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News stories tagged with "lisbon"

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
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
A methane dome is a recognizable part of an anaerobic digester system. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45914503@N00/7269576888/">Dan Hartung</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved.
A methane dome is a recognizable part of an anaerobic digester system. Photo: Dan Hartung, Creative Commons, some rights reserved.

St. Lawrence co. dairy gets digester grant

A large dairy farm in St. Lawrence County is getting more than $400,000 for a methane digester. The grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will help Woodcrest Dairy in Lisbon pay for the estimated $2.5-million project.  Go to full article
Jessica Payne, Lisbon, reels in a carp Friday.
Jessica Payne, Lisbon, reels in a carp Friday.

Heard Up North: Teen reels in fighting carp

The St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce is working hard to market the St. Lawrence River as the world's fishing capital, an initiative it calls "FISH CAP." One part of that project is to hook the next generation of anglers with the 10th annual International Junior Carp Tournament. It was held over the weekend.

Massena's Bryaunna Murphy took first place, the first girl to win top honors in the tournament. She took home the $1500 grand prize.

David Sommerstein stopped by just as Jessica Payne, an eighth grader from Lisbon Central, was reeling in a 14 pound, 6 ounce carp.  Go to full article
"Miss E-Z Squeezy" gives kids a chance to "milk" a cow.  Photos by Andrea Ferro.
"Miss E-Z Squeezy" gives kids a chance to "milk" a cow. Photos by Andrea Ferro.

Farmers stay positive on Farm Day

North Country dairy farmers have been battered by this summer's low milk prices. The hundredweight price has remained well below the cost of production. In St. Lawrence County on Saturday, though, a bit of sun and big crowds pushed away the bad news for the 4th Annual Farm Day. It's a chance for the public to tour a working dairy farm, this year at the 175-cow Gendebien farm in Lisbon. It's also an opportunity to farmers to show their best face in hard times. David Sommerstein attended and sent this audio montage.  Go to full article
Richard Hobkirk (center), and his father, John, are clinging to their 179 year old dairy farm.
Richard Hobkirk (center), and his father, John, are clinging to their 179 year old dairy farm.

Dairy farmers wait out the milk price trough

June was National Dairy Month. But there wasn't anything to celebrate on the farm. The price farmers are paid for their milk went down again. It's now lower than it was 30 years ago, even though fuel and feed and everything else has skyrocketed. Milk is worth well less than what it costs to produce it. There are no hard numbers. But it appears few dairy farms have gone out of business - yet. Farmers are scrambling to hang on to their livelihoods - in their own barns and as part of a budding grassroots movement. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
Some of the Lisbon students who traveled to Washington.
Some of the Lisbon students who traveled to Washington.

Lisbon students in DC

Wear warm clothes, comfortable shoes and have patience - that's the advice given to students from Lisbon Central School who are in Washington DC for the inauguration today. Martha Foley has more.  Go to full article
Honey bees at a Squeak Creek Apiaries hive
Honey bees at a Squeak Creek Apiaries hive

A busy summer for bees

It was two years ago that beekeepers began reporting losing 30 to 90 percent of their hives. The phenomenon has become known as Colony Collapse Disorder. Nationwide, beekeepers have lost 36 percent of their managed colonies this year, compared to 31 percent in 2007. "No bees, no crops," was a common phrase heard earlier this summer at a House Agriculture subcommittee meeting in Washington. Farmers and business owners say food prices could rise even more unless the mysterious decline in honey bees is solved. But that devastating illness, called CCD, hasn't affected North Country hives as much as other parts of the country, although it has made an appearance. Todd Moe spoke to a couple of beekeepers who are expecting a good honey harvest this year.  Go to full article

North Country anglers compete for fish funds

Last year, Occidental Chemical, a company in the Buffalo area, agreed to pay New York $12 million for dumping toxic waste in the Niagara River in the 1980s. The chemicals have spread downstream and contaminated Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. It's too late to clean up the mess now. So the Department of Environmental Conservation is going to spend the money on improving the fishery from Niagara Falls to Massena. The DEC is casting for the best "bang-for-your-buck" projects at meetings statewide. Last week, St. Lawrence County anglers made a striking showing at a meeting near Ogdensburg - more than double the attendance of the Rochester meeting. But as David Sommerstein reports, there was a sinking feeling big city wishes may trump North Country concerns.  Go to full article

Small protest to hispanic laborers

There's been little public opposition in the North Country to the growing number of Hispanic workers on dairy farms. But earlier this month, a small group protested outside the St. Lawrence County Farm Bureau's "A Day at the Farm" event at Jon Greenwood's dairy in Canton. Todd Moe has more.  Go to full article

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