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Series: A Year on the Farm

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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.

Other Agriculture Specials

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.
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.
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.
Bobbie and Bob Andrews in the barn.
Bobbie and Bob Andrews in the barn.

A Year on the Farm: Winter Doesn't Stop Chores

The North Country used to be a region of dairy farmers. Northern New York has lost hundreds of dairy farms since the 1980s. Still, dairy remains the biggest industry here and the cow remains a potent symbol. But fewer people know what dairy farming is all about. This year, David Sommerstein is going to try to demystify the dairy farm. Every month in 2006, we'll follow life in the barn, on the fields, and in the farmhouse through the changing seasons. In this first edition of A Year on the Farm, David takes us to the Andrews farm in the town of Fowler, outside Gouverneur, for the basic chores that go on year-round - milking, feeding, and bedding.  Go to full article
Bob Andrews tends his herd with a smile.

A Year on the Farm: No Calves, No Milk

It's the time of year when calf pens pop up across the North Country landscape. It's easy to forget that making milk is really about making baby cows. They don't call it "animal husbandry" for nothing. David Sommerstein's doing a year of stories on the ins and outs of life on a dairy farm. Today, dry and freshened cows, calving, and the reproductive business of a dairy farm.  Go to full article
Bob Andrews on his farm.

A Year on the Farm: It's Management, Dummy

Spend time around a dairy farm, and you'll learn a lot about the farmer who owns it. Some barnyards are muddy and chaotic, others immaculate and organized. Some farmers get obsessed with grazing, or breeding perfect heifers, or using bugs to fight disease on their fields. Some love big tractors, others hate 'em. David Sommerstein's doing a year of stories on everyday dairy farming with Bob Andrews, who farms near Gouverneur. Bob's a manager.  Go to full article
Bob Andrews and his furrowed fields in Fowler.

A Year on the Farm: Plowing in Between the Rocks

When you drive across the North Country at this time of year, you'll see some farm fields already green with shoots. Others are deep brown and ready for seeding. Some...  Go to full article
Bob Andrews

A Year on the Farm: Hay is for haylage

Everywhere you look this time of year, you see miles and miles of hay. Hay in round bales, square bales, wrapped in white plastic, lined in long strips across fields, piled...  Go to full article
Bob's more than six feet tall, so the corn really is high...

A Year on the Farm: The sound of corn growing

This year, David Sommerstein's spending time each month on one dairy farm to learn more about what farmers do every day. The series is called A Year on the Farm. Our...  Go to full article
Bob Andrews and his silos, topped off for winter.

A Year on the Farm: batten down the hatches

This year, David Sommerstein's been sending monthly audio postcards from Bob Andrews' 80-cow dairy farm near Gouverneur. At this time of year, farmers are in high gear to...  Go to full article
Bob Andrews, new grandfather, on his new feeding pad.

A Year on the Farm: life and death (and life)

Farming is, really, the story of the life cycle. Planting and harvesting. Calving and slaughtering. Barns are raised. Some eventually fall back to the earth. David...  Go to full article
Diane Andrews prepares for the afternoon milking in the milk house.

A Year on the Farm: Going Out Quietly?

As the year comes to an end, so does our series A Year on the Farm. David Sommerstein's been sending regular postcards from Bob Andrews 80-cow dairy near Gouverneur in St....  Go to full article
Bob Andrews and his corn harvester.

A Year on the Farm, revisited: the harvest, finally

Two years ago, David Sommerstein spent a year reporting from Bob Andrews' dairy farm in St. Lawrence County. He wanted to learn what farmers did day-to-day, month-to-month. ...  Go to full article

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