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Tony Silvernail with a handful of crumbled hemp, on his farm near Frankfort, Kentucky.

Hemp Farmers Form Cooperatives Amid Growth And Uncertainty

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Tony Silvernail swings a heavy machete at a stalk of bushy hemp and chops the plant near the root, grabbing the five-foot-tall shoot with his sun-weathered hand. It’s an unusually hot October day on his farm, Beyond The Bridge LLC, tucked in the hills outside of Frankfort, Kentucky. But the heat doesn’t faze Silvernail, sporting… Read More

Western KY farmer Tom Folz fears a prolonged trade war could push some farmers out of business.

Farmer Fatigue: Farmers Grow Weary Of Trade War, But Most Stick With Trump

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Tom Folz drives around on a sunny, August afternoon and surveys the thousands of acres of dark green, leafy soybean plants and tall stalks of corn he grows on his sprawling farm in Christian County, Kentucky. At 54, Folz has wispy, white hair matching his white mustache. It’s taken him several long work weeks to… Read More

Power Plant: How A Grass Might Generate Fuel And Help Fix Damaged Mine Lands

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Down bumpy back roads deep in central West Virginia, a flat, bright green pasture opens up among the rolling hills of coffee-colored trees. Wildflowers and butterflies dot the pasture, but West Virginia University Professor Jeff Skousen is here for something else that stands above the rest of the Appalachian scenery – literally. Thick stalks of… Read More

How A Proposed SNAP Eligibility Revision Could Affect Ohio Valley Recipients

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week a proposal to tighten the rules on who qualifies for food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). USDA estimates more than three million people across the country would lose SNAP benefits in an effort to prevent fraud. Anti-hunger advocates in the Ohio Valley say the more than… Read More

Watershed Moment: “Ephemeral” Streams Debate Could Reshape Ohio Valley Waterways

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West Liberty University Professor Zachary Loughman has dedicated his professional life to crustaceans – specifically freshwater crayfish. He dips his hand into one of the water tanks at his laboratory near Wheeling, West Virginia, to pick up a teal crayfish the size of a dollar bill. “See the little guy dropping down? We caught mom… Read More

Farmers, Economists See More Economic Pain From Trump’s Increased Tariffs

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Ohio Valley farmers say the latest tariff escalation between the Trump administration and China could continue to hurt their businesses, with many farmers already facing financial struggles. As Chinese officials visit Washington, D.C., for more trade talks, the Trump administration announced this week increased tariffs, planned to go into effect Friday, on $200 billion dollars worth of Chinese… Read More

Colten Polyniak with hemp

CBD Uncertainty: Sales Soar But Science Lags On Hemp Health Effects

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Inside the Bluegrass Hemp Oil store in Lexington, Kentucky, the CBD oils and lotions lining the walls have an origin story — a story of a family’s struggle. “We took a huge risk, to be perfectly honest, because we didn’t know. We weren’t trying other people’s CBD products that were out there,” Bluegrass Hemp Oil… Read More

As Some Midwest Farmers Struggle With Historic Flooding, Ohio Valley Ethanol Producers See Profit Boost

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Mick Henderson runs the Commonwealth Agri-Energy ethanol plant in west Kentucky. He said the past year for U.S. ethanol producers, including in the Ohio Valley, has been rough. “We’ve just passed our 15th anniversary just now, and this is going to be one of our weakest years,” Henderson said. Ethanol prices have been down the… Read More

Distress Grows For Ohio Valley Farmers As Trade Deals Stall

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West Kentucky Farmer Barry Alexander doesn’t have an answer on when the Trump administration will reach a trade deal with China, now a year into tariffs that have hamstrung some Ohio Valley industries. Alexander is optimistic these continued negotiations will be worth it, but his plan in the meantime lies in massive, silver storage bins on Cundiff… Read More

Rural Broadband Funding Could Connect More Ohio Valley Communities To High-Speed Internet

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Vivian Livingood is the mayor of Gilbert, a southern West Virginia  town of under 500 people that has struggled for years without reliable internet. Livingood said that hampers Gilbert’s tourism, businesses and schools. “We get kicked off the internet here every two minutes, and that’s if we can afford the internet,” Livingood said. “And it’s… Read More