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News stories tagged with "farming"

Corn ethanol: farmland conservation takes a back seat

Federal farmland conservation program have saved water, soil and wildlife through simple set-asides. That's when farmers get paid to take some cropland out of production. It protects waterways and provides wildlife habitat. It makes sense for the soil, too. But, in the second of our two-part series on ethanol, Julie Grant reports that as demand for corn and soybeans for ethanol production grows, farmland conservation is taking a back seat.  Go to full article

Farmers want migrant workers to have more time in U.S.

Dairy farmers in New York and Vermont are now relying on migrant workers - many here illegally. So farmers are closely watching the debate in Washington over immigration. They're worried that under current proposals fewer migrant workers would come to the region and the few who did would soon have to leave. Bob Hokanson is national affairs coordinator for the New York Farm Bureau. He tells Jonathan Brown that farmers want to hire people through the federal guest worker program. It grants immigrants an H2A visa, but only for a short time.  Go to full article

New Yorkers' views on immigration

The Pew Hispanic Center estimates between 550,000 and 650,000 illegal immigrants live in New York State. Most live in New York City and its suburbs. But a growing number work in agriculture or construction in Upstate New York, including on the North Country's dairy farms. Immigrants have become a part of daily life in largely white, rural communities. Max Pfeffer tracks what New Yorkers think about immigration, both legal and illegal. He's a professor of development sociology at Cornell University. For the last several years, Pfeffer's conducted polls asking whether there should be more or less immigration to the United States. He told David Sommerstein the results are much like the rest of the country: people are split.  Go to full article
Reseacher Steve Long is growing crops in the atmosphere of 2050.
Reseacher Steve Long is growing crops in the atmosphere of 2050.

Climate Change: Will CO2 help farms?

For years, researchers studying the effects of climate change on agriculture have focused on two big issues: the availability of water and the impact of increasing carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere. Carbon dioxide released from our cars and factories is the number one cause of global warming. But scientists have long theorized that more of the gas in the atmosphere could actually help grow bigger plants. New research is challenging that assumption. David Sommerstein went to the breadbasket in Illinois to learn more.  Go to full article
Pete Barney stands next to a patch of winter barley, which  rarely used to grow in the North Country.
Pete Barney stands next to a patch of winter barley, which rarely used to grow in the North Country.

Global warming on the farm: adaptation and risk

The global scientific community has reached consensus - the Earth's climate is getting warmer and humans are a major cause of it. Most of the country is projected to experience milder winters, more hot summer days, and stronger storms. This week we're looking at how global warming will affect the North Country. It's already affecting agriculture, the region's biggest industry. Plants are sprouting sooner. New crops are being sown. But fields are flooding more often. And new pests are taking hold. Farmers who adapt can take advantage of the changes, but the financial risks are great. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
District founder, Clifton Thompson, is presented an award by Bob Andrews.
District founder, Clifton Thompson, is presented an award by Bob Andrews.

A St. Lawrence farm institution celebrates 50th

A foundation stone of conservation in the North Country turns 50 this year. The St. Lawrence County Soil & Water Conservation District celebrated its anniversary with a luncheon at Mullin's restaurant in Gouverneur Monday. From field drainage and tree planting to fish stocking and watershed management, the district is involved in most agricultural and environmental projects in St. Lawrence County. Its history reflects America's, and the North Country's, agrarian roots. David Sommerstein attended Monday's luncheon.  Go to full article

"Poor man's fertilizer"

Spring snow. It effects people in different ways. Some try to see our recent weather in a positive light. And because this is the North Country - where spring snow is just another symptom of the region's famous cold - people have special names for this weather.
North Country Public Radio gave listeners a chance to share some of those names. And that led Jonathan Brown to a series of conversations with people across the region.  Go to full article
Shearing sheep in 1813
Shearing sheep in 1813

Heard up North: Sheep shearing

When shearing a sheep, each stroke of the shearer is called a "blow." That's an important part of today's Heard Up North, from Lake Placid. That's where the North Country School/Camp Treetops' flock of 12 sheep met their shearer.  Go to full article

St. Lawrence County ranked #6 in rural America

A national farming magazine rates St. Lawrence County the 6th best place to live in rural America. The Progressive Farmer releases its annual rural county rankings today. Contrary to its name, Barren County, Kentucky, took the top honors. David Sommerstein spoke yesterday with Joe Link, The Progressive Farmer's executive editor. Link says the magazine names the top 200 counties based on a range of quality-of-life indicators and statistics. Then, editors visit the top 20. Link himself came to St. Lawrence County last fall. He says his first visit was in Canton, with Varick Chittenden of Traditional Arts in Upstate New York.  Go to full article

Luring farmers north

St. Lawrence County's "Come Farm With Us" program might get a boost from the Progressive Farmer coverage. Launched in 2002 by Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida and St. Lawrence Counties, the marketing effort reaches beyond New York State to entice farmers to move north. Martha Foley has more.  Go to full article

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