Coalition aims to expand agriculture education

By Rae Wagoner
Kentucky Soybean Board

250,000. That is the number of students the Kentucky Agriculture and Environment in the Classroom hopes to reach with food and farm-based lessons in the next two years.

That goal will be made possible with the support of agriculture community partners, such as the Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board. The board recently provided $10,000 to KAEC for agriculture education program development, which will include teaching resources about soybeans for educators.
“The Kentucky Soybean Board has been a long-term partner in helping us provide agriculture education to Kentucky’s students,” said KAEC Executive Director Jennifer Elwell. “In addition to general agriculture education, we want to address specific goals of Kentucky’s soybean industry.”
The soybean promotion board and KAEC have begun work on resource development, making sure information about the production and use of soybeans are packaged in a way that will be easy for teachers to utilize.
“With consumers being three generations removed from the farm these days, children are no longer working and learning alongside their parents and grandparents on the farm. If today’s youth don’t learn about agriculture in the classroom, the only resource they’ll have available may be the Internet,” said Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board Chair Keith Tapp, who farms in Sebree. “There’s a lot of great information on food and farming on the Web, but there’s also a whole lot of misinformation and baseless claims being made. It all comes down to this: We want consumers to learn the truth about agriculture and the food, feed, fuel and fiber that farmers are growing for the world’s ever-increasing population,” Tapp said. “If we want them to learn the truth, it’s up to us to fund programs like this.”
Another impending project to encourage a deeper understanding of Kentucky agriculture in schools is to develop a comprehensive agriculture and food-issues website. Filled with questions from students, answers from industry experts and curriculum, this resource will challenge students to consider technologies and careers that make food and renewable resource production possible.
Elwell said careers in agriculture will be a primary focus of the website and other KAEC programs.
“Even as early as kindergarten, vocational studies and career readiness has become a major component of the Kentucky Core Academic Standards, and I want to make sure that we are developing and revamping programs to assist teachers,” Elwell said. “I also hope that learning the why and how of the many agriculture careers available will spark some interest in students at an earlier age.”
KSPB has also provided funding and support for Mobile Science Activity Centers, which gives agriscience lessons at elementary and middle schools across the commonwealth. The activity centers are operated by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and reach about 24,000 students and 800 teachers each year. The department will soon put a third center into operation, thanks to the many KAEC sponsors and the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund.
Additional KAEC programs supported by KSPB include the school assembly show “Agriculture Adventures” and the Agriculture Literacy Network, which equips educators with the resources, materials and training to provide quality, standards-based lessons.
KAEC was recently approved to market a special agricultural literacy license plate for non-farm vehicles in Kentucky. Once the minimum number of plates are reserved and manufactured, additional income will be available for programs.

Faith invaluable in the lives of farmers, family

By Olivia Clark
Having faith in farming is not always easy. There are times when things become very trying and farmers may question if it is feasible to make it another year. Without their faith, many farmers would not have the confidence that they could make it another year. For that reason alone, faith plays an important role in the lives of farmers, their families and their future.
Gayle Outland and his son, Brad, make up the fourth generation of farmers in their family to raise row crops in Christian and Trigg counties. Outland believes that above anyone else, farmers should have faith in God. Continue reading

Rural reminiscence: Passing down the art of storytelling

By P.D. Dickinson
Storytelling was once one of the best non-physical activities to do on the farm. Some stories were funny, some were scary, some were fantasy and others were suspenseful mysteries. Any and every kind of story imaginable was told and welcomed.
Most of the stories were passed down from generation to generation. Many we’d heard before, but the narrators were so good at their craft that we loved hearing them over and over.
Once in a while, someone would come up with a new one. It would then be added to my mental list to be requested time and time again, like all the rest. Continue reading

Ham, sausage ‘meat’ the definition of tradition

By Toni W. Riley

The time-honored, handed-down process of curing hams and making sausage is a tradition in many farm families, and it was no different in mine. In the late 50s and 60s, “putting up” pork was a yearly event and still is today. I have strong recollections of killing hogs on our farm in Pendleton County, and I certainly wasn’t traumatized by the process. It was just a part of farm life, and it put meat on the table for the entire year.
Traditionally, we killed hogs over the long Thanksgiving weekend when my mother, who was a schoolteacher, was home. I would watch a little of the Thanksgiving parades, but that day was devoted to preparing the meat. Continue reading

Time, not money, hinders regular checkups for farmers

By Mayra Diaz-Ballard
One of the main topics on everyone’s minds these days is health care. Affordability, proximity and the amount of coverage play a major role in deciding what plan is right for farmers and their families. Even with insurance, many farmers don’t make regular checkups a priority.
Karen Parm, a farmer’s wife from Graves County, said, her husband, Jimmy, is paying the price for years of not seeing a dentist or doctor because “he didn’t have time.” Continue reading

Why ag professionals love the industry and tips on how to land a job in the field

By Rhonda Werner
Passion. It’s the one word that people  in agriculture use again and again. They have a passion for the industry, a passion for the people and just love what they do.
My article in the last edition of “Ag Families” discussed the steady rise in demand for people with degrees in agriculture and highlighted the various directions those degrees can take a career in the industry. In this edition, two Kentucky professionals share some of their experiences in the agriculture field and what makes it so special to them. Continue reading

Hopkinsville Milling stays true to family ties, baking products

The sun glows on the Sunflour plant, also known as Hopkinsville Milling, at the end of Fort Campbell Boulevard. In the early 1900s, the company was called Crescent Mills.

The sun glows on the Sunflour plant, also known as Hopkinsville Milling, at the end of Fort Campbell Boulevard. In the early 1900s, the company was called Crescent Mills.

By Toni W. Riley

When 5-year-old Robert Harper was paid 25 cents to organize a desk drawer at Hopkinsville Milling for his grandfather Frank A. Yost, the youngster didn’t know he was the fifth generation of the Yost family to work at “The Mill.” Now president of Hopkinsville Milling, Harper easily
recounts the history and development of the company from its beginning in 1874.
At Seventh Street and the railroad crossing, the precursor of Hopkinsville Milling was Crescent Mills, owned by F.J. Brownell and John T. Rabbeth. Brownell was the uncle of Frank K. Yost, Harper’s great-grandfather who joined the firm in 1903.
Harper remembers the evolution of Hopkinsville Milling as it followed history and the changing United States lifestyle. He explains that milling is an industry of pennies.
“Pennies have to be watched at work as well as at home,” he said. “A person can make a good living as a miller, but they won’t get rich.”

Continue reading

Todd’s tips for protecting animal health in winter

Photo by Tony Hurt

Photo by Tony Hurt

By Susan Hurt
With the mercury dropping as quickly as the Waterford Crystal Ball in Times Square, people are bundling up and staying indoors as much as possible. But some of our four-legged friends are not as fortunate and must endure months of cold, wind, ice and snow.
When it comes to protecting animal health and ensuring their productivity, it is important to know a few facts. Dr. Todd Freeman, veterinarian of Little River Veterinary Clinic, shares a few tips to help ensure our animals can bear the winter months comfortably. Continue reading

Black Sheep Bistro owner plans for future with goal that ‘patrons don’t leave hungry’

Black sheep Cath

The Black Sheep Bistro sits at the corner of South Main Street in downtown Trenton. Photo by Catherine Riley

By Toni W. Riley
If someone is looking for a restaurant where the menu is unique, changes regularly and tastes wonderful, then look no further than The Black Sheep Bistro, which offers an international menu with Southern attitude.
This one-of-a-kind restaurant at 100 S. Main St., Trenton, is in a restored Standard Oil gas station at the caution light downtown. Once a filling station, the building has become a “filling” station of another kind.
Continue reading

2 recipes that are sure to warm your body, fill your belly

By Diane Turner
The visions of sugar plums have danced out of sight, the turkey and ham is all gone, and picnics and barbecues are still months away. We are now left with the short days and cold nights of winter, and I’m sure that, like me, you are looking for easy recipes to fill your family’s stomachs, so you don’t have to spend time away from them in the kitchen.
Diane’s Lasagna and Crock-Pot Pork Chops are crowd favorites among my family and friends. Both recipes are inexpensive, don’t take long to prep and are sure to please the pickiest of eaters. Hopefully your families will enjoy these recipes at dinnertime. They are also great meals to take to others who may be too busy to cook while tending to the farm. Continue reading

Meet Ag Commissioner Ryan Quarles

Photo provided

Photo provided

Compiled by Rae Wagoner
Kentucky Soybean Board
You can tell a lot about a man by the way he introduces himself. On the Legislative Research Commission (LRC) Web page, Ryan Quarles could identify himself first as a graduate of Harvard, as a Truman Scholar or as the holder of not one but three undergraduate degrees in addition to his two master’s degrees. All of those means of identification would be true, yet when Quarles turned in his biography, the first thing he listed, after his date of birth, was the title “farmer.” Continue reading