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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:...
Let’s start with this: I own several long guns, no hand guns. I think this is pretty typical for farm dwellers across the region. Since NYS passed new gun control legislation, the so-called SAFE Act, there’s been a lot of heated debate...


Agriculture
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.
May 24, 2014 — Urban farmers are experimenting with growing food right near or even inside the grocery store. But it's not yet clear whether customers will value that degree of freshness over other options.
May 18, 2014 — The Asian citrus psyllid is a tiny bug that spreads a devastating tree disease. Pesticides can't always control it, so California farmers have turned to a different solution: another bug.
 

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.

Kraft Shutdown Later, Then Ripples

When Kraft ceases cheese production in Canton, the economic effects will be significant, but not bad enough to force many farmers out of business. That's according to Chuck Nicholson, a senior research associate at Cornell University. He prepared a computer model of a Kraft shutdown based on national markets. It predicts a drop in milk prices, the lowest in St. Lawrence County, with ripples felt throughout the Northeast. Speaking with David Sommerstein, Nicholson estimates the average dairy farm could lose up to $12,000. New York could lose $18 million statewide.  Go to full article

Officials Look at Future of Canton Kraft Plant

A local task force met for the second time yesterday since Kraft announced that it would close its Canton operations at the end of June. These meetings are a way to hash out potential ideas for the future of the Kraft plant, which has a long history of cheese-making in St. Lawrence County. Jody Tosti was at the meeting where officials, including Congressman John McHugh and Assemblyman Darrel Aubertine heard about what could be the next chapter in the plant's long story in the North Country.  Go to full article
George Good encourages an ewe to come to her twin lambs.

The Fading Custom of Spring Lambing

Even if you didn't grow up on a farm... springtime seems to bring with it thoughts of baby chicks and spring lambs. Maybe it was those cardboard cutouts on the bulletin board in grade school. But it's not as common to find sheep on the farm today. Farming is different. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium's Lester Graham found some spring lambs, and a man who still thinks sheep have a place on the farm.  Go to full article
Ken Hill in his Atlasta Farms "office" in Lisbon

Redefining North Country Agriculture

There's a big change underway in North Country agriculture. The number of dairy farms has plummeted since the 1990s. Most of the victims are mid-size family operations. ...  Go to full article

What's the Future for Farm Markets?

As we heard in David Sommerstein's story, there's optimism in a new kind of farm in the North Country. The biggest challenge all farms face to survive is the same, though,...  Go to full article

Sugar Season is On, but Acid Rain Takes Toll on Trees

Around the North Country, sugar houses are in high gear, boiling maple sap into syrup. The spring harvest is big business in this part of the world, but it's also a part of...  Go to full article

Canton Eyes Agri-Business Zones

Two economic development programs to help agriculture in New York are moving forward. Facing the closure of the Kraft cheese plant this summer, the town of Canton is trying...  Go to full article

Trash Burning Can Threaten Human Health

For most of us, getting rid of the garbage is as simple as setting it at the curb. But not everyone can get garbage pick-up. So, instead, they burn their trash. The Great...  Go to full article

Clinton: Spreading the "Made in NY" Message

David Sommerstein talks with Senator Hillary Clinton about the challenges -- and promise -- of marketing New York farm products in New York City, as well as filling the...  Go to full article

NY Farmers Await More Details on Dairy Trade Pact

Dairy farmers are still awaiting the details of a free trade pact signd last month between the United States and Australia. Australia is the world's third largest dairy...  Go to full article

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