John W. McCauley, FSA State Executive Director, reminds Kentucky farmers that the Farm Service Agency (FSA) is modifying its Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) policies to help those affected by sustained drought conditions. Throughout this year of extreme weather, USDA has supported and delivered assistance to farmers, ranchers, and rural communities across the country.
One of the very first insects that I identified as a young gardener was the pine sawfly. We had planted over a hundred white pine seedlings over 30 years ago, and after a decade or so, we started to lose a couple each year to one problem or another.
I was charged with inspection duty. Looking for and plucking bagworms; collecting beetles in jars for identification at the County Extension Service; or closely noting the color, legs and chewing habits of the various caterpillars I encountered.
Corn has been a staple food for centuries. It was first cultivated by Indian peoples in Central America. In fact, the adoption of agriculture and the art of cultivating gave way to the grand cities of the Aztec and Mayans. What would the world be without corn and potatoes, both of which were first cultivated in Central America?
Many people fear snakes, but despite the fright they can cause, the majority of snakes are beneficial. Of the 33 varieties of snakes in Kentucky, only four are venomous (Northern copperhead, Western cottonmouth [water moccasin], timber rattlesnake, and pygmy rattlesnake).
Most snakes you encounter around your home are harmless. If you are scared of them, try to remember that they are useful—they keep the rodent population in check by eating mice, rats, chipmunks and even toads, insects and other pests.
I continue to stand by my belief that my best defense in the garden is me. In the morning, I go out and inspect my garden and smash insects and pick off diseased foliage, careful not to spread it to other plants by my own hand. I watch for the beginning of any abnormality and nip it in the bud. However, sometimes things slide by undetected, plus it is hard to determine bacterial brown spot from mosaic if you are not sure what you are looking for.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced July 25 that applications are being accepted for grants to eligible applicants to help low- and very-low-income rural residents repair their homes.
“These funds help limited-income rural homeowners improve their living conditions,” Vilsack said. “The costs associated with maintaining a home are a challenge for many rural homeowners and the funding we are announcing will be used by awardees to help low and very-low-income residents in rural areas maintain and repair their homes.”