NY Assemblyman D. Billy Jones discusses food insecurity at the Clinton County JCEO
Pat Bradley/WAMC

New York state Assemblyman D. Billy Jones was at the regional Joint Council for Economic Opportunity in Plattsburgh today. He’s calling on the USDA to readjust its emergency food distribution program to be more equitable for families in Northern New York and the Northeast.

WAMC, Allison Dunne

A New York state senator from the Hudson Valley is urging the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to deliver relief to dairy farms impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senator Patrick Leahy announces farm and watershed grants
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont and federal officials have announced grants targeting the state agriculture industry’s impact on the food system and on Lake Champlain.

Bees cluster outside their hive in Morrisonville NY
Pat Bradley/WAMC

New York U.S. Senator Charles Schumer was in northern New York today to illustrate how a new USDA plan could hurt honey bee colonies.


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. 

Jesse King / WAMC

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer visited Albany’s Radix Ecological Sustainability Center Monday to raise awareness about a U.S. Department of Agriculture decision to stop collecting data on honey bees. 

Vermont maple syrup jugs
WAMC/Pat Bradley

Maple production is up even though this year’s season was shorter.


     With schools back in session, a program that provided free meals to children during the summer in parks, playgrounds, campgrounds, and churches has come to an end.  In one western Massachusetts community, kids had healthy lunches delivered right to where they live from a fully-equipped kitchen on wheels.

WAMC, Allison Dunne

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand paid a visit to a farmers market in Poughkeepsie Monday. It provides access to fresh and healthy foods in a high-poverty, urban area. Gillibrand was there to demand an investigation into a move by the USDA to end processing of SNAP payments at farmers markets.

dairy cow

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand this afternoon called on the head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to authorize $300 million in emergency relief funding for dairy farmers.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

A New York congressman has introduced bipartisan legislation to bring more accountability to federal conservation programs.

Wendy Wilton
Wendy Wilton for State Treasurer/Facebook

A longtime Vermont official has been appointed by President Donald Trump to direct the Vermont office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency.

Billy Brown, flickr

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued its 2016 Household Food Security report.  It finds about 12.3 percent of American households were food insecure at some point during 2016, down from 12.7 percent in 2015.  The report indicates Vermont and New York followed that national trend.

farm tractor in field
WAMC/Pat Bradley

A recently released study by a University of Vermont researcher has found that the cost of health care and insurance is a risk to farm viability.

4/27/17 Panel

Apr 27, 2017


       The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Director of the Journalism Program at the University at Albany Rosemary Armao, and special guest Tom Vilsack, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Obama.

For the final portion of The Panel, Director of Albany Law’s Government Law Center, Andrew Ayers joins us to talk about the four distinguished graduates will be honored at the 2017 Alumni in Government Awards.

farm produce
US Department of Agriculture

Massachusetts farmers are national leaders in direct sales to consumers, according to data from the first extensive national survey of local food sales.

A branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture is launching a new program that will help protect three rare species of turtles in Vermont, the other New England states and New York.

The Northeast Turtle Project of the Natural Resources Conservation Service is one of 11 new projects being added to the agency's Working Lands for Wildlife effort in 30 states from Florida to Alaska to protect habitat for a number of declining species on private agricultural land.

NRCS Chief Jason Weller is expected to announce the expansion of the project Tuesday in New Florence, Missouri.

U.S. Dept of Agriculture

A helicopter will take to the air over farm fields in Massachusetts during the next few weeks as part of a government soil conservation program.

WAMC/Pat Bradley

Six Vermont companies will be receiving a total of just over $734,000 in grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help add value to the products they produce.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the first New York senator to sit on the Senate Agriculture Committee in nearly 40 years, has a comprehensive plan to overhaul the nation's food safety laws by improving inspection, recall response, and public education.

USDAgov's photostream Flickr

The USDA has launched a new school nutrition program that greatly expands the offer of free school meals to students.  The program could reach more than 8.8 million children in high poverty areas.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon about the school meals option called the Community Eligibility Program.

A dozen federal, state, and local agencies and organizations are undertaking a conservation and economic development project in the most densely forested area of Massachusetts. It is also an area of above average poverty and unemployment rates.

Hudson Opera House Receives Funding For Renovations

Nov 6, 2014
Courtesy of Hudson Opera House

Funding is headed to an opera house in the Hudson Valley.

Sean Philpott-Jones: The Boys In The Ban

Aug 28, 2014

For over 30 years now, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned blood donations from gay and bisexual men. It is a lifetime ban. Currently, no man who has ever had sex with another man can donate blood in the US.

WAMC/Pat Bradley

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the creation of a new U.S. Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund that will allow private entities to invest in rural infrastructure projects.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

The U.S. Department of Agriculture hosted a NY Rural Roundtable Summit at Fulton-Montgomery Community College. The first of three to be held in Eastern New York, the summit brought together small business owners, farmers, and other community advocates to give participants a chance to learn about government programs and grants, and other opportunities available to help strengthen rural communities.

Lee Telega, NY State Director for USDA, Rural Development, said the roundtables aim to spread information on a variety of programs to those in less accessible areas.

WAMC/Pat Bradley

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued its preliminary 2012 census of U.S. agriculture. Taken every five years, the census released Thursday indicates that there are more farms in New England.

Orange County Receives Farm-To-School Grant

Nov 22, 2013
WikiMedia Commons

A New York congressman and a county executive say federal money will help schools purchase local produce.

Schumer: Feds work to bring Greek yogurt to school

Jan 31, 2013
USDAgov's photostream Flickr

Schumer last summer asked Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to modify the federal school lunch program to incorporate Greek yogurt as a high-protein meat alternative. USDA officials told Schumer this week that they are starting a pilot program that could lead to more Greek yogurt in schools as early as April.

Robert Benner / Flickr

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Federal agriculture officials say New York's strawberry crop took a hit last year, but blueberry production was up.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says strawberry production dropped to 3.2 million pounds, down 11 percent from 2011. Many farms reported shortened seasons because of a snap of cold weather that generally hit early crops around the state.