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News stories tagged with "farming"

Brett McLeod over the evaporator. Photo: Sarah Harris
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 we barely had a winter? Maple syrup producers struggled then, too, because it wasn't cold enough.

That year, Sarah Harris went to an usually warm Adirondack "boil" (click "listen" to hear the sounds of the boil.)  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
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 to plant crops. Farmers are starting seeds now. They're planning. And they're worrying.

All this year, David Sommerstein is sending monthly stories from one organic vegetable farm, Kent Family Growers in St. Lawrence County. He'll follow the seasons, the crops, the labor, and the business of making a living being an "eat local" farmer. This time of year, all the action's in the greenhouse.  Go to full article
The grounds of the Psychiatric Center in Ogdensburg. Photo: Lizette Haenel.
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 start or expand an agricultural business.  Go to full article
Photo: David Sommerstein
Photo: David Sommerstein

Finally, a sign of spring: Maple Weekend is here

Looking for that real sign of spring? Don't look out the window. New York's first crop of 2014 is coming in. The sugar shanties will be going full bore this weekend for the state's official Maple Weekend. There are some celebrations around the region and plenty of places to taste the freshest maple syrup.

New York is the country's second biggest producer of the sweet nectar, behind Vermont. Producers will put out more than 2 million taps this spring.

New York's Acting Commissioner of Agriculture Richard Ball spoke with David Sommerstein. He says it's the time to celebrate a tradition and an economic driver.  Go to full article
Megan and Dan Kent, the barrel washer, and squeaky clean celeriac. Photo: David Sommerstein
Megan and Dan Kent, the barrel washer, and squeaky clean celeriac. Photo: David Sommerstein

Lisbon organic farm looks to grow while staying local

Agriculture is changing quickly in New York. Greek yogurt is reshaping the dairy industry. Maple syrup is becoming big business. And microbrewers, distillers, and hop-growers are some of the new stars in the "buy local" movement.

But perhaps the biggest change is the attention to diversified, sometimes organic, fruit, vegetable, and meat growers. The number of farmers markets and CSAs has more than doubled in about five years. Food hubs are popping up across the state to help small farms reach larger markets. And Gov. Andrew Cuomo has promised a first-ever summit to link upstate farmers with New York City consumers. There's never been more attention to the "farm-to-table" movement.

This year, David Sommerstein will make several visits to one organic, diversified farm, Kent Family Growers in St. Lawrence County. He'll follow the seasons, the crops, the labor, and the business of making a living being an "eat local" farmer. Dan and Megan Kent started farming on just five acres of land. A dozen years later, they're priming for big-time growth.  Go to full article
Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30849327@N00/2685012125/">Henry M. Diaz</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Photo: Henry M. Diaz, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Small farms continue to struggle in New York

New York has lost 2 percent of its farms since 2007, 814 in all. That's according to the first glimpse of new agricultural census data released Thursday.

Small farms continue to struggle the most.

New York had 35,538 farms in 2012, when the US Department of Agriculture conducted its census, which it does every five years.  Go to full article
Photo: Julie Grant
Photo: Julie Grant

Farm Bill helps dairy farmers go organic

Going organic offers a higher milk price for dairy farmers. But it's expensive to earn organic certification and learn a whole new mind set for producing milk without chemicals or antibiotics. The new Farm Bill increases funding to help conventional farmers make the transition.

Ellen Abbott reports on one central New York farmer who's happy he made made the switch.  Go to full article
Congressman Bill Owens and farmer Richard Eakins talk about corn storage. Owens voted in favor of the Farm Bill. Photo: Sarah Harris.
Congressman Bill Owens and farmer Richard Eakins talk about corn storage. Owens voted in favor of the Farm Bill. Photo: Sarah Harris.

Farm Bill moves on to Senate

The bipartisan compromise version of the Farm Bill sailed through the House of Representatives yesterday, with 60% of lawmakers voting yes. David Sommerstein reports on the 5 year, $500 billion package.  Go to full article
Photo: USDA, Some rights reserved.
Photo: USDA, Some rights reserved.

What's in the Farm Bill for the North Country?

A revamped Farm Bill could reach the House floor for a vote as early as today. The massive legislation which sets agricultural and nutrition policy for the country has already been scuttled two years in a row. But bipartisan negotiators say they have a $500 billion five-year package that will pass.

David Sommerstein joins Martha Foley to talk about what the Farm Bill would mean for the North Country.  Go to full article
Richard Ball, owner of Schoharie Valley Farms. Photo: NYS Dept. of Agriculture & Markets
Richard Ball, owner of Schoharie Valley Farms. Photo: NYS Dept. of Agriculture & Markets

A vegetable farmer to head dairy-heavy NY agriculture

The people who run New York's department of agriculture and markets tend to have close ties with the state's huge dairy industry. The last commissioner, Cape Vincent's Darrel Aubertine, was a dairy farmer himself.

Governor Cuomo broke that mold when he nominated Schoharie county vegetable farmer, Richard Ball, to be the next agriculture commissioner.

Ball is a poster child for the "locally grown" movement. His roadside stand, the Carrot Barn, sells a full range of vegetables and fruits grown on his farm. It also sells local beef and dairy products, and even has a farm-fresh lunch counter. Ball also sells wholesale to brokers and restaurants in New York City.  Go to full article

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