Agriculture

9:01am

Fri July 26, 2013
Agriculture

Madison County farms see younger people take the helm

Younger people are taking up farming in Madison County, even though the national average age for farmers is approaching 60.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average age of a farmer in 2012 was 57. Forty percent of all farmers right now are over the age of 55. But in an era of increasing age among the men and women who grow our food, there are some younger people bucking the trend. Some of these new farmers are sending down roots in Madison County.

The cadre of 20 and 30-somethings running Greyrock Farm in Cazenovia are as likely to have a smartphone in their pocket as a pitchfork in their hands.

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9:09am

Tue July 16, 2013
Agriculture

Binghamton urban farmers ask city for laws to ease expansion

Johan Jelsma at his garden in Binghamton.
Matt Richmond/Innovation Trail

Johan Jelsma is taking me on a tour of his garden on the West Side of Binghamton. He rattles off the names of plants in just one small patch of his yard:

“Eggplants, Brussels sprouts, a little bit of remnants of peas left and cucumber, melon.”

Jelsma's entire yard is taken over by a garden of vegetables, fruit trees and flowers. He says some passersby describe it as the wild yard.

“I didn’t like grass per se. I mean I like laying on it, I like running but I definitely don’t enjoy mowing.”

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5:19am

Tue July 9, 2013
Agriculture

Wet weather straining farmers, but season not a washout yet

Brian Reeves plucks dead leaves off of pepper plants on his Baldwinsville farm.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Brian Reeves is plucking dead leaves off of pepper plants on his farm in Baldwinsville.

"If it keeps up, they will lose more and more leaves and you come back here in two weeks and it's like a stem with no leaves," he says. "It's just gone."

Low-lying spots in his fields are wetter than they should be with large puddles collecting in some areas. Crops trying to grow in those areas are showing signs of too much moisture - like dead leaves and disease.

It's a result of the wetter-than-average summer so far in upstate New York.

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9:04am

Tue June 25, 2013
Agriculture

Amish dairy farmers work with Agri-Mark to get milk to market

A garage on an Amish farm in northern New York.
Sarah Harris/Innovation Trail

St. Lawrence County may be losing population, but there's one group that keeps growing: Old Order Amish. They've moved to northern New York because of cheap, available farmland. But in order to maintain their lifestyle, the Amish need a market for the milk the produce. So they've turned to an unlikely partner: dairy co-op Agri-Mark. 

Drive down some roads in the county, and it’s like stepping back in time. Traffic comes from buggies, not cars. Children in dark clothes and straw hats and bonnets play in neatly kept farm yards.

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8:19am

Fri June 21, 2013
Agriculture

Ain't it sweet: New York maple syrup production on the rise

New York's maple syrup production rose 59 percent this year thanks to better weather.
kulinarno Some rights reserved

Think pancakes, think sweet and golden; think economic development.

New York state’s maple syrup production surged this year, rising nearly 60 percent after a slow crop in 2012.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says production was boosted from 360,000 to 574,000 gallons in the 2013 season.

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2:29pm

Wed June 19, 2013
Agriculture

Assembly passes caps to lower taxes on farmers

The New York State Assembly passed a bill Tuesday that will cap agricultural land assessment increases at two percent a year.

Previously, agricultural property tax assessments were capped at 10 percent. But in just 15 years, property taxes doubled for family farms.

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7:31am

Fri June 7, 2013
Agriculture

Amendment to Farm Bill could help boost upstate milk production

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., wants to create a dairy block grant program.
Matt Richmond WSKG

The five year Farm Bill, likely to pass a vote in the U.S. Senate next Monday, includes an amendment from New York Sen. Charles Schumer that attempts to address rising demand for milk.

Schumer says the amendment could help New York’s dairy farmers supply a fast-growing yogurt industry.

It would create a $5 million pilot program aimed at helping small dairy farms access technical help for  things like animal nutrition and business planning.

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9:09am

Fri May 24, 2013
Agriculture

Upstate farmers get innovative to access major food markets

Eric Andrus of Ferrisbrug, Vt. working on the "Ceres," the Vermont Sail Freight Project.
Sarah Harris/Innovation Trail

Most of the time, Eric Andrus is a beef and rice farmer. But lately, he’s learning to be a boat builder. On this day, he’s in the barn, sanding the hull of a big wooden barge.

“We’re about to apply the second layer of plywood,” Andrus says.

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8:59am

Thu May 23, 2013
Agriculture

Farmers' property taxes rise as land values increase

Farmer John Peck has a moment with a two-month-old calf in his dairy barn.
Credit Joanna Richards

Agriculture is one of the most dynamic and innovative economic sectors in New York state. All this week, the Innovation Trail team is reporting on some of the current challenges and opportunities facing upstate farmers.

One of those challenges is property taxes. Agriculture is a land-intensive industry, so rising property taxes can mean much higher costs for farmers. And taxes have been rising, thanks mostly to increases in the production value of farmland.

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8:45am

Wed May 22, 2013
Agriculture

Farmers and beekeepers respond to colony collapse

A bee hive near Ithaca, New York
Matt Richmond/Innovation Trail

Since 2006, honey bees have been abandoning seemingly healthy hives in large numbers, raising alarm among beekeepers, farmers and researchers. But, the industries that are dependent on honey bees are finding ways to manage the losses.

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8:25am

Tue May 21, 2013
Agriculture

Fighting fire blight in New York's apple industry

Apple stalls at the Rochester Public Market
Kate O'Connell/Innovation Trail

New York is the second biggest apple producing state in the country. But, last year production dropped dramatically due to a warmer winter, early blooms, and harsh spring frosts. The total production from the state plummeted from 1.2 million pounds in 2011, to just 710,000 pounds in 2012. But, weather isn’t the only challenge growers are contending with.

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8:07am

Mon May 20, 2013
Agriculture

New York's "local" beef, often not as local as you think

Eve Ann Shwartz herds her cattle on Maple Avenue Farms in Earlville, N.Y.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

The steaks stacked in the coolers of butcher shops in New York may be marketed as local, but just what that label means varies widely.

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9:13am

Sun May 19, 2013
Agriculture

A minimalist approach to winemaking proves successful for one vineyard

Bloomer Creek Winery on the east side of Seneca Lake.
Credit Jacob Davis / WRVO

As Finger Lakes wine grows in popularity around New York state and the country, one long-time vintner has separated himself from the pack by doing things the old fashioned way and keeping things simple.

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9:42am

Fri May 17, 2013
Agriculture

Immigration reform would address labor shortages on NY farms

New York's dairy farmers have a challenge finding guest workers because existing programs don't allow year-round workers.
Matt Richmond WSKG

As lawmakers in the Senate's Judiciary Committee debate the immigration reform bill released last month, farmers in New York State are hoping to find enough workers to fully staff their operations. It's a yearly struggle in New York and nationwide and according to a report by Farm Credit East, more than 1000 farms in New York could close or shrink by two-thirds if immigration laws were fully enforced.

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9:20am

Thu May 16, 2013
Agriculture

Researchers Don't 'Wine' About The Cold, Their Grapes Thrive

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 5:58 am

Copyright 2014 North Country Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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8:54am

Thu April 25, 2013
Agriculture

Once the dominant grower, New York is rediscovering hops

Dave Pasick sticks his head out of the barn on Szaro Farms outside of Utica, N.Y.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Dave Pasick moved back to his family’s farm just north of Utica a few years ago, naming it Szaro Farms, after an old family name.

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8:33am

Sat April 20, 2013
Agriculture

Connecting farmers to restaurants in Binghamton

Pennsylvania farmer David Morgan at a Meet the Farmer event in Binghamton.
Matt Richmond/Innovation Trail

In New York’s central region, there are hundreds of farms selling meat and produce directly to the public, and a Binghamton group is working to connect restaurants with those farms. The downtown Binghamton restaurant Lost Dog Café recently held a "Meet the Farmer" event. Sixty people attended a catered dinner in the back of the busy restaurant.

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3:50pm

Wed April 17, 2013
Agriculture

Farmers and foodies call for fracking ban

WBFO

A coalition of farmers and foodies are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ban hydraulic fracturing in New York state right away. Groups across the state are expected to meet throughout the week to alert the public to the risks they believe fracking poses to the state’s agricultural viability.

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9:15am

Fri March 29, 2013
Food

Is it worth doing the leg work to track 'food miles'?

Some scientists argue counting food miles isn't the thing to focus on when measuring sustainable eating.
urban sea star via Flickr

Here's a catchphrase someone who's been to a farmer's market is probably familiar with: "buy local." And for those who try and follow the mantra closely, you may also be familiar with "food miles," the notion of counting how far your strawberries traveled to land on top of your bowl of Cheerios.

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4:11am

Thu March 28, 2013
Agriculture

Area wines fare well at Finger Lakes Wine Competition

Dan Klimke Flickr

The results are in from this weekend’s Finger Lakes International Wine Competition in Rochester, and it’s good news for the region. A dozen wines from the Finger Lakes came away with coveted double-gold medals -- twice as many as last year. 

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