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The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been heavily promoting its organic programs lately, particularly its increased support for organic farming in the new farm bill: "Consumer demand for organic products has grown exponentially over the past...
As we've reported for quite a while here at NCPR, the Champlain Valley has become a hotspot in the North Country for young farmers trying to forge a new path for agriculture. The Adirondack Explorer traces the roots and future possibilities of that...
From somewhere between the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s no one in my family or circle of friends bought grapes. Why? Cesar Chavez. The United Farm Workers co-founder was successful in using a boycott of grapes to raise the national consciousness about...
Happy National Agriculture Day! You can write an essay about agriculture (theme: "365 days and 7 billion mouths to feed"), plan a get-together, or scroll through hundreds of "felfies" – farmer selfies. But definitely look at these portraits....
Ask any grower and they'll tell you that producing food is one challenge – selling it is another. Sure, there's a boom going for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) distribution models and the farmer's market scene feels stronger all the...


Agriculture
Apr 3, 2014 — A dispute between Beaver State blueberry farmers and workers spurred Congress to change an obscure provision in a 1938 labor law. Some fear it will delay pickers' paychecks.
Apr 2, 2014 — Karl Sutton belongs to a farmers co-op in Montana where member-owners share costs and revenue. A health insurance co-op appeals to him, too — but can the model grow beyond its niche market?
Mar 7, 2014 — Six state attorneys general are suing California over its law on how hens are housed. Among those most worried: Pig farmers who fear the state will push through sweeping changes on pig stalls next.
Mar 5, 2014 — The storms that drenched California recently did little to combat one of the state's worst droughts in a century. Farmers in California's Central Valley say they need "Biblical proportions" of rain.
Mar 3, 2014 — The court's decision means the Dallas suburb of Farmers Branch, which has spent millions defending laws that make it illegal to rent to undocumented immigrants, has reached the end of this legal road.
 

Special Reports

Audio Series
Farm to Farm, Family to Family: David Sommerstein travels with NC dairy farmers to a Mexican village many of their migrant workers call home.
Audio Series
A Year on the Farm
In this monthly feature series, David Sommerstein follows life in the barn, on the fields, and in the farmhouse through the changing seasons on the Andrews dairy farm near Gouverneur NY. This series won the 2006 "Cap" Creal Journalism Award from the New York Agricultural Society.
Audio Series
Hispanic Workers on North Country Farms
Five years ago, just a handful of farmers in the North Country employed Hispanic workers. Now many use workers from Latin America. The transition can be a bumpy one, for farmers and for the people they hire. David Sommerstein tells their stories in this ongoing series.
Beekeeper
Audio Slideshow:
Beekeepers facing new challenges
Lucy Martin visits with Ontario beekeeper Terry McEvoy and talks about colony collapse disorder and other apiary ailments that raise concerns about the food supply.
Audio Slideshow
Sights & Sounds of the Dairy Princess Parade
We go to the sidelines of one of the big events on the annual dairy calendar, the St. Lawrence County Dairy Princess Parade in Canton. Fire engines, tractors, and floats rolled down Main Street on Saturday.
Audio Series
Diversifying North Country Farms
NCPR reporter David Sommestein's series on diversifying North Country farming won the 2003 “Cap” Creal Journalism Award from the New York State Agricultural Society.
Photo Audio Essay
Dairy Farming in the North Country
The time seemed right to look at the challenges facing dairy in the North Country. In part 1 we look at the price of milk, as seen through the eyes of one mid-size dairy farmer. In part 2 we visit a cheese manufacturer proposing drastic changes in the way North Country farmers do business. David Sommerstein reports.
Audio Slideshow
A Barn-Raising in Upper Jay (Real 6:23)
These days, most new barns are built quickly with steel frames and sheet-metal siding. But some landowners are taking a little more time, using methods and materials passed down over hundreds of years.
Photo Audio Essay
Saving New York's Historic Barns
Some of New York's oldest barns are getting facelifts. Todd Moe visited a Canton family's 1820 English threshing barn slated for restoration.
Brett McLeod over the evaporator. Photo: Sarah Harris
Brett McLeod over the evaporator. Photo: Sarah Harris

Too cold? Too warm? Hitting the sweet spot for maple

Continuing deep cold through the end of March had maple producers worrying if they'd have a season at all this year.

But remember two years ago, when it felt like we barely had a winter? Maple syrup producers struggled then, too, because it wasn't cold enough.

That year, Sarah Harris went to an usually warm Adirondack "boil" (click "listen" to hear the sounds of the boil.)  Go to full article
Inside, the growing season starts simply and peacefully enough, with Dan Kent seeding celeriac, shallots, and onion, and Megan starting flowers like delphinium and cosmos. It's snowy and sleeting outside, but pretty cozy in the greenhouse. "It's not bad work, honestly," says Dan. Photo: David Sommerstein

"We struggle early, finish strong": Lessons learned on a Lisbon farm

With highs in the 40s all week, it looks like the weather has finally broken. It's springtime in the North Country. But it could still be weeks before the soil is warm enough to plant crops. Farmers are starting seeds now. They're planning. And they're worrying.

All this year, David Sommerstein is sending monthly stories from one organic vegetable farm, Kent Family Growers in St. Lawrence County. He'll follow the seasons, the crops, the labor, and the business of making a living being an "eat local" farmer. This time of year, all the action's in the greenhouse.  Go to full article

Listen: Vermont's Pete Sutherland makes rural music, with kids

Just in time for the growing season, a new album filled with songs about gardening and rural life. Vermont folk singer/songwriter Pete Sutherland is best known as a member of the Clayfoot Strutters and Pete's Posse, and collaborating with young musicians at schools across northern Vermont. For years, Sutherland has been an artist-in-residence in schools, sharing old and new ballads and helping students shape family and community stories into songs. He'll lead a group of young Vermont musicians on an exchange trip to Northumberland, England, later this month.

Todd Moe talks with Pete about his latest album, "Farmland", which includes ten favorites from his collection of music created with the help of two youth advocacy organizations, the Young Vermont Singers and Young Tradition Vermont.  Go to full article
The grounds of the Psychiatric Center in Ogdensburg. Photo: Lizette Haenel.

Young farmers, Ogdensburg get help in state budget

State Senator Patty Ritchie says the new state budget will help young farmers just getting started. The deal includes one million dollars for grants to help beginning farmers...  Go to full article
Human Trafficking in Our Backyard. Poster: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/74442773@N03/7418920888/<br />">John Eng Cheng, Inheritance Magazine</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Four kinds of human trafficking in the North Country

More than 40 agencies across the North Country are coming together to fight some of the darkest underground crimes. The North Country Human Trafficking task force says...  Go to full article
Photo: David Sommerstein

Finally, a sign of spring: Maple Weekend is here

Looking for that real sign of spring? Don't look out the window. New York's first crop of 2014 is coming in. The sugar shanties will be going full bore this weekend for the...  Go to full article
The tap...

Listen: In Canton, tapping trees for syrup

The immediate forecast isn't ideal for making maple syrup, but it's coming: that combination of cold nights, warm days and sunshine. Chickadees get busy, and the sap rises....  Go to full article
Garden crop rotation can maintian soil fertility, reduce disease and increase yields. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/57217144@N00/476016841/">Annie and John</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Why rotate crops in your backyard garden?

Just like big farms, the backyard garden can benefit from rotating vegetable crops. Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticulturist Amy Ivy says small-scale crop rotation can...  Go to full article
Photo: Sarah Harris

NYS government sows seeds to boost farming economy

It seems like state leaders are sowing acres of ideas these days to boost New York's farming economy. This week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the creation of New York's first...  Go to full article
Root crops at the Glens Falls Farmers Market. Archive Photo of the Day: Stuart Delman, Chestertown NY.

NYS wants to make farmers' markets more accessible

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York state wants to make farmers' markets more accessible to low-income consumers.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state will make $130,000 in...  Go to full article

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