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We still have glorious photos of flowers and vegetables planted in pieces of ground scattered across the region, from western Vermont to the Tug Hill, from the southern Adirondacks to Ottawa. Kinda cool. I’d imagine a lot of food is being...
Each week it gets better and better. Lilies and daisies, beans and peppers. There is so much variety in the gardens of our region. Your growing techniques range from precise, vigorous vegetable gardens to slightly wild and whimsical flower beds,...
  From my garden perch in DeKalb, and from looking through all of the photos you’ve been sending in, it appears that we’re having a banner growing year. Good mix of rain and sunshine. Of course, there are bugs and deer to challenge...
So why didn’t the zucchini cross the road? He didn’t want to become squash! Yes, indeed it’s time for squash jokes. Calabacin, cousa, courgette, cymling, cuccuzza, curcubita pepo, scallop, vegetable marrow, butterbar, crookneck,...
  Seems to me the weather has been cooperating nicely with gardening goals: a fairly balanced mix of sun and rain. And, it shows in your photographs of gardens from across the region. The collection today takes us from a school garden in Long...


Agriculture
Aug 20, 2014 — The EPA wants to "clarify" the scope of its oversight of water under the Clean Water Act. Big farm groups like the American Farm Bureau Federation call this a power grab that would place every ditch and mud puddle under federal regulation, forcing farmers to get permits for small trenches around the farm.
Aug 20, 2014 — The bread that Jules and Helen Rabin have made in their fieldstone oven for four decades has a cult following in central Vermont. But this may be the last summer they sell it at the farmers market.
Aug 12, 2014 — Studies warn that climate change will threaten corn production in coming decades. Meanwhile, farmers are experimenting with new planting methods in hopes of slowing soil erosion from torrential rains.
Aug 6, 2014 — The most contentious issue in Tuesday's Missouri primary was the "right to farm" amendment. It is meant to protect farmers and ranchers from state laws that would change or outlaw current practices.
Jul 14, 2014 — Some rookie farmers in northern Michigan are growing saskatoon, a shrub that looks like blueberry. They're also experimenting with it in the kitchen — in jams and pies.
 

Special Reports

Audio Series
Farm to Farm, Family to Family: David Sommerstein travels with NC dairy farmers to a Mexican village many of their migrant workers call home.
Audio Series
A Year on the Farm
In this monthly feature series, David Sommerstein follows life in the barn, on the fields, and in the farmhouse through the changing seasons on the Andrews dairy farm near Gouverneur NY. This series won the 2006 "Cap" Creal Journalism Award from the New York Agricultural Society.
Audio Series
Hispanic Workers on North Country Farms
Five years ago, just a handful of farmers in the North Country employed Hispanic workers. Now many use workers from Latin America. The transition can be a bumpy one, for farmers and for the people they hire. David Sommerstein tells their stories in this ongoing series.
Beekeeper
Audio Slideshow:
Beekeepers facing new challenges
Lucy Martin visits with Ontario beekeeper Terry McEvoy and talks about colony collapse disorder and other apiary ailments that raise concerns about the food supply.
Audio Slideshow
Sights & Sounds of the Dairy Princess Parade
We go to the sidelines of one of the big events on the annual dairy calendar, the St. Lawrence County Dairy Princess Parade in Canton. Fire engines, tractors, and floats rolled down Main Street on Saturday.
Audio Series
Diversifying North Country Farms
NCPR reporter David Sommestein's series on diversifying North Country farming won the 2003 “Cap” Creal Journalism Award from the New York State Agricultural Society.
Photo Audio Essay
Dairy Farming in the North Country
The time seemed right to look at the challenges facing dairy in the North Country. In part 1 we look at the price of milk, as seen through the eyes of one mid-size dairy farmer. In part 2 we visit a cheese manufacturer proposing drastic changes in the way North Country farmers do business. David Sommerstein reports.
Audio Slideshow
A Barn-Raising in Upper Jay (Real 6:23)
These days, most new barns are built quickly with steel frames and sheet-metal siding. But some landowners are taking a little more time, using methods and materials passed down over hundreds of years.
Photo Audio Essay
Saving New York's Historic Barns
Some of New York's oldest barns are getting facelifts. Todd Moe visited a Canton family's 1820 English threshing barn slated for restoration.
Dairy cows in Canton, NY. Photo: Nora Flaherty
Dairy cows in Canton, NY. Photo: Nora Flaherty

New insurance program for dairy farmers

Starting next week dairy producers can sign up for the United State Department of Agriculture's (USDA) new insurance plan. It's called the margin protection program, part of the farm bill passed earlier this year designed to help smaller producers weather the ups and downs of milk and feed prices.  Go to full article
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack<br>Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/celtico/4789746688/">mikescottnz</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Ag Secretary Vilsack visiting Vermont on Thursday

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is visiting Vermont on Thursday to discuss funding related to improving water quality through conservation-related practices on farms.

Vilsack is joining Leahy and others at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain on the waterfront in Burlington at 9 a.m.  Go to full article
An artist rendering of the Tree of 40 Fruit mature and in bloom. <br />Sam Van Aken courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Art <br />

Tree of 40 Fruit is a metaphor for life

Imagine dozens of different kinds of fruit all hanging from a single tree. It's the dream of a Syracuse artist who is building such a tree, branch by branch.

Grafting fruit trees is a practice almost as old as fruit trees themselves. Mending branches from two different varieties of fruit is how we get hybrid fruit varieties.

Syracuse University art professor Sam Van Aken is taking the art of grafting to another level.  Go to full article
Allison Akins starts her day at 6am when she feeds the calves. Photo: Monique Cornett

Math teacher or farmer- how would you decide?

The average age of a dairy farmer in New York is 57 according to the latest farm census figures. That means many North Country dairy farms are thinking about the next...  Go to full article
Norris Berry Farm in Monkton, VT. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/found_drama/3888672864/">Rob Friesel</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Northeast berry farms fight late-season fruit fly

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) Northeast berry growers are learning ways to combat an invasive fruit fly that wiped out 80 percent of some farms' late-season fruit two years ago,...  Go to full article
One of the first test uses of civilian drones will be by Cooperative Extension over farms in Western New York. Photo: Drone's-eye view of sprouting crops in Ontario, <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/fredflickr/9012383288/">Frederic</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Private drones cleared for flight over upstate New York

The Federal Aviation Administration has approved the first private drone flights over upstate New York as part of a national testing program.

The Northeast UAS...  Go to full article
Photo: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack makes Keynote Inaugural address at the "Made in Rural America Regional Forum" in Canonsburg, PA on Jun. 4, 2014. <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/14378971173/">U.S. Department of Agriculture</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Sen. Gillibrand: Rural export forum planned in NY

CORTLAND, N.Y. (AP) Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand says the Obama administration is bringing its "Made in Rural America" export forum to upstate New York. Gillibrand, a member of...  Go to full article
Tri-Town Packing co-owner Tom Liberty. Photo: David Sommerstein.

Local meat movement frets as Tri Town still in limbo

One of the North Country's few slaughterhouses and meat packing plants says it's trying to regain its certification for processing retail cuts of meat.

Tri Town...  Go to full article
Anneke Larrance with her two young chickens, in the village of Canton.

Zoning 101: Who gets to have chickens?

Here in the North Country, we live in communities that are divided up into different zones: Town or village, residential or agricultural. But is a village also part of a...  Go to full article
Tirza Smith, of the Whitten Family Farm, helps a customer outside the Midtown Apartments in Potsdam. Photo by Claire Woodcock.

Mobile farmers market brings produce to you

Farmer's markets and home gardens are bursting with fruits and vegetables. But some people can't make it to the market or have gardens of their own. A new mobile market has...  Go to full article

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