When the U.S. outlawed alcohol during Prohibition, Kentucky farmers stopped growing rye, a key ingredient in one of Kentucky’s most iconic products—bourbon. As agricultural research compelled farmers to explore the benefits of cover crops, American Farmland Trust (AFT) detected an opportunity to revive rye. AFT launched the Kentucky Commercial Rye Cover Crop Initiative to capitalize on the synergy between Kentucky farmers, the state’s bourbon industry, and the quest to slow the impact of climate change.
This episode of No Farms No Future will introduce you to farmer Sam Halcomb and AFT’s Billy Van Pelt and Scott Franklin. They are three of the many collaborators in the Bluegrass State—including leaders from the distilling industry, University of Kentucky, and many other farmers—who are powering the effort to put Kentucky rye back into the world’s best bourbon.
No Farms No Future is a podcast created through a collaboration between Heritage Radio Network, American Farmland Trust, and The Food Voice.
Walnut Grove Farms
AFT’s Kentucky Rye Project
University Kentucky Department of Plant and Soil Sciences
Kentucky Grain Growers Association
To learn more about American Farmland Trust go to farmland.org.
Episode photo by Shawn Linehan
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