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News stories tagged with "milk"

Sociologist Douglas Harper
Sociologist Douglas Harper

The moral economy of milk: lessons from Italy

In the 1970s, Douglas Harper moved to Madrid in St. Lawrence County. He started documenting the family farming traditions of 50 contiguous dairies. He was especially interested the concept of "changing works," neighbors pooling their labor to get big projects done, like harvesting or barn-raising. In 2001, Harper published a book about what he saw, called Changing Works: Visions of a Lost Agriculture. Now Harper's a sociologist at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. He returns to the North Country Wednesday to speak at SUNY Potsdam. He's about to release a new book about more small, sustainable dairy farms, these in Italy. Harper told David Sommerstein American agriculture needs to reclaim what it lost when farms got bigger and bigger.  Go to full article

Essex Fair opens with a milk race

It's county fair season in the North Country. Yesterday in Westport, the Essex County Fair opened with an ATV pull, a prize sheep exhibition, carnival rides, and a milking competition. The rivals in the milking contest were eight town supervisors from across the county. As Brian Mann reports, some came armed with years of experience. Others were getting their first taste of farm life.  Go to full article

Cheese plant re-opens as Amish trust

The Heritage cheese plant in St. Lawrence County will re-open tomorrow after a one-month shutdown. The Amish farmers who sell their milk there will become owners in a unique arrangement. David Sommerstein explains.  Go to full article
Carrie Baker's emotional encounter with the mother of Gabriel, her employee.
Carrie Baker's emotional encounter with the mother of Gabriel, her employee.

Farmers Seek Workers' Roots - in Mexico

Five years ago, just a handful of dairy farmers in the North Country employed Hispanic workers. Today, some 50 farms use or have expressed a desire to hire workers from Mexico or Guatemala. The transition can be a bumpy one, for farmers and for the people they hire. There are the obvious language barriers, but also issues with food and housing and cultural norms. Earlier this month, a small group of farmers tried to bridge that gap in a big way. They took a trip to Mexico, to the very village where their employees come from, and met their families. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Grazers Gather to Share Success Stories

When people think of dairy country, most imagine cows placidly munching on grass in a green field. In fact, only 15% of New York's dairy farms send their cows out to pasture regularly. Instead, most dairy cows live in barns. The farmer brings their food in and trucks their manure out. Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Adirondack North Country Association want to encourage more farmers to embrace a specific kind of pasturing called rotational grazing. They're organizing a workshop and farm tour Wednesday in Madrid. Participants will visit Bob Zufall's farm in Waddington. He milks 50 cows, and pastures them on more than 300 acres of land, much of it green with native grasses, like orchard grass and white clover. He sets the cows to pasture inside moveable fences on one acre plots. After every milking he moves the fences. Zufall spoke with David Sommerstein. He says he moved to St. Lawrence County from Pennsylvania in 2001. Grazing Day 2005 begins Wednesday, July 27 at 10:30 at the Madrid Community Center. Call 379-9192 x234 to register.  Go to full article

Report: Dairy Prices Volatile

There's a continuing crisis in the dairy industry--price instability--and it's getting worse. A government report investigating dairy pricing was released this week. Greg Warner has this report.  Go to full article

OSHA Fines Ogdensburg Cheesemaker

A kosher cheese maker in Ogdensburg is appealing $185,000 in fines levied by the U.S. Labor Department. Inspectors found serious safety and health hazard violations at Primo Foods' cheese plant. A Lewis County plant owned by the same company was cited for violations last year. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
McHugh and Clinton visit a farm near Fulton
McHugh and Clinton visit a farm near Fulton

Clinton, McHugh Announce Rural Economic Package

After Ogdensburg, the pair headed south to a dairy farm in Oswego County. Clinton and McHugh talked about a fix for the way farmers are paid for their milk. The current system allows for big price swings, but a solution to fit farms around the country has been elusive for decades. David Sommerstein was on hand and has this report.  Go to full article

"Got Milk?" Campaign Provokes Lawsuit

Dairy farmers across the country contribute part of their paychecks into a government program which pays for a national advertising campaign. Supporters say the "Got Milk?" and "3-A-Day" messages have helped keep the price of milk strong. But one small dairy farm is taking on the U.S. government. The farmers say their milk is different - and they don't want to pay to advertise their competitors' product. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium's Brad Linder reports.  Go to full article

Kraft Shutdown Later, Then Ripples

When Kraft ceases cheese production in Canton, the economic effects will be significant, but not bad enough to force many farmers out of business. That's according to Chuck Nicholson, a senior research associate at Cornell University. He prepared a computer model of a Kraft shutdown based on national markets. It predicts a drop in milk prices, the lowest in St. Lawrence County, with ripples felt throughout the Northeast. Speaking with David Sommerstein, Nicholson estimates the average dairy farm could lose up to $12,000. New York could lose $18 million statewide.  Go to full article

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