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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 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?
May 29, 2014 — As Oklahoma enters its fourth year of sustained drought, some farmers expect the harvest to be so bad they'll end up calling their insurance agents and declaring this year a total loss. StateImpact Oklahoma's Joe Wertz reports that some are calling this the worst drought since the '50s — or even since the Dust Bowl.
 

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.
Dave Fishel catches up with his former cows.
Dave Fishel catches up with his former cows.

Diversifying the Dairy Industry

The North Country dairy industry is facing some of its bleakest times in memory this summer. Farmers are going deeper into debt and working jobs off the farm. The main culprit for the crisis is a year and a half of extremely low milk prices. The depressed market has forced many farmers to start spin-off businesses to make ends meet. It's called "diversification" in the industry. In the first of a two part series on diversifying farms in the North Country, David Sommerstein reports the opportunities and pitfalls are many.  Go to full article

Low Milk Prices Take Their Toll

David Sommerstein talks with Judy Aldrich, chair of the St. Lawrence County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board, about factors contributing to the struggling dairy industry. She says the problems began in 2000 and 2001, when milk prices were high, even though dairy production was growing dramatically.  Go to full article

Low Sperm Count Linked to Pesticides?

A study last year found that men living in rural areas have lower sperm counts than their urban counterparts. Now, researchers say they?ve found a possible reason for the difference. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium?s Chris Lehman has more.  Go to full article

Sights & Sounds of the Dairy Princess Parade

June is National Dairy Month. 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...  Go to full article
Assemblyman Darrel Aubertine

Aubertine Touts Bills to Protect Real Milk

North Country Assemblyman Darrel Aubertine says two bills passed out of committee that he says would protect dairy farmers from powdered milk substitutes called milk protein...  Go to full article

New Ag Program Helps Farmers Cope with Environmental Concerns

New York's agricultural producers are getting some financial help to improve conservation practices on their land. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program, or EQIP, is...  Go to full article
State Senator Jim Wright

Agriculture Bill Passes State Senate

A bill to extend Empire Zone tax credits and incentives to agricultural cooperatives passed in the state Senate Monday. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
Former Sen. George McGovern at Lake Placid forum

A Former Candidate, Now An Activist

A Former Senator and presidential candidate George McGovern appeared at this weekend's gathering of Democratic party hopefuls. McGovern is now an activist and an author,...  Go to full article

Dennis Kucinich Takes on Factory Farms at Lake Placid Forum

Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich hopes to win the Democratic party's progressive wing. His rural policy would focus on battling corporate agriculture. Kucinich says he...  Go to full article

SUNY Canton to Spearhead Biodiesel Plant

SUNY Canton yesterday announced plans to help build a factory in the North Country that turns soybeans, corn, canola, and even used frying oil into fuel. As David...  Go to full article

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