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  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...
Several converging experiences over the last week got me to thinking about the role predators play in the food chain and even, it turns out, on the shape of our landscape. It began with my hen house, led to the ridge at the top of my hay field, and...
News flash out of Seattle: the minimum wage has just been raised to $15/hour, by far the highest in the country. Indeed, it’s double or more the rate in Arkansas ($6.25) and about half the states,  almost triple the rate in Georgia and...
We’ve all seen the various charts floating around the interwebz showing which mega-corporations own which food brands. The one posted below came to me via Alex Hillsberg’s blog post which I highly recommend. The gist of his analysis:...


Agriculture
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.
Jul 1, 2014 — The University of California, Davis is the source of most commercial strawberries. Now, the university's strawberry breeders are going into business for themselves, and farmers are worried.
Jun 20, 2014 — Breweries have been providing farmers with free or discounted grain to feed their animals for centuries. But a proposed FDA rule intended to make food safer could disrupt that relationship.
Jun 9, 2014 — Water is scarce in California, and prices are all over the map. Some farmers are paying almost 100 times more than others. Should water flow to the highest bidder?
May 29, 2014 — As Oklahoma enters its fourth year of sustained drought, some farmers expect the harvest to be so bad they'll end up calling their insurance agents and declaring this year a total loss. StateImpact Oklahoma's Joe Wertz reports that some are calling this the worst drought since the '50s — or even since the Dust Bowl.
 

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.
Duke Wagatha drives down from northern Michigan each year to sell his Christmas trees. While in Ann Arbor, he and his crew live in this 1951 Vagabond trailer. (Photo by Mark Brush)
Duke Wagatha drives down from northern Michigan each year to sell his Christmas trees. While in Ann Arbor, he and his crew live in this 1951 Vagabond trailer. (Photo by Mark Brush)

Tree Farmer Makes Season Merrier

In rural regions like the North Country, it's not hard to find a Christmas tree farm - where you can wander around in a miniature forest, choosing your own perfect tree. But in urban areas, it's harder to get that in-the-woods feeling. Here's a story sent to us by the Great Lakes Radio Consortium's Mark Brush, out in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where one tree-grower brings a little bit of the north woods charm to the city.  Go to full article

New Life for Half of Kraft's Plant

A half-century relationship between Kraft Foods and the village of Canton is all but finished. Only a signed deed is left to finalize Kraft's sale of its cheese-making plant to Missouri-based Bristol Manufacturing. The company will manufacture and repair bulk cheese containers under the name St. Lawrence County Manufacturing and Properties. It expects to open in the spring with 10 to 15 workers. When Kraft closed last summer, it employed 65 people. David Sommerstein spoke with St. Lawrence County economic developer Raymond Fountain about the sale and its effect on the North Country dairy industry. He says the plant's new owners want another tenant.  Go to full article

Burn Barrel Campaign Fires Up Debate

A new multi-state initiative to reduce air pollution from burn barrels and other forms of trash burning is receiving mixed reviews in New York. Last week the Department of Environmental Conservation joined with 7 Northeast states and the U.S. EPA to work to stop backyard burning. As David Sommerstein reports, the announcement has rekindled the volatile issue of a statewide burn ban.  Go to full article

DEC Launches Burn Barrel Campaign

State environmental officials are renewing attention to the health and environmental dangers of burning trash outdoors. The Department of Environmental Conservation has...  Go to full article

USDA to Boost Use of Ozone-depleting Chemical?

The USDA wants to increase the use of methyl bromide to keep invasive insects from getting into the country. But some environmentalists are fighting the plan, saying the...  Go to full article

118th Assembly District: Interview with Darrel Aubertine

Two years ago, Cape Vincent farmer and Jefferson County legislator Darrel Aubertine became the first Democrat to represent the North Country in Albany in almost 30 years. ...  Go to full article

NY Farmer Urges Legislative Reform

A central New York farmer, fed up with what he says is an "abysmal" business climate, has launched a website and is trying to get state lawmakers to pledge to change their...  Go to full article
At work far from home

For Jamaican Apple Pickers, Hurricane Ivan Hit Home

One month ago, Hurricane Ivan slammed into the island of Jamaica, ripping apart houses and knocking out phone lines and electricity. The storm hit just as hundreds of...  Go to full article

Organic Farmers Stretch to Meet Demand

Organic foods are becoming more and more popular - so popular many farmers are finding it's hard to keep up with demand. In the give and take of market-driven economics,...  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...  Go to full article

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