Agriculture

Reporting on agriculture issues and news in central and Northern New York.

Sensory Gardens

Apr 18, 2018

in this episode, Jim talks about how sensory gardens can create a healing environment. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Members of New York’s Congressional delegation are working to provide some financial relief to dairy farmers who continue to suffer from depressed milk prices.

David Sommerstein / NCPR

Every five years, Congress debates a huge piece of legislation that has a disproportionate impact on rural places like the North Country and central New York. It's the Farm Bill, a $100 billion a year hodge-podge to fund everything from crop insurance to food stamps.

In the past, New York has often been on the margins of the Farm Bill debate in Washington, taking a back seat to the Midwestern states of the “bread basket,” like Iowa and Illinois.

In this episode, Jim talks about the plants best to plant just before winter.

Get a Whiff of This!

Sep 20, 2017

In this episode, Jim talks about a new method in keeping deer off of trees during the autumn and winter months.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Being the only producer of wine flour on the east coast may be lonely, but one Finger Lakes entrepreneur has created a growing business.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The New York State Fair opens its 2017 edition Wednesday. The fair has some new features, fixed some problems from last year and is getting ready for the second part of a major expansion.

Phase one of the fair’s revitalization included a new entryway and larger midway. Phase two will begin after this year’s fair with the creation of a new Expo Center which Acting Director Troy Waffner called the gem of the expansion.

wamc.org

There's a lawsuit now in New York that could expand the rights of farm workers. Under state law, farm workers aren't allowed to bargain collectively, but the New York State Constitution may say something different.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Parts of upstate New York have been receiving record amounts of rainfall this year. The rain is one of the contributing factors to the high water levels on Lake Ontario which has caused extensive property damage. But it is also taking a toll on local farmers.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Some industrial hemp farmers in Madison County are rooting for a bill that would take the plant off the federal government's Schedule 1 list of Controlled Substances and into the homes of New Yorkers as food products, like a baby green or protein bar.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The wet weather has made it another challenging year for dairy farmers. State agriculture officials are trying to help farmers cope how ever they can, including expanding the New York State Grown & Certified marketing campaign to include dairy products.

Chuck Luchsinger’s Silver Spring Farm is more than 100 years old. It has about 240 cows, 200 acres and produces about 600 gallons of milk a day.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has extended malt barley crop insurance to 44 counties in New York state. Before, only four counties in the state had crop insurance for their malt barley -- a key ingredient in the manufacturing of beer.

Those in the industry said that lack of widespread access to insurance has limited the number of farmers who were willing to grow the crop. Malt barley is seen as a risky venture because of its delicate nature and susceptibility to severe weather.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A report released Thursday chronicles the issues facing undocumented workers at dairy farms across Upstate New York. The study contends that growth of the dairy industry in New York state in recent years has been achieved on the backs of immigrant farm workers who have few labor rights.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

This year’s soggy spring has farmers in central New York scrambling. Many farms are two weeks behind in their planting schedules.

On a clear day, there’s quite a vista from farmer Dan Palladino’s hilltop farm in the town of Pompey.

"You can see all the way to Sodus, and Chimney Bluffs there. Over there is Oneida Lake, and over there are the foothills of the Adirondacks, and you can see Canastota," Palladino said, describing the view.

But there haven’t been too many of those clear days this rain-soaked spring. And it’s messing up more than the view.

Lesley L. / Flickr

The recently-passed state budget eliminates a cap on New York’s burgeoning industrial hemp industry. That will allow more farmers to be able to research, grow and process a crop that could turn into a a million dollar business.

The industrial hemp industry’s first hurdle is also the biggest misconception most people have about.

"It is related to marjiuana is what most people think," said SUNY Morrisville Researcher Jennifer Gilbert Jenkins. “But industrial hemp does not have any THC in it.”

How Can I Help My Existing Landscape Organically?

Mar 31, 2017

This is one in a series of three podcasts in which Jim talks about his recent winter trips to Cuba, where he shared ideas and techniques with organic farmers. In this episode, Jim talks about organic ways to treat your lawn and surrounding landscape.

This is one in a series of three podcasts in which Jim talks about his recent winter trips to Cuba, where he shared ideas and techniques with organic farmers. In this episode, Jim talks about the pros and cons of using organic products vs. easy-to-use chemicals.

Lessons Learned from Organic Farming in Cuba

Mar 31, 2017

This is one in a series of three podcasts in which Jim talks about his recent winter trips to Cuba, where he shared ideas and techniques with organic farmers. In this episode, he talks about specific organic practices we can incorporate into our own gardening activities here in the U.S.

Julia Botero / WRVO News File Photo

Republican senators have proposed a state budget for this year that includes $3 million towards helping upstate farmers recover from last summer’s drought, the worst the state has seen in decades. In some cases, the dry summer weather resulted in the loss of entire crops. The federal government designated more than 20 counties national disaster areas due to the severity of the drought.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

 

This year's drought has left wells dry across the region. After some rain, farmers are wondering when their groundwater will be replenished. 

The good news is groundwater levels are higher than they've been in months, Cornell University hydrologist Todd Walter told farmers and agriculture leaders in Watertown Wednesday.

David Sommerstein / NCPR File Photo

The battle lines are drawn over a lawsuit that could reshape agriculture in New York state. Civil rights advocates are suing to give farm workers the right to form unions and bargain collectively. The state’s largest farm lobby has signed on in opposition, after Gov. Andrew Cuomo would not. The case centers on an incident at a dairy farm in Lewis County.

David Sommerstein / North Country Public Radio

The Burrville Cider Mill just outside Watertown embodies everything people love about autumn. They have warm cider donuts, crates full of fresh apples and lots of decorative gourds for sale. If you visit the mill in the mornings you might get the chance to watch apples pressed into cider.

WRVO's Julia Botero and David Sommerstein of North Country Public Radio visited the cider mill on a crisp fall day and filed this audio postcard.

The Burrville Cider Mill is open every day from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. this fall. They make cider on weekend mornings and on Tuesday and Thursdays.

Julia Botero

A large part of New York state is still in severe to extreme drought. The USDA will now cover the cost of new pipelines and wells for farmers in Jefferson and Lewis Counties to reach more water. But farms in other parts of the state, like the Finger Lakes, are getting more attention.  

Farm Bureau: Drought worst in generations

Sep 5, 2016
Julia Botero / WRVO News File Photo

New York farmers are experiencing the worst drought conditions in generations, and while the industry may suffer a setback, it will persevere.

That's from Dean Norton, the president of the New York Farm Bureau, a lobbying group for agribusiness.

Norton says one immediate concern is for dairy farmers.

He says the dairy industry is going through a price downturn, and as they receive lower prices for their products, dairy farmers are also facing the prospect of a shortage of feed this fall.

Jefferson County pushes for drought aid

Sep 5, 2016
Julia Botero / WRVO News

Jefferson County hopes to be included in a federal drought disaster declaration in the next week or two. On Tuesday, The U.S. Department of Agriculture listed 15 counties, plus nine contiguous counties, as drought disaster areas.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Dairy farmers at the New York State Fair are trying out a new technology to help them determine when a calf is about to be born.

The big white tent at the end of the midway with a giant cow balloon in front is where fairgoers can watch the miracle of birth.

One cow delivered a healthy calf in front of hundreds of fairgoers. If they looked carefully, they would have noticed a bright green plastic contraption around the cow’s tale. It’s called a “moo-call.”

Cornell Cooperative Extension

Scientists with the Cornell Cooperative Extension are experimenting with a late-summer oat crop.  They say it may help farmers during a drought like the one parts of New York state are experiencing now. The oats could give farmers one last chance to stock up on feed for their livestock.

Blueberries: ripe for the picking

Aug 20, 2016
Julia Botero / WRVO News

Blueberries are ripe in the North Country right now. Think warm blueberry pies, sweet blueberry pancakes and blueberry buckle. If you'd like to spend a warm summer day outside collecting fresh berries to throw into a homemade summer dessert, it's time to find your nearest farm before the season ends.

Julia Botero stopped at the Tug Hill Vineyards with her friend Jen Degregorio and got to work picking highbush blueberries.

How Plants Heal

Aug 17, 2016

In this episode, Jim talks about how plants heal and repair among the stresses of their environment, and shares what you can do to assist.

Why Didn't My Landscape Plants Flower?

Aug 17, 2016

Despite our best efforts, sometimes trees and shrubs fail to flower. In this episode, Jim talks about some of the possibilities as to why, and what you can do (and plant) to make the most of your landscape.

    

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