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  Seems to me the weather has been cooperating nicely with gardening goals: a fairly balanced mix of sun and rain. And, it shows in your photographs of gardens from across the region. The collection today takes us from a school garden in Long...
This corn was nicely mounded and will recover from the wind. Last summer, a severe storm drove through my garden when the corn was about 10 days out from picking. We lost some but salvaged 75% by building a stick and rope lattice system down each...
Several converging experiences over the last week got me to thinking about the role predators play in the food chain and even, it turns out, on the shape of our landscape. It began with my hen house, led to the ridge at the top of my hay field, and...
News flash out of Seattle: the minimum wage has just been raised to $15/hour, by far the highest in the country. Indeed, it’s double or more the rate in Arkansas ($6.25) and about half the states,  almost triple the rate in Georgia and...
We’ve all seen the various charts floating around the interwebz showing which mega-corporations own which food brands. The one posted below came to me via Alex Hillsberg’s blog post which I highly recommend. The gist of his analysis:...


Agriculture
Jul 31, 2014 — China has been a big and growing market for U.S. corn. But then farmers started planting a kind of genetically engineered corn that's not yet approved in China, and the Chinese government struck back.
Jul 14, 2014 — Some rookie farmers in northern Michigan are growing saskatoon, a shrub that looks like blueberry. They're also experimenting with it in the kitchen — in jams and pies.
Jul 1, 2014 — The University of California, Davis is the source of most commercial strawberries. Now, the university's strawberry breeders are going into business for themselves, and farmers are worried.
Jun 20, 2014 — Breweries have been providing farmers with free or discounted grain to feed their animals for centuries. But a proposed FDA rule intended to make food safer could disrupt that relationship.
Jun 9, 2014 — Water is scarce in California, and prices are all over the map. Some farmers are paying almost 100 times more than others. Should water flow to the highest bidder?
 

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.
Tirza Smith, of the Whitten Family Farm, helps a customer outside the Midtown Apartments in Potsdam. Photo by Claire Woodcock.
Tirza Smith, of the Whitten Family Farm, helps a customer outside the Midtown Apartments in Potsdam. Photo by Claire Woodcock.

Mobile farmers market brings produce to you

Farmer's markets and home gardens are bursting with fruits and vegetables. But some people can't make it to the market or have gardens of their own. A new mobile market has teamed up with Garden Share to bring fresh produce right to people's doorsteps.  Go to full article
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack<br />Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/celtico/4789746688/">mikescottnz</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to visit central NY

BRIDGEPORT, N.Y. (AP) Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is headed to central New York to promote the government's new Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund.

Vilsack and Colorado-based Co-Bank CEO Bob Engel will meet Wednesday with leaders in Bridgeport, New York, to discuss the $10 billion private sector fund announced last week by the White House. They'll discuss how this fund can promote local infrastructure upgrades.  Go to full article
Dr. Mara Smith thinks her "Athlete Minder" is a perfect new start-up for Lake Placid.  But she needs investors to move forward.  Photo:  Brian Mann

Can we end the North Country's investment drought?

Today in Washington DC, the Obama administration is hosting a conference designed to convince more investors to back entrepreneurs, start-ups and infrastructure projects in rural America.

As part of that effort, the White House is unveiling a new $10 billion private investment fund aimed at financing more projects in small towns.

That effort follows years of concern from economists and rural policy experts, who say a kind of capital drought is stifling growth in rural areas.

The fear is that even many good ideas aren't getting funded in small town regions like the North Country, because most of the investment dollars are flowing to cities and suburbs.  Go to full article
Root crops at the Glens Falls Farmers Market. Archive Photo of the Day: Stuart Delman, Chestertown NY.

North Country gets $1M agribusiness loan fund

The North Country will get a new one million dollar revolving loan fund to seed agricultural businesses. Empire State Development announced the fund Monday.  Go to full article
Photo: David Sommerstein

Dairy Farmers of America ends price suit for $50M

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- The cooperative Dairy Farmers of America has agreed to pay a total of $50 million to thousands of Northeast dairy farmers to settle antitrust...  Go to full article
Tri-Town Packing co-owner Tom Liberty. Photo: David Sommerstein

Schumer lends help in Tri-Town - USDA dispute

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer says he wants to help a St. Lawrence County slaughterhouse with a dispute with its meat inspectors.  Go to full article
Roger Hastings shears Dolly Llama. Photo: Sarah Harris

Dolly Llama, Daisy, and 14 alpacas get a haircut

Summer means shearing season. All across the North Country, sheep, alpacas, and llamas are getting serious haircuts and losing their winter coats. A couple weeks ago reporter...  Go to full article
Invasive wild parsnip. Avoid contact; avoid a nasty rash. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/dmills727/3644070846/">Douglas Mills</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Beware the invasives; and small strawberries are good too!

Right about now, the roadsides can look more like flower gardens than some gardens do. Wonderful abundant mixes of color, texture, height: all the qualities you look for....  Go to full article

$13.8M in grants to protect soil, water on farms

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) More than 200 farms across New York will be aided by $13.8 million in state grants designed to protect soil and water.

The competitive grants...  Go to full article
One of Tri-Town's products--sausage. Photo: Sarah Harris

Update: Tri-Town in negotiations with USDA

Correction, Friday, 12:00 p.m.: This story previously said that Jeff Liberty was "doubtful that he and his father will be able to convince the USDA...  Go to full article

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