Some Kentucky farmers
want to grow kenaf
RUSSELLVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Some farmers in south-central Kentucky are trying to grow a new crop this year called kenaf.
The Daily News reports about 20 farmers in and near Logan County gathered recently at the Logan County Courthouse in Russellville to learn how kenaf can be used as silage for farm animals, a component in goods such as twine and a potential source of energy.
Jess Riggins of Adairville said she is planting 28 acres of kenaf on her farm this spring. She says most will be used for animal feed, but she is reserving an acre for use in products.
Martin Smith, CEO of United Global Co-Opportunities, said there’s been an increased demand for information about kenaf since it was mentioned during a hearing about hemp during the recent legislative session.
Riggins, who is the Co-Op leader in Logan County for United Global Co-Opportunities, says she wants to create a plant that produces products such as twine out of kenaf at an old mill in Adairville.
“Initially, all it is getting the farmer to grow the crop, and then it just falls into place like a puzzle,” she said.
Riggins said new technology that allows heat and energy to be produced by kenaf means farmers may eventually be able to form an energy cooperative.
“We’ll be a community that’s able to stabilize itself,” she said.
Smith said kenaf has the potential to bring in profit from a variety of uses.
“This crop is going to inspire that next generation, in my opinion, to get interested in farming,” Smith said.
After the presentation, John Barnes of Adairville said he plans to grow about 3 acres of kenaf on his farm.
Michigan farm to pay $10,000
to settle migrant worker case
DOWAGIAC, Mich. (AP) — A southwestern Michigan farm has agreed to pay about $10,000 and build new housing to settle a lawsuit over conditions for migrant workers. Grand Rapids federal Judge Janet Neff approved the deal this week between the U.S. Labor Department and Berrybrook Farms. The farm is based in Cass County but also has labor camps in Van Buren County.
The government had accused Berrybrook of failing to meet a number of conditions, including adequate water, screens and rodent control. Any new housing would be phased in over a few years starting in 2013. Some existing housing can be used if it meets state standards.
Berrybrook must assign someone to conduct weekly housing inspections. Those reports must be available to the state.
Iowa Senate OKs bill making
it easier to downsize farm
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Senate has approved a bill that would make it easier for livestock producers to downsize, drawing criticism from environmentalists who say the measure could mean those farms would avoid environmental oversight.
In a 43-6 vote on Wednesday, the Senate approved legislation that would allow some livestock producers to close barns and be reclassified as small operations. Then they no would longer need to file plans for manure disposal with the state.
Sen. Joe Seng, a Democrat from Davenport, says the bill will help farmers who want to temporarily shutter some operations. Seng amended the legislation to require producers who want to store manure in idled barns to seek permission.
A version of this bill received House approval. The amended bill will return to the House for review.
Judge dismisses undercover
filming case in Utah
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ A judge has dismissed a case against a Utah woman charged under a new state law prohibiting undercover filming on agricultural property.
Draper prosecutors charged 25-year-old Amy Meyer in February with one misdemeanor charge of agricultural operation interference.
Meyer had pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Meyer’s attorney Stewart Gollan says in February his client filmed operations of a meat packing company in Draper while standing on public property.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports prosecutors moved to drop the case after seeing video from Meyer showing she was on public property at least part of the time while filming.
Utah courts spokeswoman Nancy Volmer tells the Deseret News that Meyer was the first person to be charged under the law.
Kentucky is home
to 2 million head of cattle
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky is home to 2 million head of cattle, grazing on pastures across the state and generating more than $600 million a year in income for farmers at last count.
Gov. Steve Beshear is bragging about those numbers, calling on Kentuckians to salute the state’s beef farmers.
Thousands of Kentuckians – including feed manufacturers, equipment dealers and food marketers – earn their livings by helping to bring beef from the pasture to the plate.
Kentucky has long been one of the largest beef producers east of the Mississippi River. Beshear said beef is among the top five agricultural commodities produced in Kentucky.
Michigan train derailment
leaves a mess of corn
SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) — The derailment of train cars hauling corn left a big mess in one Michigan community.
The Saginaw News reports the two train cars from the Lake State Railway tipped over Wednesday near the border between Saginaw and Saginaw Township, about 85 miles northwest of Detroit.
No injuries were reported.
Kim Browning lives near the train tracks and captured video footage of the cars tipping over and corn spilling along the side of the tracks.
She says “you could see the wheels tilting” and then she knew the cars would leave the tracks.
Police, fire and railway officials all responded. The stopped train blocked traffic on area roadways.