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Hydroponic farm just keeps growing

Jerry Wyatt and his grandson Casey test strawberries inside the greenhouse. Casey marks the eighth generation of the family to work on the farm, which also grows a variety of tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber and eggplant. Photos by Catherine Riley

Lettuce begins to sprout inside a hydroponic greenhouse at KY Hydro Farm in Benton. Photos By Catherine Riley

By Toni W. Riley
Persistence, determination, diligence or just plain old grit are all words that come to mind as Jerry Wyatt, the patriarch of KY Hydro Farm in Benton, talks about their hydroponic operation. His son, Clay, proudly displays an enlargement of the farm’s original 1830 land grant from Andrew Jackson to McGilbra Wyatt. Meanwhile, other son Jeff pollinates tomatoes with air from a leaf blower and grandson Casey picks a strawberry and plops it in his mouth. Casey marks the eighth generation of the family to work on the farm.
Jerry explained how he starting taking over the family farm from his father, Wayne, in the late-70s as Jerry continued his own career as an electrician. It was when Jerry’s other son, Matt, came home from Murray with a degree in horticulture in the 80s that the farming enterprise turned to flowers.  The Wyatts put up greenhouses, and raised and sold flowers and tomatoes.
It wasn’t long until they expanded.
“Our customers told us they needed shrubs and bushes as well as landscaping, so we added that,” Jerry said.
In the winter of 2002 and 2003, a heavy snow storm collapsed the 22 greenhouses the family used for production. When the greenhouses were rebuilt in 2006, they began hydroponic production, and in 2009, KY Hydro Farm became the family farm name.
Disaster struck again Dec. 30, 2014 when the building that housed the two boilers that provided heat for the greenhouse as well as a water storage tank and a tractor was consumed by a fire, set by an arsonist. Later in 2015, an ice storm caved in another smaller set of greenhouses.
Jerry shakes his head with remorse as he stands beside the large boiler that, while not destroyed by the fire, had to be completely rewired to become operational again. Because of the fire, the greenhouses stood empty during 2015.
The boilers were rewired and, by 2016, were once again heating the greenhouse with a roaring fire fueled by sawdust from a local sawmill.
The greenhouses are currently brimming with vegetables. The tomato that Jeff is pollinating and the strawberry that Casey picked are both part of a 10-section hydroponic greenhouse that is the production area of the farm.
However, the main “crop” in the greenhouse is lettuce. The farm’s website names the Wyatts the “lettuce specialists.” They grow four varieties: Bibb, Romaine, a green and purple leaf.
One might think KY Hydro Farm has a strong customer base locally. But, while they do market to three Paducah restaurants, the main lettuce customer is Fayette County Schools. The school system purchases the four lettuce varieties along with kale for school lunches.
Each week, lettuce is harvested with roots intact. Six plants are placed in a bag and two bags are boxed together, and Jerry makes the four-hour drive to Lexington with 160 boxes. And they keep selling even after the end of school, providing lettuce for the summer lunch program.
Why harvest the lettuce with the root? “It’s just common sense,” Jerry laughed.
“It has a longer shelf life that way since the lettuce is not treated with any type of preservative.”
While looking out over the float beds, the different growing stages of the lettuce can easily be spotted in preparation for harvest — making one want to say, “Bring on the vinaigrette.”
The different varieties of tomatoes include a standard beefsteak, a couple of heirlooms as well as a cocktail tomato, which is slightly smaller than a golf ball.
English cucumbers and eggplants are also grown hydroponically and sold to restaurants and at farmers markets.
The farm is always looking for marketing opportunities, so Jerry and Casey go to the Nashville Farmers Market on Saturdays and drop off winter CSA boxes in Clarksville and Nashville. They don’t offer summer CSAs because of the abundance from other local producers.
When the weather turns warm, they move the operation outside and grow large-scale for various farmers markets. The Wyatts have a head start, by starting most of their vegetable and herb plants in the greenhouse before transplanting them outside.
This year, KY Hydro Farm will have a booth at the Bowling Green Farmers Market, which is a 12-month facility, and the Wyatts are looking at going to Paducah as well.
With the adversity that the Wyatts have had to overcome, it might have been easy to stop, but quitting is not Jerry Wyatt.
“Why quit?” he said emphatically.
“What else have I got to do? Stay home, watch TV and weigh 300 pounds,” he laughed. “We don’t quit.”

Prepare your land for the Solar Eclipse

By Diane Turner
As Aug. 21 approaches, many things will be going on around town. On that day, Hopkinsville will be in the spotlight — or should I say “in the dark” — for a total of 2 minutes and 40 seconds as the Great American Total Solar Eclipse takes place.
Brooke Jung, who is the Hopkinsville eclipse coordinator, has had many inquiries about the eclipse from local landowners.
“We have two main questions when local residents call: they want to know how they can list their property as a place for people to rent during the eclipse or how to prevent people from using their property,” Jung said.
She wants this opportunity for locals to not be an inconvenience but a benefit.
“If people do not want their land to be used, I have suggested that they put up no trespassing signs, which they can get from their insurance company.”
Jung said extra law enforcement is being requested from the Kentucky State Police and the National Guard. Crowds are expecting to range from 50,000 to 60,000, in addition to the normal population.
If you want to list your property for use by campers or RVs, be sure to contact Jung at 270-887-4290 or log on to the events website, www.eclipseville.com. Listing your property on the website costs $15, and you can set your own price per night. Jung is currently working with HWEA on securing a dump site for RV waste at Cherokee Park.
“This way people do not have to worry about creating a waste site on their own property,” she said. “I have also suggested to people that they rent portable restrooms.”

Food vending
Sanitation and food safety is a concern since thousands of visitors will be flocking to the area. The Christian County Health Department is requesting that anyone who plans to sell food on their property contact the health department to get a temporary food permit. A 1-to-3 day permit is $50. A food permit for 4 to 7 days is $75, and 8 to 14 days is $100.
Chad Burch, environmental program manager at CCHD, said, “With every permit we will give out a set of Temporary Food Service Set-Up Guidelines. These guidelines explain how to set up a wash, rinse and sanitizing stations using a container system.”
According to the guidelines issued by the state, food vendors need the following items: a food permit, three buckets, a cooler with a spigot, a bucket for sanitizer, waste tank, metal stem thermometer, bleach or quaternary ammonia, test strips, soap and disposable hand towels, thermometer, hair restraint and gloves or a utensil to use as a barrier with ready-to-eat food.

Viewing
The point of greatest eclipse is where the axis of the moon’s shadow passes closest to the earth, meaning that people who view the event from our area will have the best view of the moon’s coverage of the sun and its ring of light for the longest duration of time. This exact point is at the property of Mark Cansler, known as Orchard Dale Farm.
Jung said temporary cell phone towers will be put up around Cansler’s property to improve signal in the area. A VIP and media area will be set up, playing host to TIME magazine and other official media outlets covering the event.
Jung said she is in search of landowners who live near Pennyrile Parkway exits.
“We are discouraging people from just pulling over on the side of the road. There are many dangers associated with this practice. We are looking for landowners who live near the parkway, so that officials can route them to these properties for safe viewing sites.”

Events
There will be nearly 15 events occurring during the weekend before the Eclipse. SolQuest, an evangelical event, is one of the larger happenings with over 6,000 people expected to attend. The Summer Salute Festival in downtown Hopkinsville expects to attract thousands as well. There will be 50 to 100 food vendors set up.
Other events are planned for Pennyrile State Park, Christian Way Farm, Copper Canyon Ranch, Casey Jones Distillery, Jefferson Davis Monument, James E. Bruce Convention Center, Stadium of Champions and MB Roland Distillery. The Kelly community will host the Kelly Little Green Men Festival, and Oak Grove has scheduled the Oak Grove Experience for the weekend.

Weather
The big question is “what happens if the weather is not favorable for viewing on the 21st?”
According to www.eclipse2017.org, “If it’s cloudy, you won’t see what you will see if it’s clear — simple as that. If the Sun is behind a cloud during totality, you will still experience the temperature drop, and the sunset glow on the horizon.”
Landowners or vendors can purchase event insurance from their local insurance company, in the event of rain or inclement weather. And it’s not a bad idea to have campers sign a waiver or to increase liability coverage if people will be staying on your property, Jung suggested. Also, do not forget to have eclipse-viewing glasses available. These can be purchased directly from the Parks and Recreation Department at the Thomas Street Center for $1 per pair.

Woman uses floral skill to cultivate greenhouses

Stacy Hight and Cheryl Boren work on succulent baskets that are a new addition to the plants available at C and G Greenhouse. Photos by Toni W. Riley

By Toni W. Riley
As she works through her greenhouse, gardener Cheryl Boren tends her plants, pruning and checking for insects and disease. The C and G Greenhouse is 100 feet long and 30 feet wide and filled with plants for sale at Exit 23 on Breathitt Parkway, or the Crofton exit.
Cheryl is one of the lucky people who have turned their love for something into a career. She always loved gardening, beginning when she was a child caring for flowers and a garden at the side of her grandmother, Ann Pyle.
As an adult, she worked at West and Witherspoon Florist and was an aide at Indian Hills Elementary School while her husband farmed in LaFayette. However, it was always her dream to have her own greenhouse business, and when Larry stopped farming in 1998, it was their goal to find some acreage to help her build a greenhouse and her career.
The couple found 25 acres right at the Crofton exit of Breathitt Parkway with a little farmhouse. She started with an 8-by-12-feet hobby greenhouse, and she and Larry steadily worked on evolving into a full-scale greenhouse.
In 1999, they built a 45-by-28-feet greenhouse and, in the next two years, two 100-by-30-feet greenhouses were constructed, along with a fern shed to comprise her C and G Greenhouse business.
Cheryl credits Larry for his help and support in developing the business, especially as the greenhouses are readied for planting each January.
“I couldn’t do it without him,” she said. “His concrete work slows down in the winter and he can help me bring in all the potting soil and supplies.
Cheryl purchases all of her bedding and perennial plants from “Proven Winners,” a company said to offer the best in new plants and production materials, according to its website.

Rows of hand planted petunias line the greenhouse tables.

Along with her assistant, Stacy Hight, the duo is certified Proven Winners design specialists, meaning that she and Stacy go through training courses with the company every year to learn new products and current trends.
Each plant she purchases comes as a “thimble size” plug of potting media with a tiny growing plant. Each plug is planted by hand into either a 4.5-inch pot or a six-plant compartment tray.
When asked how many plants they plant, Cheryl exclaimed, “Oh WOW, probably around 10,000.”  They plant continually to ensure a greenhouse full of plants continually through their sale season.
While Cheryl said the greenhouses have the typical bedding and perennial plants seen at any greenhouse, she takes a tremendous amount of pride in designing hanging baskets and container gardens.
“I don’t do typical,” she said. She falls back on her days at West and Witherspoon to help her with the floral design of each container or basket.
Cheryl scours garden and home magazines to see what is trendy and then creates that look for her customers. As she and Stacy plant the containers, she keeps a notebook of what plants are in each container. This enables her to know what combinations work best and what the best-sellers are.
A new section of plants for this season are succulents. She and Stacy have designed an array of containers with themes that hold the easy care plants. Themes included a desert, a beach and even some head sculptures that contain plants that will resemble hair as they grow.
A peak into one greenhouse will show hanging containers at various shapes and sizes, brightly colored watering cans that are container gardens, and even a basket imbedded in a tiny wrought iron bicycle. During the season, she and Stacy will plant 1,000 baskets.
Cheryl is very happy to work with customers who bring in a photo from a magazine and say “I want this.” She also helps customers select plants to design their own gardens inside containers they might bring with them or for containers at home. She works hard to educate her customers on how to keep their plants looking great all summer and not just when the plants leave the greenhouse.
As soon as her sales season is over she and Stacy attend a large garden show in Ohio and start planning for next year. She wants to be sure that when a customer sees something in a magazine she can say “Yes, we have it and we can help you with it.”
Over the 17 years she has been in business, Cheryl has seen steady growth, not only with local customers but with customers from as far away as Evansville and Nashville, she feels, because of the wide selection, quality and price of her plants as well her willingness to help her customers.
Cheryl summed up her growing career by saying it allows her to enjoy her two passions, gardening and trail-riding. When she closes up the greenhouse, she hits the trail and rides.
She really enjoys the people that come in. She enjoys meeting them and is excited to see new faces. It’s like a reunion when customers return.
“When you do something you love, you never work,” she said and smiled broadly.

New general manager says elevator continues to grow, improve

By Rhonda Werner

Eston Glover III, general manager for Hopkinsville Elevator

Hopkinsville Elevator has been a staple of the Christian County agriculture industry and surrounding areas for just shy of 50 years, and its new general manager, Eston Glover III, said business continues to grow.
Glover assumed the role of general manager for Hopkinsville Elevator’s Grain and Crop Insurance business Jan. 1, but Glover is not new to Hopkinsville Elevator. His career has spanned almost 20 years with Hopkinsville Elevator and throughout that time he’s worked his way up at several of the elevator’s locations and been involved in many facets of the
business.
“I’ve worked at Hopkinsville Elevator since graduating from Murray State University in 1997,” he said. “I’ve worked at the South Union location, the Clarksville River Terminal and back here at the Hopkinsville office in grain merchandising over the course of my tenure.”
In speaking with Glover about his new role and responsibilities, he is excited about what the future holds for the organization. He mentioned that their focus is on their patrons and that number has continued to grow to roughly 3,500 stakeholders currently.
“The farmers are what keeps us in business and we want to make sure we take care of them to the best of our ability.”
Some of the improvements they have made over the past couple of years, and that they hope to continue to implement over the next few years, will focus on how to keep things running as smoothly and quickly as possible for their farmers.
“When you’ve had the growth that we’ve had combined with an overall increase in yields, it does bring to light some growing pains.” But, Glover knows that they are hard at work to ensure they can keep up with growing demands.
When Hopkinsville Elevator was founded in 1968, 180 investors proceeded to buy an existing grain facility which had the capacity to handle 634,000 bushels. Currently, Hopkinsville Elevator handles roughly 75 million bushels of corn, wheat and soybeans every year. They have six locations, Hopkinsville, South Union, Russellville, Guthrie, Clarksville and their Casky branch. Within these combined locations they have rail, truck and barge availability.
Some of the draw for farmers to Hopkinsville Elevator is their patronage payback to their stockholders, which is on a five-year schedule, as well as the Ethanol Tax Credit that their patrons receive currently. Because of recent additions to Hopkinsville Elevator, they also offer crop insurance, Ag retail and an ethanol plant, so as a whole, they can offer their patrons full service for many of their agricultural needs.
With Glover at the helm of grain and crop insurance for Hopkinsville Elevator, there is no doubt the customers will continue to be their primary focus, and customers should continue to see improvements going forward at their locations.
Eston lives in Todd County with his wife of 15 years Misty, and their two children, Eston IV and Cole who are in seventh and fourth grade respectively.

Cansler family says ‘grandparents would have wanted it this way’

By Sam Morgen
If Hopkinsville can be said to have won the solar lottery, then Mark Cansler and his family have won every game in the galactic casino and left the house bankrupt.
The Canslers own a field at the GPS coordinates 36.9664 north, 87.6709 west. Those coordinates will be the exact location where the moon will be closest to the earth during the 2017 solar eclipse.
Dubbed the point of greatest eclipse, the Canslers’ property has been singled out as the spot where the eclipse’s effects will be the greatest, and eclipse chasers from across the world will travel to Hopkinsville to visit the point of greatest eclipse. Not all those travelers will view the event from the Canslers’ property, but eclipse chasers intent for the purest experience available will find no better spot in the world.
That wasn’t what the Canslers expected or necessarily wanted.
Mark Cansler serves as a magistrate on the Christian Fiscal Court. His family owns property in Christian and Trigg counties. The field that will contain the point of greatest eclipse belongs to a farm started in 1919 by his grandparents, Otho and Tessie Shepherd.
The Canslers spent a long family meeting discussing whether to allow people onto their property for the 2017 eclipse.
“It was kind of a hard decision to make really, as to what’s the right thing to do,” said Lisa Bell, Mark’s sister. “There hasn’t been a lot to base the decision on.”
The Canslers worried about attracting too much attention to themselves and they worried about dealing with a crowd of people on Aug. 21, the day of the eclipse.
When the 2017 solar eclipse travels across the United States this August, nearly all of North America will experience at least a partial eclipse. To almost everybody, there will be little difference in viewing the eclipse at the point of greatest eclipse, or at some point a few miles away.
Property owners around the Canslers’ field have decided to open their property up for eclipse viewers as well. The Canslers worried about eclipsing their neighbors with the attention the area will receive from media companies and potential visitors.
Cansler said he wanted to ensure his neighbors received some recognition for being near the point of greatest eclipse.
But, some people’s desires to be at the actual spot where the eclipse’s effects will be the greatest cannot be satisfied with locations nearby. After much discussion, the Canslers decided to open their property to the public because they decided their grandparents would have wanted it that way.
“Our grandparents were very hospitable people and they believed very strongly in education. And in their time, they participated in community things, in things they thought were a benefit or a help to themselves, the longevity of their farm and to their small community,” Bell said.
“We kind of just felt like they probably would have wanted to be hospitable,” she added.
The farm itself has remained operational as a testament to Otho and Tessie. Bell said the family has farmed the land for three generations to keep the tradition alive.
“My mother and my aunt made very conscious decisions to keep the farm going whether it was a little or whether it was a lot.”
This year, the farm plot at the point of greatest eclipse was left fallow in preparation of the eclipse. The two-lane road that leads to the destination may become crowded with visitors on the day of the eclipse.
Two scientists from the University of California Berkeley recently visited Hopkinsville and described a total solar eclipse as an event that looks like the sun turns into a black hole and the blue sky turns into a star-filled night sky, except around the horizon, where a dusky glow rings the earth.
“Once you’ve seen a total solar eclipse you have to see another one,” said Dr. Laura Peticolas, one of the Berkeley scientists. “And people will spend their retirements to go see another one. I don’t recommend that at all, but I have heard it’s life-changing and a religious experience.”
For Bell, the eclipse is more than just a visual experience.
“This is a big opportunity for Hopkinsville and Christian County to show the state and the nation that is interested in the eclipse, that we are hospitable people and that we are welcoming people and that we want others to get a glimpse of maybe what life here is like,” she said.
With the eclipse more than five months away, Bell said she was already pleased with how the community had responded to the event.
“I’m proud for our whole area and our whole city, our whole country,” she said. “This is a historical event.”

Consider agriculture’s importance on National Ag Day and all year long

By Ryan Quarles, Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture

FRANKFORT — National Ag Day is Tuesday, March 21, and it is a good time to reflect on some of the many ways agriculture affects us every day.

Agriculture is a major economic driver in Kentucky and the United States. Nationally, it is one of few sectors that can boast a trade surplus. In Kentucky, agricultural exports totaled an estimated $1.46 billion in 2015. A University of Kentucky report found that agriculture and related industries in Kentucky had an estimated economic impact of $45.6 billion and accounted for more than 258,000 jobs in 2013.

Agriculture, of course, feeds us all. We rely on farmers and food manufacturers to produce the abundant and affordable foods and beverages that we all depend on – and often take for granted. Thanks to the productivity and efficiency of U.S. agriculture, Americans spend an average of only 9.7 percent of their income on food – the lowest in the world.

Of course, that is not true of all Americans. The lowest 20 percent of the population based on earnings pay as much as 35 percent of their income to feed themselves and their families. Some have to make hard choices to make ends meet. This situation is intolerable, and that is why we launched the Kentucky Hunger Initiative and assembled the Hunger Task Force last year. You can help by checking the box on Line 33 of Form 740 to donate part of your state tax refund to the Kentucky Farms to Food Banks Trust Fund. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of Kentuckians in need.

If you want to learn more about Kentucky agriculture, follow the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s #KyAg365 campaign on Facebook and Twitter. We launched #KyAg365 at the beginning of the year to raise awareness of how agriculture affects every single person 365 days a year! This campaign educates the public on the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s initiatives as well as the importance of agriculture in the lives of all Kentuckians.

We thank everyone who has liked, shared, and retweeted our posts! Many organizations, businesses, and individuals have used the hashtag to mark their own Kentucky ag-related posts. We hope you will watch for more #KyAg365 posts and discover amazing facts about Kentucky agriculture.

On National Ag Day, I hope you will take a moment to consider how your food is produced and where it comes from. And as always, if you like to eat, thank a farmer!

Nolt Homestead cracks code to raising chickens

James Nolt and his daughter, Martha, tend to a “house” of broilers, which are American Cornish Rock chickens. The houses sit on a clover of alfalfa pasture and are reinforced to keep out predators. A hen (below) lays about 20 dozen light-brown eggs a week. Photos by Catherine Riley

James Nolt and his daughter, Martha, tend to a “house” of broilers, which are American Cornish Rock chickens. The houses sit on a clover of alfalfa pasture and are reinforced to keep out predators. A hen (below) lays about 20 dozen light-brown eggs a week. Photos by Catherine Riley

By Toni W. Riley
A glossy, fat Rhode Island Red hen sits on her nest and clucks as she lays an egg, all while another hen chases a grasshopper. These hens and 150 other hens, along with a few roosters and 200 broilers are part of the pasture-raised poultry at the Nolt Homestead near Honey Grove.
James and Louise Nolt, who moved from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to Honey Grove 20 years ago, expertly explain their process. James, who describes himself as an avid reader, is well versed in environmentally-friendly agriculture. He read about pasture-raised poultry in publications and began the operation as a way to feed his family of 10 children about five years ago.
The production has worked so well that Nolt Homestead now has a booth at the Downtown Farmers Market. On Wednesdays, customers meet oldest daughter Sarah and her two younger brothers — whom she retorts are not helpers — and on Saturday, mother Louise will be at the stand.
Their eggs sell for $3.50 per dozen, and the fresh fryers sell for $3.50 per pound.
The layers are a mixture of predominately Rhode Island Reds with a few Buff Orpingtons and some game birds. The pasture layers are there to follow the farm’s herd of Jersey cows that provide milk and calves, which James sells as pasture-raised beef.
The hens are housed in a mobile laying and roost house about every two to three weeks as the cows move around the 140-acre pasture farm. During the day, the hens forage in the field, eating crickets, grasshoppers and scratching in the manure piles for fly larve.
“Just think,” James noted, “that if each hen ate 200 fly larve and 25 crickets a day how much that would cut down on the insect population.”
He also noted how when the hens scratch in the manure they “spread” the pile out and there is not the usual tall spot of grass from the fertilization of the manure.
The hens are managed by sons James Jr. and Jacob. Each night, the boys go out to the pasture and close the hens in, and each morning, come and let them out. They feed the hens a mixture of corn, oats and wheat, and provide a mineral mix. They also gather the 20 dozen eggs the hens lay each week. The hens produce light-brown eggs that when cracked provide a dark-orange yellow, indicative of the high percentage of corn in their diet.
The broilers are American Cornish Rock chickens, and this operation consists of three simple “houses” on a clover alfalfa pasture. James’s daughter, Martha, manages the houses, and each morning, rides her bicycle with two 5-gallon buckets of feed hanging from the handlebars to the broiler pasture a quarter mile from the house.
The houses sit tightly to the ground and are reinforced with chicken wire to keep out predators. Just in case the houses sit on a hump and leave a space at the bottom, an additional board fills the hole a skunk could use to sneak in and wreck havoc.
Martha feeds the broilers the same mixture of corn, wheat and oats as the hens and utilizes the left over milk from the cows. James said he allows the milk to set over night and become the consistency of yogurt. He adds the milk to the grain to increase the protein. He also said the birds eat the “wet” feed better than just the grain.
The houses are moved twice a day to new pasture. The Nolts run water lines throughout the farm so Martha only has to walk a few yards to a water source. It takes about 10 weeks on the pasture for the birds to get to market size.
The Holts also raise pasture raised poultry and rabbits. James emphasized how important pasture-raised animals are to the environment.
It’s the best stewardship of the land, he said, since the soil is always covered with grass.

 

Farm-raised vs. store-bought

chickens2 chickens3 chickens4
In a conversation with Dr. Jacquie Jacob, extension project manager for the Department of Animal and Food Sciences at the University of Kentucky, Jacob noted research is not definitive on whether farm-raised eggs have increased nutritional value compared to eggs bought in the grocery.
“The nutritional value of the egg comes from what the hens are fed, not from just being outside,” Jacob said.
She also said that while many people think farm-raised eggs taste better, research has shown that in blind taste tests, there has been no significant difference in the panel results of grocery eggs and farm eggs when it comes to flavor.

Spotlight on small towns: Trenton, Ky.

trenton3By Rhonda Werner
There’s just something about a small town. As the old saying goes, when you grow up in a small town you cannot wait to leave, and once you leave, you cannot wait to get back. I know I somewhat felt that way growing up in Elkton. Now that I’m older and have a family, I couldn’t think of anywhere else I’d rather have my children growing up.
Our region is spotted with some hidden gems of small towns and over the next few issues, we will be highlighting some of those towns that perhaps aren’t on the beaten path anymore. It takes a specific reason to drive through them and hopefully we will give you a few reasons to make that detour.
Trenton is nestled in the far Southwest corner of Todd County near the Tennessee state and Christian County line.
Trenton is probably best known for its lush farm land and the railroad track that runs right through the center of town, but there is so much more to it.
When you visit any small town, time slows down, and you need to disconnect from technology and just enjoy what’s in front of you.
Trenton has had a bit of a resurgence of businesses over the past few years, and I reached out to a dear family friend Carrie Joy Brookshire, whom I would almost call “the spokesperson of Trenton,” for some added details to a local’s take on their hometown.
Carrie Joy, her husband and sons farm right on the south side of Trenton.
Agriculture is a huge part of Trenton, from WF Ware Co., a grain facility that has been a part of Trenton since the 1920s, to the new Ag Strong Canola refining and processing business that is just a couple yards down the road. Agriculture roots run deep in Trenton.
The people of Trenton are what makes it such a special and unique town. As Carrie Joy said, “It’s a sweet little town where you can actually know your neighbors and borrow a cup of sugar most hours of the day.” And knowing Trenton, I have no doubt that happens quite often.
What Trenton lacks in size, it makes up for in heart. The volunteerism in Trenton is strong, from many chipping in to help with Bale Trail creations, to the Volunteer Fire Department, the Farmers Market on Saturday’s and just all the work the churches do in the community.
There are many reasons to go to Trenton outside of just the people, their retail sector has really grown lately. Thanks to a billboard on Interstate 24, many folks who are involved in quilting are making the detour to head into town.
Denise Shivers started Golden Threads in 1996, which was her sewing shop for interior design pieces) and then in 2010 she opened up an adjoining shop called Quilt and Sew which is a full line quilt shop with fabric, thread, anything you can think of needing in regards to quilting, you will find at Quilt and Sew.
Earlier in September, right across the street from Quilt and Sew/Golden Threads, the Wooden Needle has opened up and they are all about yarn. Knitting and crocheting supplies and yarn as well as embroidery services and long arm quilting. Gayla Deal is the owner of The Wooden Needle, and said “our store and Quilt and Sew are not competitors, we complement each other well and help to draw even more of the crafty crowd to Trenton.”
What I find very unique about both of these stores is that each offer classes. If you want to learn to sew, learn to quilt, learn to crochet or learn to knit, Trenton should be your destination. These ladies will do all they can to help you increase your skills.
For antique lovers, Yester Year Antiques is just around the corner from the sewing and yarn shops and is a great place to find a relic of times gone past. Helen Gardner manages the antique shop. They focus on primitives, old farm tools and the owners hit up various estate sales and travel around to find just the right pieces to bring into the shop.
The antique shop used to be a Massey Ferguson Tractor shop and has now been re-purposed but elements of the old shop are still present which gives is a nice charm. The desire to re-purpose is ever present in Trenton, as the Black Sheep Bistro was and old gas station re-purposed into a restaurant and many of those old elements, like the car rack, are still used in the restaurant today. The old Trenton School Is now used as the Trenton Community Center. They find a way to keep history alive in Trenton.
All of these above mentioned stores are open on Saturdays, and weekdays Tuesday to Friday, so take a detour from the main highways and interstates and explore some of the small town gems that are in our area. You may even pick up a new talent such as quilting or knitting, and you will for sure leave with a full belly after a meal at the Black Sheep.

State officials begin push for the future of hemp farming in the Bluegrass

By Matt Hughes
Will hemp be a major player in the future of Kentucky agriculture?
Believe it or not, hemp was once one of the United States’ most important crops, and Kentucky, for a century, was at the center of this industrial boom.
Throughout the 19th century, Kentucky’s “bluegrass” region, which included Fayette, Woodford, Jessamine, Garrard, Clark, Bourbon, Boyle, Scott and Shelby counties, turned out more hemp that any one region in the country. More than one third of the nation’s 400 bagging, bale rope and cordage factories were located there.
There were ups and downs as industrial hemp competed with other cash crops, such as cotton, for dominance, but hemp always seemed to come back.
Then, in September 1937, hemp prohibition began. With the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act, the federal government began to crack down on the possession and cultivation of cannabis by requiring a stamp to grow the crop.
The last commercial hemp fields were planted in Wisconsin in 1957.
In 1969 in Leary v. United States, part of the Act was ruled to be unconstitutional as a violation of the Fifth Amendment, since a person seeking the tax stamp would have to incriminate him/herself. In response, Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act and marijuana officially became a drug.
Congress banned hemp largely because at the time it was said to be a violent and dangerous drug. The problem is, hemp is not a drug.
Although hemp is often confused with its closely related cousin — marijuana — its uses are actually quite different. While marijuana is the party animal in the family, hemp is more of a workaholic. In the early days of the U.S. it was used to manufacture rope, canvas, fabric and paper.
According to leafscience.com, a Canadian website covering the latest news and facts about marijuana, science proves the difference. It comes down to the psychoactive chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
“While marijuana plants contain high levels of THC, hemp contains very little of the psychoactive chemical,” said a Leaf Science report from Sept. 14, 2014. “This single difference is what most rely on to distinguish hemp from marijuana. For example, countries like Canada have set the maximum THC content of hemp at 0.3 percent. Any cannabis with higher THC levels is considered marijuana instead.”
Potential hemp farmers got a brief glimpse of hope in 2014. Section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 allows states to permit the growth of industrial hemp.
Thirteen states, including California, Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia, took advantage of that act to allow industrial hemp farming for research and commercial purposes.
However, on Aug. 12, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in consultation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, released a Statement of Principles on Industrial Hemp.
Last week, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles responded to that statement, urging the federal government to reconsider positions that would impede the ability of Kentucky and other states to carry out research projects on industrial hemp.
“I am concerned that some of the positions set forth in [the] Statement of Principles could hinder industrial hemp’s economic potential by imposing restrictions narrower than the parameters defined by Congress,” Commissioner Quarles wrote in a letter to three federal agencies dated Sept. 12. “KDA [Kentucky Department of Agriculture] respectfully urges you to reconsider these problematic positions, and to join KDA in our efforts to lay a solid foundation for future growth.”
Highlighted in his letter were three key problems with the statement that he said “are contrary to Congressional intent or otherwise inadvisable.” There are:
n Redefining “industrial hemp” to include only historically proven applications (fiber and seed) while excluding other potential applications. Commissioner Quarles said the Statement excludes cannabidiol (CDB), which advocates claim has a wide variety of health benefits. Commissioner Quarles said more than half of the industrial hemp acreage cultivated this year by pilot program participants in Kentucky is being raised to harvest CBD.
n Broadening the definition of THC beyond the definition in federal law. The Statement attempts to redefine the federal definition of industrial hemp.
n Prohibiting transfers of hemp seeds and plants across state lines. Federal law prohibits spending federal funds to prevent the transport of hemp grown by a participant in an industrial hemp research pilot program. Federal law even permits importation of hemp seeds and plants from foreign sources under the authority of a research pilot program and the importation and sale of internationally grown hemp grain and fiber.
Data from the KDA show that under current federal restrictions, Kentucky and other states are currently missing out on a major cash producing crop.
Without commercial industrial hemp production in the United States, the domestic market is largely dependent on imports, both as finished hemp-containing products and as ingredients for use in further processing.
“More than 30 nations grow industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity,” reports the KDA website. “The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not allow industrial hemp production. Current industry estimates report that U.S. retail sales of all hemp-based products may exceed $300 million per year.”
Hemp is used in a range of foods that include milks, tofu, yogurt, snack bars, granola, waffles, pancake mix, oatmeal, protein powder, oil and shakes. It also goes into fabrics and textiles, yarns and raw or processed spun fibers, paper, carpeting, home furnishings, construction and insulation materials, auto parts, composites, animal bedding, body care products, nutritional supplements, industrial oils, cosmetics, personal care products and pharmaceuticals.
Earlier this month, the USDA announced that certified pilot programs for industrial hemp are now eligible for National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) federal grant funding. Officials are hopeful this will provide ample support to a number of pilot programs in Kentucky.
“The USDA determining that industrial hemp research projects are eligible to compete for federal funding through existing grant programs is a good development for Kentucky farmers and helps ensure that industrial hemp pilot programs can continue with federal assistance,” said Senator Mitch McConnell. “It also demonstrates that the federal government agrees that this is a crop worth researching. Senator Paul and I have heard from countless Kentuckians regarding industrial hemp’s potential to expand agricultural opportunities for farmers and grow our economy and we look forward to continuing to work with the Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles, researchers in the state, and our colleagues in Congress to ensure that hemp research continues to move forward and that Kentucky remains the lead state in demonstrating how industrial hemp could once again be a cash crop for Kentucky.”
So, with everything falling into place, the stage appears set for Kentucky and hemp to once again be bound together in success.
“Historically, Kentucky was a leader in hemp production, and it is already staking out its position at the head of the pack once again,” said Senator Paul. “I’m pleased to see the USDA respond to Kentucky farmers’ concerns by officially leveling the playing field for industrial hemp pilot programs.”

MATT HUGHES is the editor of the Journal Enterprise. Reach Matt at 270-667-2068 or matt@journalenterprise.com.

Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program now taking applications for 2017
New measures set to enable sustained growth of the program

FRANKFORT — Kentuckians interested in participating in the industrial hemp research
pilot program in 2017 are invited to submit an application with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.
The KDA operates its program under the authority of a provision of the 2014 federal farm bill, 7 U.S.C. § 5940, that permits industrial hemp pilot programs in states where hemp production is permitted by state law. Participants planted more than 2,350 acres of hemp in 2016 compared with 922 acres in 2015 and 33 acres in 2014, the first year of the program.
Applicants should be aware of important new measures for the 2017 research program, including the following:

  • To strengthen the department’s partnership with state and local law enforcement officers, KDA will provide GPS coordinates of approved industrial hemp planting sites to law enforcement agencies before any hemp is planted. GPS coordinates must be submitted on the application. Applicants must consent to allow program staff and law enforcement officers to inspect any premises where hemp or hemp products are being grown, handled, stored, or processed.
  • To promote transparency and ensure a fair playing field, KDA will rely on objective criteria, outlined in the newly released 2017 Policy Guide, to evaluate applications. An applicant’s criminal background check must indicate no drug-related misdemeanor convictions, and no felony convictions of any kind, in the past 10 years. Staff with the KDA’s industrial hemp pilot project program will consider whether applicants have complied with instructions from the department, Kentucky State Police, and local law enforcement.
  • As the research program continues to grow, KDA’s hemp staff needs additional resources and manpower to administer this tremendously popular program. The addition of participant fees will enable KDA Hemp Staff to handle an increasing workload without needing additional taxpayer dollars from the General Assembly. Program applicants will be required to submit a nonrefundable application fee of $50 with their applications. Successful applicants will be required to pay additional program fees.
    Grower applications must be postmarked or received by the KDA marketing office no later than 3:30 p.m. Nov. 14, 2016. Processor or handler applicants are encouraged to submit their applications by the same deadline .
    For more information, including the 2017 Policy Guide and a downloadable application, go to kyagr.com/hemp.

Sisters hold onto heirloom farm in father’s honor

Sisters Josephine Abshire-Furlow (standing left) and Dorothy Tolliver smile with their now late mother and father, Precious and William “Jack” Abshire.

Sisters Josephine Abshire-Furlow (standing left) and Dorothy Tolliver smile with their now late mother and father, Precious and William “Jack” Abshire.

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Sisters Josephine Abshire-Furlow (standing left) and Dorothy Tolliver smile with their now late mother and father, Precious and William “Jack” Abshire.

By Zirconia Alleyne

It’s been almost a decade since William “Jack” Abshire died, but his two daughters and a visionary granddaughter are keeping his 61-acre farm in the family, hoping to honor his life’s work and to encourage other black farmers to keep farms in their families.
“There’s a lot of pride in it,” said Abshire’s oldest daughter, Dorothy Tolliver, who stays at the farm regularly. “Daddy worked from bootstraps up, and he put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into that, so why would we say ‘It doesn’t mean anything’ and just let it go?”
William started out as a sharecropper then became a tenant and, in 1952 when he bought his own farm, he became the employer.
“Some people weren’t able to understand how he was able to do that being an Afro-American,” she said.
Dorothy, now 74, was 10 years old when her father bought the farm in Logan County.
Her sister, Josephine Abshire-Furlow, 72, loved being outside helping their dad. He raised everything from corn and tobacco, to chickens, cows and pigs.
“We slaughtered our own pigs,” Dorothy recalled. “It was cold as the dickens outside when we did that because they didn’t want the meat to spoil.”
Dorothy remembers stuffing sausage into casings and canning some of the meat with their late mother, Precious.
The sisters also have fond memories of driving the mule and wagon to pull corn, helping with the tobacco and eating fresh tomatoes out the patch.
“In the summertime, we would take sugar or salt and put it in a little plastic bag, and you’d get a tomato off the vine and eat that, then you’d take off, and you’d work some more,” Dorothy said.
Sunday afternoons were for ice cream socials. Grandma Hattie would round up the kids and take them fishing down at the pond.
Dorothy’s daughter, Janet Tolliver, 41, has fond memories of visiting her grandparents’ farm.
“Grandmother Precious was the backbone,” Janet said. “People wanted to come work for Granddaddy because they always got a meal. It was a feast.”
William would be 96 years old if he was still living, and his daughters are certain he would still be farming in some capacity.
In his later years, William took up gardening, which Josephine believes he enjoyed more than large-scale farming.
“He had a beautiful vegetable garden,” she remembered. “He had everything you could think of.”
William became known as “Vegetable Man” because he would sell his produce around the county and at the Russellville farmers market.
“It was his pride and joy to have the largest stalk of corn or cabbage or tomato,” Dorothy said.
After their father died, the sisters said their mother didn’t think twice about giving up the farm. And when Precious died several years later, Dorothy and Josephine didn’t think about selling it either.
Although neither of them farm today, the sisters lease the land to local farmers, which is a common practice among rural landowners, and both women handle the financial side of the business.
“There’s nothing that goes on at the farm that I don’t tell her,” Dorothy said about making decisions with Josephine, who lives in Detroit.
That’s just the way they were raised, Dorothy said, to do everything as a family, from work to church to decision-making.
In hindsight, Josephine — a retired college professor — said their parents were visionaries, and they taught them to be responsible, dedicated and to take care of everything they had.
“He had the foresight of looking forward and seeing what he wanted his family to do and be,” she said, “and that was to have your land, grow your own crops, and have your own livestock — just have your own.”
“I think it’s important to hold onto the land because that’s the legacy they left — a legacy of land and ownership,” she continued.
Dorothy said his mindset opened the door of opportunity, despite the fact that he wasn’t college educated.
William served on the Logan County Farm Service Agency board and was so respected by the staff that several of them were pallbearers at his funeral, Dorothy noted.
“He was able to go into banks and sit down with bankers and lawyers and know what he had in mind, to know the types of loans he wanted to get and being able to invest,” she said.
Dorothy said as long as they can keep the land, that’s what they are going to do. Although her son, Kenneth, has no interest in farming, Janet, who has a master’s degree in counseling and human development, hopes to one day inherit the farm.
Her vision is to open a transitional housing facility for felons and the homeless to learn work skills and how to be self-sufficient.
“I want to let them know what it is to grow a crop,” Janet said. “I would love to work with drug and alcohol offenders because when you have a felony offense, it’s hard to get a job.
“I would let them work the land, let them grow and cook their own food and make it a skill builder for resumes,” she continued.”If I can get this established — and that is my goal — I would, but that is up to them,” she said, looking at her mother.
At the end of the day, Dorothy said they will keep the farm in the family. She hopes to encourage other minority farm families to hold onto their land, if only for the location to be a family heirloom or meeting place.
“There are no African-American farmers up there anymore, except for one, and there used to be a lot of them up there,” Dorothy said. “In the essence of it being home, we can still go back. We stay there, and we have our family functions there.”
Josephine comes down to visit periodically, and Dorothy spends days at a time on the farm tending to the cats that still live there. Janet looks forward to Thanksgiving at the farm every year.
The family lost most of their memorabilia in a fire when Dorothy and Josephine were little girls, but a neighbor had a photo of the sisters that she gave to them as a keepsake.
Dorothy said the rapport and camaraderie is still strong among the farm families and friends their parents made in Logan County. She said her father was respected and loved by many because of his giving spirit and caring
demeanor.
“He had people working for him, but he treated people like he wanted to be treated …,” she said. “He would bend over backwards to help you if he could.”
Most of all, Josephine said her father was passionate about farming, her mother was dedicated to everything that involved the family, and at the center of it all was God. Precious served on the church Mother’s Board and William was a deacon.
“You never heard my dad complain,” Josephine said. “I know as hard as he worked, he had to be tired, but he didn’t complain. He had a lot of love in what he did. The proof was in the pudding.”

Bouncing along the Bale Trail

bale1By Rhonda Werner
The wisps of smoke coming from dark fired tobacco barns, the elongation of shadows and the hint of crisp mornings are sure signs of fall here in Western Kentucky, but three years ago, one signal of fall in Todd County became a little more creative.
The Todd County Community Alliance started Todd County’s Bale Trail in 2014, debuting with around 21 hay bale creations. As of last count, the number of registered creations has crept to nearly 50 for 2016.
The Bale Trail is created by individuals or businesses who build various creations out of hay, round bales, square bales, chicken wire stuffed with hay — anything you can create out of hay. Some of the more memorable creations in the past have been minions, Hello Kitty, and Olaf from “Frozen,” just to name a few.
Laura Brock, the Elkton City Clerk and Secretary/Treasurer for the Todd County Community Alliance, is the one who first stumbled upon the Montana Bale Trail idea while researching a trip out west.
“I brought the event to the Community Alliance Board in 2014 and the board loved that it would get the community involved, as well as bring people into Todd County to eat and shop.”
This project also would involve the agriculture community of Todd County, a segment the Alliance had been hoping to reach and involve, as agriculture is a large portion of the county’s economy.
To say it’s been a hit would be an understatement. It has now become a signature county initiative and something everyone looks forward to every year. Not only does it bring tourism to the county, it has brought the community together. Everyone pitches in, helps their neighbor, share’s ideas and many get their whole family involved.
Andrea Howard Jones was one of the initial 21 people who participated in 2014 and has every year since.
“We thought it would be a great activity for the family to do together,” she said.
The first year, Andrea and her family built the letters U and K and a paw print out of hay. She estimates maybe 50 visitors came to their house to see their creation.
“Last year, we used  four large round bales and created the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and I estimated we had over 200 people stop to enjoy the Turtles.”
This year, Andrea and her family capitalized on the Pokemon craze and created a “PokHAYmon Ball” and a “PikHAYchu” and anticipates even more visitors this year.
“It’s been good for bringing in tourists and even having people from Todd County explore their own county,” she said. “I’ve had several people stop by who say they’d never been to Allegre before.”
Tabitha West and her family created their first Bale Trail creation this year, “Spongebob Hay Pants.”
“We decided to do the bale trail this year because our kids always enjoy going and exploring the bale trail, so why not make one of our own,” Tabitha said.
The sentiment from it all is family time, whether building or driving around the county to capture pictures with all the creations. It’s a way to slow things down, step away from the technology and enjoy the countryside.
Businesses have also joined the Bale Trail craze. Banks, nursing homes, engineering firms and hamburger restaurants are just a few that have brought their employees together. The Elkton Post Office has participated the last two years.
Frank Gillespie, Elkton post master, said the employees brain storm for a few months on their creation and then there’s a few crafty postal workers who actually put up their display.
“We like to be a part of the community, and this is just a fun way to participate and be active in our community,” he said.
The Todd County Bale Trail runs from mid-September until the end of October.
To find a map with all the entries, visit the Todd County Alliance website at www.toddcountyca.org. There is also a printout with each creation and a physical address listed.

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The Other Side of Ag from the perspective of grain buyers

By Krin Mims
If you live in Christian County, you know, as the weather begins to warm up, more action takes place in the fields. Everyone can identify a stalk of corn, and you may even know it’s cut with a combine. But what happens next? Where does it go? How does it get there, and who is involved in this process?
The local row crops go on to do great things all over the world, and the journey begins right here. It’s something in which we all should take great pride. I spent some time in two local grain elevators recently and learned a great deal about the voyage our crops take before they become a part of our daily lives.
The process for both companies is fairly similar. Farmers can presell their crop before it’s even planted by signing a contract with the grain elevator. In the same way, buyers are also pre-buying from the elevators. Continue reading

Cooking Cuban cuisine in Kentucky

By Mayra Diaz-Ballard

My native birthplace is the tropical island of Cuba. Even though I immigrated to the United States in 1954, eating black beans still remains a part of my culture today.
You eat these beans as you would Great Northern Beans, served as black bean soup or over white rice, adding the chopped raw onion as a garnish.
This dish is a definite must-have when celebrating Noche Buena, which is Christmas Eve.
The second recipe for flan de leche was handed down to me by my beloved Tia Luisa, a wonderful cook who lived in Tampa, Florida.
Continue reading

How country stores are surviving in the 21st century

By Toni W. Riley
Anyone growing up in the country probably had a country store that was the center of the community. These stores were reminiscent of Mr. Godsey’s store in “The Waltons,” offering the regular grocery items but also everything from fabric to hardware. The country store also served as the gathering place for everyone to learn the news of the neighborhood. Sadly, the country store is almost extinct — the product of the times. Continue reading

How farmers hope to avoid another farm crisis like the ‘80s

By Rhonda Werner

The agriculture industry has always been a volatile one. They don’t call farmers gamblers and entrepreneurs for just any reason. As John F. Kennedy said, “The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale and pays the freight both ways.” The way farmers do business may not always make economic sense, but for most years, it works and it works well — until it doesn’t. Continue reading

How an impromptu trip to S. Africa lifted our faith

By Janie Corley

At 11:45 a.m. on July 29, 2006, an email from the other side of the world appeared in my inbox. The subject line: “INVITATION: World Farmers for Christ Conference.”
The text included an invitation to us personally. The author had read about our farm on the Internet and was inviting us to a conference in Bredasdorp, South Africa.
The idea of the conference was “to connect farmers from different parts of the world and to give them the opportunity to talk about how they can make a difference in their own communities. We welcome people like yourselves to share your experiences with others.” The conference was only 38 days away — Sept. 5. Continue reading

Store motivates drivers through outdoor marquee

By Toni W. Riley
In today’s fast-paced, in-a-hurry lifestyle, it’s easy to miss the little things that might provide a positive boost throughout the day.
Examples of those “little things” are the motivational messages on each side of the marquee at Buy-Rite Parts and Supply store on Skyline Drive.
The inspiration for these messages came from owner Jeff Davis during the summer of 2014. Davis returned from a Baptist convention and wanted to put encouraging memos on the sign. Since then, each month, the marquee boasts a new message on each side. Continue reading

5 ways to find solace while working

By Olivia Clark
Spring is one of the busiest times of the year for area agriculturalists. Selecting the ground, preparing the soil and planting are all vital yet tiring steps in farming.
Due to all the demands on farmers to get the crops planted in a timely fashion, their battles with the weather and having to make the most of each hour of the day, there is little thought in making time to relax. Hopefully, the tips below will help you and your farmer to remember to smell the roses while working hard. Continue reading

20 signs it’s spring on the farm

Spring is finally here, but what does a farm family expect now that the winter blues are gone? I asked the Luttrull and Wright families and here are their responses:

  1. Planting season starts.
  2.  Signs of new life, such as a baby calf standing by its mom.
  3. The word “vacation” doesn’t exist until July.
  4. As a wife, you look forward to rain so you can see your husband. But, as a husband, you wish the rain would go away.
  5. Walking outside and taking in the fresh air
  6. Family time becomes very precious since there is not as much to go around.
  7. Kids riding around in the tractor with dad while he plants.
  8. The trees budding with new life and the frozen daffodils after a late frost.
  9. Dinner is no longer at 6 p.m. It’s now at 8, 9 or 10 …
  10. The wonderful smell of chicken manure fills the air as the farmers fertilize the fields.
  11. Finding seeds in the washer and dryer.
  12. Extra jobs for whoever is standing around — and the jobs have to be done right away.
  13. Eating dinner by yourself and then putting his plate in the oven to stay warm.
  14. Taking dinner to your husband in the field.
  15. “Free” weekends are few and far between.
  16. Spring is the time to execute the plants that were made during the fall and winter months.
  17. Part runs when things break in the middle of planting.
  18. The extra daylight that comes with longer days.
  19. Taking care of the kids as a “single” parent
  20. Seeing school buses at Wal-Mart on Sunday.

Tips for driving safely alongside farm equipment

By Jay Stone

Spring is quickly approaching and with it comes the planting season for farmers; a time when ground is prepared and crops are planted. With this and every planting season, our local roads will be shared with farm implements, as farmers move tillage and planting equipment from field to field.
As the borders between urban and rural areas constantly change, it is likely that motorists will encounter large, slow-moving machinery as part of their daily commute. In order to avoid accidents, practicing a few simple rules and having a good sense of awareness while on the road will help prevent unnecessary collisions. Continue reading