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Family profits from pumpkins to enjoy farm life

Paul Gripshover and his wife Dr. Ellie Gripshover smile with their children Oliver, 4, and Amelia, 2, at Gripshover Family Farm in Logan County. The family raises pumpkin varieties and several bee hives. Photo Provided

Paul Gripshover and his wife Dr. Ellie Gripshover smile with their children Oliver, 4, and Amelia, 2, at Gripshover Family Farm in Logan County. The family raises pumpkin varieties and several bee hives. Photo Provided

By Toni W. Riley
When Dr. Ellie Gripshover accepted a position with the Logan County Animal Clinic in 2010, she and husband Paul knew they wanted a farm. They had lived in Iowa where Ellie started her veterinary practice and wanted a farm there, but, as Paul said, “land never came up for sale.”
As they settled into Logan County, the couple began their search for small farms. One caught their eye on Woodward Road in the Chandler’s Chapel area, but they weren’t sold on the house. Eventually, the property won them over, and the Gripshovers knew they had found what they were looking for.
They also knew they would have to supplement their income to pay the mortgage on the 70 acres. They talked about several different things, but the property had no fence, so that eliminated cattle. They fell back on an enterprise that had helped Ellie and her siblings have spending money and pay for college and cars as teenagers — pumpkins. Continue reading

Family finds success raising mules

The McCuistons (from left), LeeAnn, Tanner, Patrick and Maci sit on mules while talking on their farm.

The McCuistons (from left), LeeAnn, Tanner, Patrick and Maci sit on mules while talking on their farm.

By Toni W. Riley
Photo by Catherine Riley

The early evening sun casts long shadows as the McCuiston family tacks up their mounts to ride out and check the cattle. There’s the normal family banter about who feeds most, who mucks out stalls and who can’t get their saddle on correctly. The family laughs and teases each other as they put their feet in the stirrups and ease into the saddles of their hybrids — mules, that is. Continue reading

Predators, parasitizers, pollinators, soil enrichers all serve a purpose

By Toni W. Riley
With temperatures rising, families won’t be the only ones out and about to enjoy the weather, but a myriad of insects that are native to our yards and gardens will also be crawling and abuzz. Before dousing every creepy-crawly, bug-like creature, it is important to know there are beneficial insects that provide a real service and pose no threat to humans.
Dr. Doug Johnson, entomologist at the University of Kentucky Extension, says beneficial bugs can fall into three categories: predators and parasitizers, pollinators and soil enrichers.
Continue reading

Farmer wonders if organic certification is worth it

Tony Prettyman smiles for a photo at the Downtown Farmers Market while his wife, Alethia, talks with a customer. The Prettymans own Bramble and Bee Farm, which is certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Tony Prettyman smiles for a photo at the Downtown Farmers Market while his wife, Alethia, talks with a customer. The Prettymans own Bramble and Bee Farm, which is certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Story and photo by Zirconia Alleyne
As consumers become more interested in the who, what, where and how of their food, some farmers are leaning toward all-natural production practices and marketing their crops as organic. It’s buzz word for consumers and signals produce was grown without pesticides or genetically modified organisms. But, for farmers, being an organic producer isn’t as simple as throwing the word on a label and sticking it on their products. Continue reading

Love blossoms in business, life

Husband and wife duo David Martin and Martha White help a customer (left) with flowers at the Downtown Farmers Market. The couple owns Martin Farm where they grow a variety of cut flowers and perennials for floral arrangements.

Husband and wife duo David Martin and Martha White help a customer (left) with flowers at the Downtown Farmers Market. The couple owns Martin Farm where they grow a variety of cut flowers and perennials for floral arrangements.

Story and photo by Toni W. Riley
On any Friday night from mid-April to frost, the kitchen of Martin Farm is filled with buckets of cut flowers from gardens just across the Trigg County line. The owners, David Martin and his wife Martha White, will gradually empty the buckets and use their flowers to create unique bouquets to sell at the Downtown Hopkinsville Farmers Market.
The story of how the couple developed Martin Farm and moved into flower farming is one where timing was everything. How two people with vastly different careers and personalities came together to develop a partnership in life, as well as business, could be described as serendipitous. Continue reading

Teen dominates state, national trapshooting contests

Bobby Fowler aims for clay while practicing at the Christian County Quail Club. PHOTO BY ZIRCONIA ALLEYNE

Bobby Fowler aims for clay while practicing at the Christian County Quail Club. PHOTO BY ZIRCONIA ALLEYNE

By Olivia Clark
“Squad, ready?” “Scorer, ready?” “Pull!”
These words are all too familiar to 17-year-old Bobby Fowler, who has been trapshooting for six years. In that time, the Christian County High School graduate has won both state and national trapshooting contests.
Fowler started trapshooting with the 4-H Sharp Shooters after seeing an advertisement in the newspaper. Once he started working with the group, a friend of Fowler’s dad, Dean Debow, who is a record trap shooter, sought him out and suggested that Fowler take his clinic, so he did. Continue reading

Rural reminiscence: Memories of shadetree mechanics

By P.D. Dickinson
Summertime brings back lots of memories, not only those of working on the farm but also of the things teenagers used to do to pass the time.
Like teens of today with smartphones, texting and social media, we made do with what we had. To most teenage boys in the 60s, that meant mechanics. Skills learned from working on farm machinery coupled with innate talent made many of them veritable geniuses in mechanics. Continue reading

Keep Fido cool during the dog days of summer

Boy and Dog 2

By Susan Hurt
Photo by Tony Hurt
If your home is anything like mine, your dog is part of the family. Charlie, our border collie mix, is faithfully by our side, which means he spends his days running on the farm, swimming in the creek and chasing squirrels in the woods. Keeping Charlie healthy means keeping him safe and free from disease-causing parasites.
Veterinarian Dr. Todd Freeman shares tips for keeping your canine cool and healthy during the dog days of summer.
Continue reading

Stallons siblings ready to wrangle in annual rodeo

Bethany Stallons, 14, hangs on during a stunt at the National Junior High Finals in June in Des Moines, Iowa. It was her third time on the national stage. PHOTO PROVIDED

Bethany Stallons, 14, hangs on during a stunt at the National Junior High Finals in June in Des Moines, Iowa. It was her third time on the national stage. PHOTO PROVIDED

By Zirconia Alleyne
The Christian County Cattleman’s Lone Star Rodeo has been drawing families to the grandstands for 18 years, but for three local siblings, their place isn’t in the seats; it’s in the arena, atop horses.
Paige Stallons, 19, Aaron Stallons, 17, and Bethany Stallons, 14, will compete in the annual Lone Star Rodeo August 14 and 15. They have been riding horses as long as they can remember. Paige and Aaron got their start in the rodeo scene 10 years ago when their parents, David and Becky Stallons, enrolled them in the 4-H horse club. Continue reading

Faith and farming

By Janie Corley
“Have you checked the forecast?”
“(There’s a) 20 percent — no, wait. Now it shows 60 percent chance of rain. Oh, now it says the rain chances are gone ‘til next Thursday.”
It’s the endless “game” we play. It’s time to plant pumpkins and as soon as the seeds are planted chemicals must be sprayed for weed prevention and it must be done before the seeds sprout. If rains come quickly, seeds can sprout before we can drive through the field to spray. Yet, we need rain to come soon after we spray to activate the chemical and be sure it does the job we need it to do. It doesn’t feel so much like a fun game at times. Even the best forecasters can’t predict a random shower that pops up, and they can’t predict the 30 percent who misses the rain showers and the other 70 percent that gets rain … So how do you know when to plant? It’s a matter of faith. Continue reading

Awards given out at Salute to Ag eye opener breakfast

Photo by Dan Stahl

Award recipients stand with members of the Christian County Agri-Business Association. Photo by Dan Stahl

Friend of Agriculture Jimmy Waldrop – “Your dad would’ve been proud” is the recurring message Jimmy Waldrop has received since being named the 2015 Friend of Agriculture. Waldrop, better known as “Slim,” said that’s been the best part of winning the award.
Growing up, he worked on the farm with his dad, Bill, who was a sharecropper. Slim looked up to his father and shared his passion for agriculture. Continue reading

Farmer of the Year juggles business with family

Farmer of the Year Jeff Davis sits with his daughters, Emily and Sarah, and his wife, Robin.

Farmer of the Year Jeff Davis sits with his daughters, Emily and Sarah, and his wife, Robin.

By Zirconia Alleyne

Born and bred in Pembroke and raised on his parent’s livestock farm, Farmer of the Year Jeff Davis could easily be named Businessman of the Year, too.
Not only does he own a 1,350-acre farm where he grows corn, wheat, soybeans, tobacco, canola and hemp, Jeff owns Buy-Rite Parts and Supply and has several rental properties. He was also part-owner of a sub shop and owner of a liquor store in the past.
In recent years, Jeff has experimented with new tillage practices and was one of only six farmers in the state to grow industrial hemp last summer.
Jeff couldn’t pinpoint where he developed his entrepreneurialism and innovative edge but said he’s always liked trying new things. Continue reading

The key to attracting bluebirds and butterflies

Bluebirds
The bluebird population declined drastically, as much as 90 percent, from 1920 to 1970. The decrease was primarily due to two things, the loss of nesting habitats, including tree holes, rotted fence posts and old orchards and competing for nesting spots with other bird populations, like the starling and house sparrow. Luckily, today, bluebirds are easy to attract to your yard.
The first thing to understand when luring bluebirds is they prefer open areas, if the yard is heavily wooded other nesting birds will be attracted but not bluebirds. Probably the easiest way to attract bluebirds is to provide houses or nesting boxes along with food and water. Continue reading

Cleaning marks the beginning of a new season

By P.D. Dickinson

Spring was always a time of renewal during our childhood on the farm. The trees, shrubs and flowers thrived with bursts of vibrant colors from burgeoning leaves and buds. The spring planting of gardens, corn and tobacco crops were always the primary concern; however, aside from the planting, there were chores to be done as well.
Along with the spirit of renewal, the season brought spring cleaning. We, kids, helped with the planting of crops and gardens just as we helped with all the other chores during the year. Everything — and I mean everything — was stripped down, cleaned out, dusted off, washed, freshly varnished or painted, repaired or
replaced. Continue reading

Dad bonds with sons during Ky. youth hunting weekend

Eli and Jason Morris smile with his wild turkey. Photo provided

Eli and Jason Morris smile with his wild turkey. Photo provided

By Toni W. Riley
The mock cluck, cluck of a hen turkey resonates from the friction call in the hands of Jason Morris. He and his son, Micah, 11, have been hiding inside the turkey blind since before daylight during the youth hunting weekend. The call works. Seconds later, a gobbler fans his tail and struts into sight.
“He’s a big one,” Jason says quietly. “Be calm, be still and don’t move.”
Micah waits patiently for the gobbler to move into range. The gobbler hears the hen call from Jason’s hand again and sees the decoys Jason and Micah have set up 20 yards from the blind. As the gobbler struts forward, Micah continues to wait until the bird is near enough. He pulls the trigger and harvests a wild turkey.
Jason will continue this annual hunting tradition with his other son, Eli, 9, as will many other ag families during the Kentucky youth hunting weekend and possibly again during the regular turkey hunting season. Continue reading

Make your yard a habitat for nature’s critters

Imagine enjoying the bright color of a goldfinch on a sunflower, the fragrance of a crabapple, the song of a mockingbird or the flutter of butterfly wings right from your front porch.
Attracting wildlife can be an educational and memorable experience regardless where you live. Whether your family lives in the country, a subdivision, an older historic section or even an apartment, wildlife can become a beautiful part of the landscape.
Wildlife needs food, water, shelter and space to live. When those things are available, a habitat is established. The first thing to consider is which of these factors are already available? What species would be easy to attract and what do you need to provide in addition to what is already available? Continue reading

Research projects more female farmers to take leading roles on US farms by 2027

Kathy Hancock manages a 230-acre family farm in Herndon with her sister.

Kathy Hancock manages a 230-acre family farm in Herndon with her sister. Photo by Meredith Willse

By Olivia Clark
Thirty years ago a woman involved in agriculture looked different than she does today. At that time, she may have been found alongside her husband out in the field, preparing meals at home or being the farm bookkeeper. She was the biggest supporter of her farmer and what he pursued as his career for the livelihood of their family.
Today, women in agriculture are seen in many more roles within the industry. Women are seed and chemical sales representatives, crop insurance agents, agriculture teachers, loan officers, farmers and the list continues. Many of those women live right here in Christian County. Continue reading

Davis family visits Trenton for AgStrong open house, explains canola processing

AgStrong owners and cousins (from left) Mallory and Jessica Davis and Jennifer and Robert Davis came from their hometown in Bowersville, Ga., to the open house of their new canola processing plant in Trenton.  The 23,000 square foot plant has been up and running since December. Photo By Zirconia Alleyne

AgStrong owners and cousins (from left) Mallory and Jessica Davis and Jennifer and Robert Davis came from their hometown in Bowersville, Ga., to the open house of their new canola processing plant in Trenton. The 23,000 square foot plant has been up and running since December. Photo By Zirconia Alleyne

By Toni W. Riley
The word “family” resonates throughout any conversation about Hart AgStrong, an oilseed crushing and refining company that opened a multi-million dollar canola processing plant in Trenton last December.
Robert Davis, the founder and CEO of the company, and Mallory Davis, the project manager, traveled to the Bluegrass from their hometown Bowersville, Ga., with their wives and children in tow for the open house of their new 23,000 square foot facility in March.
Plant manager Mark Dallas led tours of the building for nearly 50 farmers who were curious to learn about canola and its emerging role in the Pennyrile. Continue reading

Gardeners guide for growing spring flowers in containers

By Diane Turner
I come from a long line of flower garden lovers with green thumbs, so naturally I love planting flowers. As a child, I remember the yellow roses and peonies that were scattered around my granny’s front yard. Mammaw loved growing Bleeding Hearts and would collect seeds from her neighbors to grow different flowers, like Four O’Clocks. The most impressive is my aunt and uncle’s garden that has a variety of flowers, vegetables and a Koi pond.
Unlike my family, I tend to grow my gardens in containers. We have many stores in and around Hopkinsville that offer an array of plants and container choices. Continue reading