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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:...

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.
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.
The food council and people who addressed it hope to draw more consumers to places like the pavilion at the Watertown farmers market. Photo: Joanna Richards
The food council and people who addressed it hope to draw more consumers to places like the pavilion at the Watertown farmers market. Photo: Joanna Richards

In the quest for local food, plenty of roadblocks

A state panel that reports to Governor Cuomo on the obstacles to getting healthy food on people's plates met in Potsdam Wednesday. The New York State Council on Food Policy held one of four listening sessions it's organizing around the state this year.

Farm and food leaders told the council tough obstacles are slowing down the farm-to-table movement in the rural North Country.  Go to full article
Photo: David Sommerstein

NY dairy farms will get surprise inspections from OSHA

Workplace safety rules are about to get a little stricter on New York dairy farms. There's an ongoing, national debate about workplace safety on farms, which are exempt from many federal regulations.

In 2012, the Department of Labor proposed rules that would protect children from the most dangerous farm tasks. The Labor Department ended up withdrawing that proposal. About a year later, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, announced plans for a program of surprise inspections for New York dairies. The random visits are set to begin in July, in response to an alarming trend of frequent accidents in the industry.  Go to full article
Photo: <a href=""/>Dan Davison</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

How do farmers feed the world in the 21st century?

By 2050, the planet will be supporting an estimated nine billion people. That number is from The Miner Institute, an agricultural research center in Chazy. Here's another: food production will have to rise 70 percent if all those people are to have enough to eat. But increased production won't be the only measure of success. All that food will have to be raised without degrading the environment.

Dr. John Bramley is a researcher and educator. He was president of the University of Vermont, as well as director of Vermont's agricultural experiment station. He'll talk about the challenges of feeding the world at the Miner Institute tonight. Martha Foley talked with Bramley this week.  Go to full article

New York top yogurt producer in US for second year

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Call it the yogurt empire state.

For the second year in a row, New York has been named the top yogurt producer in the United States.  Go to full article

Ontario event to honor migrant workers

An event is being planned to help and honor thousands of migrant workers who travel to Niagara each year for work. The workers from Mexico, Jamaica, Central America and the...  Go to full article
Papayas in Hawaii have been genetically engineered to resist the ringspot virus. Photo: <a href="">USDA</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Big agribusiness fights GMO labeling in New York

Advocates of labeling genetically modified crops (GMOs, or genetically modified organisms) recently made some progress in New York State. Last week, a labeling bill moved...  Go to full article
Farmland in the Hudson Valley. Photo: <a href="">June Marie</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

NY makes $20.5M available to keep farmland

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York officials say they are making $20.5 million available to help maintain farmland and prevent its conversion to non-agricultural uses.
...  Go to full article
Photo: <a href="">WILPF</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

New York is on the path to labeling GMOs, too

Today, Vermont will become the first state to enact a GMO labeling law. Many people want New York to follow suit. Foods with GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, are...  Go to full article
Sow with piglets at the New York State Fair last year. Photo: <a href="">Doug Kerr</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

New York fair suspending piglets and sows exhibit

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) The state department of agriculture and markets has decided to suspend the sows and piglets exhibit and competition at the New York State Fair this...  Go to full article
Corn field. Photo: <a href="">Rastoney</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

What you need to know about Vermont's GMO bill

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin plans to sign the nation's first GMO labeling bill into law this week. Sarah Harris spoke with Laurie Beyranevand, associate director of the Center...  Go to full article

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