interest outside of agriculture before they graduate. This may mean a research project, an internship, an
IN A StAtE wItH fERtILE soil and a rich tradition of farming and breeding, it is no wonder that there are more than six thriving higher education programs that promote the future of agriculture to Kentucky’s youth. Universities across the Bluegrass State – including the University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University, Murray State University, Western Kentucky University, Morehead State University and Kentucky State University – turn out agriculture professionals prepared for careers on and off the farm.
“Agriculture isn’t just about farming anymore,” says Dr. Larry Grabau, associate dean for academic programs at the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “We offer more academic programs in careers off the farm than we do on. That’s just how the industry is changing.” And just as the careers available in the agriculture industry change and
STUDENTS’ NEEDS EVOLVE
education abroad course or another creative opportunity. Morehead State University in northeastern Kentucky offers an interesting opportunity for students at their Derrickson Agricultural Complex. The 325-acre farm is home to a state-of-the-art Equine Health Education Center, an indoor riding and livestock arena, a small animal hospital, kennel facilities and is home to 24 students year-round. Students can gain valuable practical, hands-on experience as they study toward earning one of Morehead’s 11 undergraduate agriculture degrees. Beyond maintaining solid relationships with those in the agriculture industry, Kentucky universities also find it important to continue evolving their programs to match the ever-changing agricultural landscape around them. Eastern Kentucky University has made significant changes in its academic programs to better incorporate changes in food production,
AN INDUSTRY CHANGES
PROGRAMS MAKE CHANGES
Research opportunities are important to students like Matthew Ruwaya, a University of Kentucky graduate student in biosystems and agricultural engineering.
the human environment, and energy production and management. There’s also been a shift in emphasis to small and medium-sized agriculture enterprises, since they are more prevalent. All this has been made possible through changes in personnel, degree programs and course content, as well as upgrades in facilities and teaching farms. The school also encourages more internships and research activities for its students. Kentucky State University’s College of Agriculture, Food Science, and Sustainable Systems offers degree programs at both an undergraduate and graduate level. Students can earn a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture, Food, and Environment with different four option areas including: Agriculture Systems, Food Systems, Environmental Systems and Aquaculture Systems. Graduate degree programs in aquaculture and environmental studies are producing well-prepared leaders in these growing fields.
KSU also offers land grant programs in community research and cooperative extension allowing for a wide range of internship and long-term employment opportunities. Across the state in western Kentucky, Murray State University Hutson School of Agriculture Dean Dr. Tony Brannon stresses the importance of continuing-education programs in the local ag community. The just-opened Arboretum at Murray State is just one of several community resources that encourage the public to connect with agriculture. “Our newest initiative is a cooperative educational venture called West Kentucky Bioworks,” Brannon says. This initiative aims to establish a demonstration center where farmers and others can see how to grow, process and utilize biomass crops, as well as to create a farmer network to transfer the research to farms. Murray State offers nine academic degrees with varying areas of focus such as agronomy, horticulture, equine
science and the nationally-accredited veterinary technology program. Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green also offers a wide range of opportunities for rural and urban students, giving them ample career choices for after they graduate. Students can get work experience in a full-service floral shop at the university’s Floral Design Training Center and Floral Shop. They have the opportunity to learn about viticulture both in the classroom and outside in the vineyards. Soon, WKU students will even be able to experience cheese making at the school’s Cheese Production facility. Speaking for all of the educational institutions across the state, Dr. Brannon sums up the importance of agricultural education programs. “We change as the industry does,” he says. “Our job is to emphasize the importance of secondary agriculture education and to help increase emphasis on college and career readiness in Kentucky.” – Blair Thomas
PHOTO BY UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY, STEVE PATTON
2014 EDITION, VOLUME 2 JOURNAL COMMUNICATIONS INC.
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Bobcat Enterprises www.bobcat-ent.com Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association www.burleytobacco.com Charah Inc. www.sul4r-plus.com
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School on Wheels
Mobile Science Activity Center Program takes agriculture on the road
he Mobile Science Activity Center Program has been active in Kentucky since 2001, but it recently got a facelift — two brand new trailers, each equipped with 11 iPads, a 70-inch LED TV and a 23-inch touch screen computer. “We felt it was important we incorporate new technology that the students are using in class and farmers are using in the fields,” says Agriculture Commissioner James Comer. The popularity of the program
and the platform it creates to get kids interested in agriculture at a young age is exciting to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and commodity groups, Comer says. “The fact of the matter is our kids are two or three generations removed from the farm,” he says. “A lot of our children have not been to a farm or had a farm experience. It’s important, especially with the local food movements and the Kentucky Proud movement, for
kids to know where their food comes from.” The trailers are currently booked more than a year in advance, and the program reaches about 80 schools to educate 20,000 students and 800 teachers a year. – Jill Clair Gentry
For photos of the Mobile Science Activity Center Program trailers visit KY-AGRICULTURE.COM
A Producer-Owned Cooperative Since 1968
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