Agriculture News: Tips for starting off the New Year right

By Keenan Bishop, Published:

Here’s a few tips and information that should help make the New Year start off right.

One way to stay informed of what is happening locally and learn of new information is to read this column, another is to receive my monthly newsletter, “Cows & Plows.” It will have a mix of local events, cost-share signups and news from UK and KSU.

Just call the office (695-9035) and ask to be added to the “Ag Database.” If you’re already receiving “Cows & Plows” in the mail but would rather save some paper and postage ask for the electronic version.

Have you visited our website lately? If not you should.

Gil Thurman spends a lot of time maintaining, keeping it fresh and adding more content and links all the time. Check out and see. You can also read the current and past copies of the “Cows & Plows” newsletter here

Interested in cattle?

Join the Franklin County Cattlemen’s Association (FCCA). For $25 you will also become a member of Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association (KCA) as well. For $40 a couple can join together and young adults can join the Junior Cattlemen’s for $10. You’ll get news of local meetings and events and receive the KCA magazine “Cow Country News.” Just drop your check off here at the office, 101 Lakeview Ct., to start the process or mail KCA directly.

And if sheep or goats are your thing, you have resources too. The KY Sheep and Goat Development Office offer lots of info at its website. Visit to find out more.

For even more information at your fingertips, visit the College’s website at Here you can access all the UK publications and plans as well as news and upcoming events. There are also the online calculators for many enterprises and functions (raising tobacco, grain, cattle, fencing, hay, etc, etc). These are at


You should know by now that I can’t talk tips and to-do lists without mentioning testing! If you’re not testing then you’re just guessing. In the long run, tests are cheaper than train wrecks from not knowing what you have or where you’re starting.

If your hay bales are growing grass better than your lawn then my guess is that this hay will not meet the needs of the livestock that it’s fed to. For $10 you can have that lot of hay tested by personnel from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA). They will come out, take samples and then send you the report. That way you’ll know if you should be supplementing.

Their number is 800-248-4628. For silage or other feeds you can have that tested as well but we’ll have to send samples to another lab. Costs a little more (starts at $18 and goes up) but may save you some trouble later.

Soil test, soil test, soil test.

This is probably the simplest and easiest thing you can do. It will also pay for itself many times over. Without knowing what the status of your soil is you may be wasting money by planting and using a general fertilizer. You still get a crop but it may not be as successful if the pH and nutrients are off or limiting. Price is $3 per sample but a pint of soil and few bucks will tell you a lot and save you money or make you money.


Lastly, I know that it can be confusing and frustrating to call one office only to find out that you need to call another so here are a few numbers that get a lot of use.

The Franklin County Extension Office is located at 101 Lakeview Ct., 695-9035.

Next door to us on Lakeview Court is the Franklin County Conservation District and the USDA NRCS (Natural Resources and Conservation Service), 695-5203 ext 3 or visit the website at

For the USDA FSA office you must now go to Versailles. This office used to be next door too but was consolidated. Their number is 1-888-229-9795.

Have left over chemicals that you need to get rid of? Call the Kentucky Department of Agriculture at 1-800-205-6543.

For animal diagnostics contact the UK Veterinarian Diagnostic Lab at 859-253-0571.

For livestock removal contact the County Road Department at 875-8760.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) can be reached at 564-4696 or

The Governor’s Office on Agricultural Policy (GOAP) is 564-4627 or

I hope this information gets you off to a good start for a good 2013!

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