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Each week it gets better and better. Lilies and daisies, beans and peppers. There is so much variety in the gardens of our region. Your growing techniques range from precise, vigorous vegetable gardens to slightly wild and whimsical flower beds,...
  From my garden perch in DeKalb, and from looking through all of the photos you’ve been sending in, it appears that we’re having a banner growing year. Good mix of rain and sunshine. Of course, there are bugs and deer to challenge...
So why didn’t the zucchini cross the road? He didn’t want to become squash! Yes, indeed it’s time for squash jokes. Calabacin, cousa, courgette, cymling, cuccuzza, curcubita pepo, scallop, vegetable marrow, butterbar, crookneck,...
  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...


Agriculture
Aug 13, 2014 — Projections suggest that climate change will hurt agriculture in most parts of the world. But some areas of the U.S. could actually see a benefit as corn production moves farther north.
Aug 12, 2014 — Studies warn that climate change will threaten corn production in coming decades. Meanwhile, farmers are experimenting with new planting methods in hopes of slowing soil erosion from torrential rains.
Aug 8, 2014 — Ohio farmers say they are not the only ones to blame for Toledo's polluted drinking water. They say they are using only as much fertilizer as they need to grow their crops.
Aug 6, 2014 — The most contentious issue in Tuesday's Missouri primary was the "right to farm" amendment. It is meant to protect farmers and ranchers from state laws that would change or outlaw current practices.
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.
 

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.
Some of the 19th century graffiti on the walls of the schoolhouse under restoration in Madrid, NY.  Photo: Todd Moe
Some of the 19th century graffiti on the walls of the schoolhouse under restoration in Madrid, NY. Photo: Todd Moe

Madrid: If old schoolhouse walls could talk

Traditional farming will be on display in Madrid this weekend. Antique farm implements, an old sawmill, draft horses and steam power are all part of the annual Antique Gas and Steam Engine Exhibition at the St. Lawrence Power and Equipment Museum in Madrid. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the museum's campus on the former Goolden-Mann farm.

Originally the St. Lawrence Gas and Steam Association back in 1976, the Power and Equipment Museum was formed in 2004 with a mission of preserving the history of the machines and engines that helped shape life in the North Country.
The museum includes more than 28,000 square feet of covered space for storage, collections and exhibitions, including a new building dedicated to restoring and exhibiting antique tractors.

Todd Moe caught up with one of the museum's longtime trustees, Roger Austin, for a tour of a 19th century schoolhouse that used to stand just north of Watertown. It was sold to the museum by the Indian River school district, disassembled and moved to Madrid. Built in 1850, it's the museum's oldest, new acquisition. Volunteers are busy this summer replacing the school's floorboards, windows and shingled roof. Visitors will be allowed to walk through the partially renovated structure this weekend. Austin says the goal is to have the old school fully restored -- including the original student graffiti -- by Labor Day.  Go to full article
Ubu Ale: an artisan brew from Lake Placid Craft Brewing. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/sabine01/3875859563/">Tricia G.</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

NY announces boost for hops research, wine tasting

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York is giving sales tax exemptions for winery tastings and funding for hops and malting barley research.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday $350,000 will be dedicated to research on key brewing ingredients to help specialists understand different varieties that work best for the state's agriculture.  Go to full article
Corn field. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/planmygreen/2675568751/">Rastoney</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

New York is central in genetically modified-food label debate

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Agricultural, food and beverage companies are spending millions of dollars to defeat legislation to require labels on food containing genetically modified crops in New York, highlighting the state's pivotal role in debates about what Americans should know about the products they consume.

Supporters argue people should know if food contains GMO ingredients. Opponents say GMOs are safe and that labels will increase prices while unnecessarily frightening consumers.  Go to full article
A driverless tractor. Photo: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driverless_tractor#mediaviewer/File:Case_IH_745_XL,_Claas-M%C3%A4hdrescher.jpg">Lifetec18</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Robots are coming to North Country farms

A Potsdam-based startup company called Agbotic is working on machines that can till soil, plant seeds, and even kill pests without a human operator. The company plans on...  Go to full article
The 2014 Dairy Princess Jennifer King and her court. Photo: Natalie Dignam

What dairy princesses love about their work

People from all over St. Lawrence County gathered in Canton last weekend to celebrate the 50th annual Dairy Festival.

On Saturday, the village park filled up with...  Go to full article
Governor Cuomo at the new Taste NY store. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/14382217604/">Office of the Governor</a>

Cuomo cuts ribbon on new Taste NY Market

LAGRANGE, N.Y. (AP) There's a new market on the Taconic State Parkway that features products from around the state.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited the new Taste NY...  Go to full article
Some of the action at Friday night's Dairy Princess block dance. Photo: Nora Flaherty

Were you at the Dairy Princess block dance? We were!

This year St. Lawrence County celebrated the 50th anniversary of its Dairy Princess tradition. Traditionally, the parade and festival are on Saturday, but by Friday noon...  Go to full article
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...  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...  Go to full article
Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/dannyboymalinga/4876920844"/>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:...  Go to full article

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