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NCPR News Awards: Diversifying North Country Farms

NCPR reporter David Sommestein's series (below) on diversifying North Country farming has won the 2003 “Cap” Creal Journalism Award from the New York State Agricultural Society. The Society recognizes journalists for their efforts to inform others about agricultural issues in New York.

Dave Fishel catches up with his former cows.
Dave Fishel catches up with his former cows.

Diversifying the Dairy Industry

The North Country dairy industry is facing some of its bleakest times in memory this summer. Farmers are going deeper into debt and working jobs off the farm. The main culprit for the crisis is a year and a half of extremely low milk prices. The depressed market has forced many farmers to start spin-off businesses to make ends meet. It's called "diversification" in the industry. In the first of a two part series on diversifying farms in the North Country, David Sommerstein reports the opportunities and pitfalls are many.  Go to full article
Are soybeans a promising future for farmers like Bill Brewer?

Can Soybeans Take Root on North Country Farms?

Facing rock-bottom milk prices and mounting debt, dairy farmers are looking for other ways to stay in business. An extra field of hay or corn could help pay the bills in tight times.

Soybeans have been trumpeted as a promising alternative. In part two of our series on diversifying North Country agriculture, David Sommerstein reports soybeans will never be the staple crop they are in the Midwest, but they could be a part of a mix that redefines farming's future in the region.  Go to full article

Call-in Special: The Crisis in North Country Dairy Farming

NCPR news has focused special coverage this week on the crisis in the dairy industry. Martha Foley was joined by NY Assemblyman Darrel Aubertine from Cape Vincent, a farmer and former dairyman, and Pete Barney from St. Lawrence County Co-operative Extension, to discuss the stakes and the stakeholders, and to take calls from listeners.  Go to full article

David Sommerstein is North Country Public Radio's roving St. Lawrence Valley/Fort Drum/Tug Hill reporter.