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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.
Image: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County
Image: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County

Speed dating to bring fresh food to the table

You may have heard of "speed dating." It's a no-nonsense, fast, and fun way to meet a bunch of people and maybe find that certain someone. People sit across from one another, chat for five minutes, and see if there's a spark. Then they move on to the next potential match.

Farmers and chefs are searching for "eat local" love today in Watertown. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County is hosting a speed dating event at Jefferson Community College. The goal is to get more restaurants to put more local fruits and vegetables on their menus.  Go to full article
The byproduct of all these kegs of St. Lawrence Brewery beer has to go somewhere. Photo: David Sommerstein

Brewers raise a glass to revised spent grains plan

Beer makers across the country are raising a glass, as the Food and Drug Administration is backing away from a plan to restrict what brewers do with beer's main byproduct.  Go to full article
Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/50546088@N00/7212923168/">Chris Barker</a>, Creative Commons, Some rights reserved.

Chobani secures $750M investment from TPG

NEW BERLIN, N.Y. (AP) Greek yogurt maker Chobani has secured a $750 million investment from investment firm TPG Capital to help fund its growth.

The privately-held food company said Wednesday that as part of the deal, TPG will have representation on the company's board. Additionally, Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya will serve as its chairman.  Go to full article
Spent Grain Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/span112/2306070622">Kelly Teague</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Schumer calls on FDA to drop spent grain proposal

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) Sen. Charles Schumer will be at a western New York brewery to call on the federal government to drop a proposal that has the nation's craft beer brewers...  Go to full article
A farm in Pefferlaw, Ontario. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/wdwbarber/2943933431/">Bill Barber</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Ontario farmland continues to soar in value

There has been another healthy increase in the value of Ontario farmland.

Farm Credit Canada's "Farmland Values Report" says the average value of farmland in the...  Go to full article
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...  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...  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...  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

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