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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...
This corn was nicely mounded and will recover from the wind. Last summer, a severe storm drove through my garden when the corn was about 10 days out from picking. We lost some but salvaged 75% by building a stick and rope lattice system down each...


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.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack<br />Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/celtico/4789746688/">mikescottnz</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
Photo: mikescottnz, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to visit central NY

BRIDGEPORT, N.Y. (AP) Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is headed to central New York to promote the government's new Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund.

Vilsack and Colorado-based Co-Bank CEO Bob Engel will meet Wednesday with leaders in Bridgeport, New York, to discuss the $10 billion private sector fund announced last week by the White House. They'll discuss how this fund can promote local infrastructure upgrades.  Go to full article
Dr. Mara Smith thinks her "Athlete Minder" is a perfect new start-up for Lake Placid.  But she needs investors to move forward.  Photo:  Brian Mann

Can we end the North Country's investment drought?

Today in Washington DC, the Obama administration is hosting a conference designed to convince more investors to back entrepreneurs, start-ups and infrastructure projects in rural America.

As part of that effort, the White House is unveiling a new $10 billion private investment fund aimed at financing more projects in small towns.

That effort follows years of concern from economists and rural policy experts, who say a kind of capital drought is stifling growth in rural areas.

The fear is that even many good ideas aren't getting funded in small town regions like the North Country, because most of the investment dollars are flowing to cities and suburbs.  Go to full article
Root crops at the Glens Falls Farmers Market. Archive Photo of the Day: Stuart Delman, Chestertown NY.

North Country gets $1M agribusiness loan fund

The North Country will get a new one million dollar revolving loan fund to seed agricultural businesses. Empire State Development announced the fund Monday.  Go to full article
Photo: David Sommerstein

Dairy Farmers of America ends price suit for $50M

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- The cooperative Dairy Farmers of America has agreed to pay a total of $50 million to thousands of Northeast dairy farmers to settle antitrust...  Go to full article
Tri-Town Packing co-owner Tom Liberty. Photo: David Sommerstein

Schumer lends help in Tri-Town - USDA dispute

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer says he wants to help a St. Lawrence County slaughterhouse with a dispute with its meat inspectors.  Go to full article
Roger Hastings shears Dolly Llama. Photo: Sarah Harris

Dolly Llama, Daisy, and 14 alpacas get a haircut

Summer means shearing season. All across the North Country, sheep, alpacas, and llamas are getting serious haircuts and losing their winter coats. A couple weeks ago reporter...  Go to full article
Invasive wild parsnip. Avoid contact; avoid a nasty rash. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/dmills727/3644070846/">Douglas Mills</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Beware the invasives; and small strawberries are good too!

Right about now, the roadsides can look more like flower gardens than some gardens do. Wonderful abundant mixes of color, texture, height: all the qualities you look for....  Go to full article

$13.8M in grants to protect soil, water on farms

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) More than 200 farms across New York will be aided by $13.8 million in state grants designed to protect soil and water.

The competitive grants...  Go to full article
One of Tri-Town's products--sausage. Photo: Sarah Harris

Update: Tri-Town in negotiations with USDA

Correction, Friday, 12:00 p.m.: This story previously said that Jeff Liberty was "doubtful that he and his father will be able to convince the USDA...  Go to full article
Susan Chan explains the specialized pollination performed by squash bees. Photo: Lucy Martin

What farmers and landowners can to to sustain bees

For years we've been hearing different reporting on a basic theme: A third of our food supply depends on bees and pollinating insects are in a serious state of decline. Most...  Go to full article

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