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Central Kentucky farmers discuss early bloom period, climate fluctuations


Central Kentucky farmers are seeing an early bloom period for this season’s crops. But that also comes with concern about climate fluctuation.

Farmers say the warmer weather has some benefits. It’s much needed after a hay shortage last year, and allows for their pastures to grow and make up the difference.

“We were so dry last fall that we went into winter with short grass, and hay supplies were short throughout the state,” said Mac Stone, farmer at Elmwood Stock Farm in Georgetown. “So the early greening of the grass has been beneficial for me, in particular, my sheep flock.”

But there’s also an expectation of more cold snaps in the coming months. Those fast shifts to freezing temperatures mean a lot of early blooming crops could end up dying out.

“A lot of people are gonna get excited about getting their garden started early this year,” Stone said. “But I urge you to hold off because we are going to have these cold spells that are going to bite anything that's tender.”

Ben Pasley is the CEO of Mt. Folly Enterprises, which operates Mt. Folly Farm in Winchester. He says he’s worried the warmer weather is indicative of a wider “climate pendulum.”

“It's so much more inconsistent on a day to day basis – week to week basis, even – that we have to be more prepared for these huge swings in temperature, and the rain forecast and what that means,” Pasley said.

In the meantime, farmers are keeping a close eye on the forecast and taking advantage of the warm weather to feed livestock. Stone says cold snaps are expected to end and most planting will begin in late April.

Shepherd joined WEKU in June 2023 as a staff reporter. He most recently worked for West Virginia Public Broadcasting as General Assignment Reporter. In that role, he collected interviews and captured photos in the northern region of West Virginia. Shepherd holds a master’s degree in Digital Marketing Communication and a bachelor’s in music from West Virginia University.
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