Farming | WAMC

Farming

USDA

A helicopter will be flying over farm fields in western Massachusetts this week and next dropping what’s called a cover crop in hopes of protecting the soil. The effort is a partnership between area farmers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

By the late nineteenth century, Americans rich and poor had come to expect high-quality fresh beef with almost every meal. Beef production in the United States had gone from small-scale, localized operations to a highly centralized industry spanning the country, with cattle bred on ranches in the rural West, slaughtered in Chicago, and consumed in the nation’s rapidly growing cities.

"Red Meat Republic," by Joshua Specht, tells the remarkable story of the violent conflict over who would reap the benefits of this new industry and who would bear its heavy costs.

farm tractor in field
WAMC/Pat Bradley

Today on Food Friday we discuss farming and farmers markets. In the studio are three farmers. First up is Dale-Ila Riggs of The Berry Patch in Stephentown, NY and the Troy Waterfront Farmers' Market. Representing The Kinderhook Farmers' Market are John Joseph of Greener Pastures Poultry in Valatie, NY and Curt Gobrecht of Lovers Leap Farm in Kinderhook, NY. WAMC's Brian Shields hosts.

 Brattle Farm land in Pittsfield
JD Allen / WAMC

The number of female farmers is on the rise across New York.

Farming has been in John Connell's family for generations, but he never intended to follow in his father's footsteps. Until, one winter, after more than a decade away, he finds himself back on the farm.

Connell records the hypnotic rhythm of the farming day—cleaning the barns, caring for the herd, tending to sickly lambs, helping the cows give birth. Alongside the routine events, there are the unforeseen moments when things go wrong: when a calf fails to thrive, when a sheep goes missing, when illness breaks out, when an argument between father and son erupts and things are said that cannot be unsaid.

"The Farmer’s Son" is the story of a calving season, and the story of a man who emerges from depression to find hope in the place he least expected to find it.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at Wednesday's bill signing ceremony
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/48308896691/in/album-72157709705595677/

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a farmworkers’ rights bill into law Wednesday that will for the first time give the workers benefits other employees get, including time off and overtime pay.

An amendment to the federal Farm Bill passed by the House and Senate is intended to support farmers and the craft beer industry.

CISA

      A nonprofit organization is making emergency loans available to farmers in part of western Massachusetts who suffered losses due to the weather this summer.

Food And Farming Focus In The Berkshires

Jun 20, 2017
farm produce
US Department of Agriculture

A new effort to cultivate the Berkshire farming and food-production economy has emerged in Great Barrington. 

Pixabay/Public Domain

Following dry and drought conditions last summer, Northeast farmers are facing the opposite challenge this growing season: a rainy, cool spring that has delayed the planting of corn and other crops and the first cutting of hay for livestock feed.

New York Farm Bureau logo
New York Farm Bureau

Officials from the New York Farm Bureau discussed the group’s top state legislative priorities and its response to the governor’s executive budget during a conference call this morning.

Sonny Perdue 2007 file photo
Public Domain

President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday announced the last of his cabinet nominees.  Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue has been chosen to lead the Agriculture Department.  Farm advocates in our region say it’s a good choice and are hopeful he will be a strong advocate on key agricultural issues.

Saratoga PLAN

Supporters of the long-awaited preservation of a community farm in Saratoga Springs cheered Tuesday night after the city approved a conservation easement to protect the Pitney Farm for years to come.

Saratoga PLAN

Pitney Farm is the last remaining operating farm within the Saratoga Springs city limits.

Partners have been working to purchase and preserve the family farm for the past several months. Earlier this year, the organization Saratoga PLAN backed out of its plans to purchase the property.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Cornell Cooperative Extension Saratoga County, working with the Milton Grange, is hosting an event Saturday that aims introduce the basics of homesteading to kids and adults.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

Federal and state agricultural officials met in Connecticut Wednesday to discuss human and animal health concerns as agritourism grows.

  In The Boys in the Bunkhouse: Servitude and Salvation in the Heartland, New York Times writer and columnist Dan Barry tells the harrowing yet uplifting story of the exploitation and abuse of a resilient group of men with intellectual disability, and the heroic efforts of those who helped them to find justice and reclaim their lives.

In the tiny Iowa farm town of Atalissa, dozens of men, all with intellectual disability and all from Texas, lived in an old schoolhouse. Before dawn each morning, they were bussed to a nearby processing plant, where they eviscerated turkeys in return for food, lodging, and $65 a month. They lived in near servitude for more than thirty years, enduring increasing neglect, exploitation, and physical and emotional abuse—until state social workers, local journalists, and one tenacious labor lawyer helped these men achieve freedom.

farm tractor in field
WAMC/Pat Bradley

Farmers and agricultural leaders from Vermont, New England and New York gathered in Burlington today for an annual conference for dairy producers. Sustainability is a key issue at the gathering.

Picture of a judge's gavel
WikiMedia Commons

Updated 1/14/16: Charges against Glenville farmer Joshua Rockwood were dismissed in town court Tuesday night.

WAMC/Pat Bradley

It’s known as Act 64 and the Vermont Legislature passed it in the last session. The Clean Water bill includes a requirement that agricultural regulations be made more stringent to prevent nutrient runoff into the state’s waterways.  A draft of the new rules has been issued by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture and a series of public hearings begins Tuesday.

For nearly 150 years America's oldest continuously family run chocolate company has been making artisan chocolate for home bakers, pastry chefs, and confectioners alike. They have been evolving and redefining themselves for the past century and a half and now Amy Guittard, whose great great grandfather founded the company, has written the Guittard Chocolate Cookbook: Decadent Recipes from San Francisco's Premium Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Company. 

WAMC/Pat Bradley

New York is providing $1 million in seed money for new farmers.

  In Pig Tales: An Omnivore's Quest for Sustainable Meat, Barry Estabrook, author of the New York Times bestseller Tomatoland explores the dark side of the American pork industry. Drawing on his personal experiences raising pigs as well as his sharp investigative instincts, Estabrook covers the range of the human-porcine experience.

He joins us, along with Michael Yezzi of Flying Pigs Farm in Shushan, NY, to talk about the book and what he learned. 

For Goodness Bake

May 27, 2015

  For Goodness Bake is an annual Beacon bake sale dedicated to raising funds and awareness for charitable organizations within the Hudson Valley. Now in its third year, For Goodness Bake has previously raised over $6,000 for the Children’s Organ Transplant Association and the Kids R Kids Feeding Program.

This year, For Goodness Bake will benefit the Green Teen Community Gardening Program. The sale will be held on June 6th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Catalyst Gallery in Beacon, NY.

We are joined by Kristen Cronin and Tara Tornello, Co-founders of For Goodness Bake; Helanna Bratman, Green Teen Program Coordinator; and Chelsea Schiffer, Green Teen Crew Leader.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

Museums have been trying to offer interactive and engaging activities for visitors in hopes of shaking their sometimes stuffy reputation among the digital hungry generation coming of age in the 21st century. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Jim Levulis takes us to a place where things are most definitely hands on, but it’s simply a replica of how things have been done for centuries.

Saratoga PLAN

Saratoga PLAN announced Friday that the 166-Acre Pitney Farm, one of the last remaining in Saratoga Springs, will be preserved.

A Schenectady County farmer has raised more than $50,000 to assist with legal costs as he faces multiple charges of animal endangerment. The story has gone viral and led to heightened emotions by both sides.

WAMC/Pat Bradley

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has released a report showing that agriculture contributed $37.6 billion to the state’s economy in 2012, an increase of more than 22 percent over five years.

  The story of the Lentil Underground begins on a 280-acre homestead rooted in America’s Great Plains: the Oien family farm. Forty years ago, corporate agribusiness told small farmers like the Oiens to “get big or get out.” But twenty-seven-year-old David Oien decided to take a stand, becoming the first in his conservative Montana county to plant a radically different crop: organic lentils. Unlike the chemically dependent grains American farmers had been told to grow, lentils make their own fertilizer and tolerate variable climate conditions, so their farmers aren’t beholden to industrial methods.

Suburban Agriculture Bill Is Signed Into Law In NYS

Dec 5, 2014
Flickr

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a suburban agriculture bill. A Hudson Valley lawmaker had sponsored the bill in the Assembly.

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