New York has its state flower, its state bird, and its state song (although I think it should be this), so why not a state soil? Supporters of an effort to make Black Dirt – down in onion-land in Orange County – the official state soil...
Burlington, VT, Jul 01, 2010 — Last December, Jose Obeth Santiz Cruz of Mexico was killed when his shirt got caught in a machine on a Vermont dairy farm. The incident renewed concerns over Hispanic farmworkers in the dairy industry who are in this country illegally. An estimated 1500 work on dairy farms in Vermont. Hundreds more work in northern New York. A farmworkers' rights group helped return Santiz Cruz' remains to his family in Chiapas, Mexico. The Vermont Migrant Farmworker Solidarity Project made a documentary about their journey. It's called "Silenced Voices" and debuts tonight at 7 at the Black Box Theater in Burlington. Brendan O'Neill teaches English to Hispanic farmworkers in Vermont. He co-directed the documentary and spoke with David Sommerstein. Go to full article
Albany, NY, Apr 21, 2010 — The Senate Agriculture committee voted down a highly polarizing farm labor bill Tuesday. Six of nine senators voted against the legislation, including committee chairman and former dairy farmer Darrel Aubertine. Farmworker advocates accused Aubertine of "perverting" the legislative process. David Sommerstein reports. Go to full article
Jan 29, 2008 — Agriculture is one of New York's biggest industries, generating more than $3 billion annually. Once a reliable mix of dairy, orchards, and row crops, farming in New York is changing fast, with new opportunities and challenges. The state is building a wholesale market in New York City to connect downstate consumers with Upstate farms. A new office of organic produce is trying to help farmers' meet the growing demand for healthy, locally-grown food. And New York is investing in biofuel research. Meanwhile, farmers have been thrust into the middle of the illegal immigration debate, fearing raids on their increasingly Hispanic workforce. A plan to ban open burning statewide would force farmers to find new ways to throw out their bale wraps and other plastics. David Sommerstein sat down recently with Agriculture Commissioner Pat Hooker to look at the farm agenda for 2008. Hooker came to state government last year after more than a decade representing the industry as the New York Farm Bureau's policy director. He says he's very excited about the promise of alternative energies and biofuels for farmers... Go to full article