Agriculture

Migrant Justice activists gather to celebrate the signing an agreement with Ben & Jerry's that took two years to negotiate.
Kathleen Masterson / VPR

Ben & Jerry's and Vermont dairy farmworkers have come to an agreement on a program they say will ensure "just and dignified working conditions" on the Vermont farms that supply milk for the ice cream company.

Steve Wadsworth greets cows at Laggis Brothers Farm in East Hardwick with a kiss on Sept. 1. Wadsworth, a large animal vet who serves dairy farms, took "Vermont Edition" host Jane Lindholm on a tour of four farms earlier this month.
Jane Lindholm / VPR

We've left the studio in favor of a field trip on this Vermont Edition to see what goes on behind-the-scenes at four large dairy farms in Franklin and Caledonia Counties.

We got questions and comments from many of you after our discussion of Ben & Jerry's social mission with Will Allen. Here's some of what we found out.
Kathleen Masterson / VPR/file

Back in August, Vermont Edition had a discussion about whether Ben & Jerry's is fulfilling its social mission. We got a lot of feedback on that show, and a lot of it was critical specifically of some of the statements made by one of our guests, Will Allen.

Jay Burstein, who makes ukuleles out of hemp like the one he's holding above, attended this year's Hemp Fest at Burke Mountain Resort on Sept. 9.
Jon Kalish / VPR

On Saturday, Sept. 9, about 400 people gathered at the Burke Mountain Resort for Hemp Fest, a daylong series of workshops and displays focused on the cultivation of industrial hemp.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

The state's largest slaughterhouse is about to get even bigger.

Vermont Packinghouse recently received an Act 250 permit for a $1 million expansion.

Farms in two of four "priority" watersheds have exceeded targets for water pollution reductions, but officials say there's still pressure to improve on those reductions for the health of Lake Champlain.
ands456 / iStock

Officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture say farmers in Vermont are making better-than-expected progress in reducing the amount of phosphorus flowing into two of four “priority” parts of Lake Champlain.

Robert Congdon is vice president of the Rutland County Agricultural Society, which runs the Vermont State Fair. Congdon, 29, says his grandfather Edward Congdon, Sr., oversaw the fair for many years and it feels like the event is in his blood.
Nina Keck / VPR

The 172nd Vermont State Fair is underway in Rutland with a shorter five-day schedule. Officials say it's part of a rebuilding effort after a rocky few years.

Walt Cottrell  lives in Newbury and he delays haying on his property to try to protect bobolinks and other birds that nest in the high grass. Cottrell says the bobolinks disappeared from his property about ten years ago.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Vermont farmers are taking part in a regionwide effort to put off haying, when possible, to give grassland birds a better chance of surviving.

Even public radio hosts keep bees! We're talking about the ins and outs of beekeeping.
Jane Lindholm / VPR

After Sherlock Holmes retired from detective work, he became a beekeeper, so you know it's got to be a pretty cool hobby. We're talking about the ins and outs of backyard beekeeping.

The Cowmobile is one of the endearing images of Ben & Jerry's. We discuss how important the social mission is to the company today.
Jonathansloane / iStock

Ben & Jerry's has always been a company that stands for something, a company that has a heart. But 17 years after it was sold to global food conglomerate Unilever, we check in to see if the company's social mission is still in place.

Frequent bouts of rain and cooler weather than normal this summer have been annoying for recreation, but seriously problematic for Vermont farmers.

More Than Bread: Sourdough As a Window Into The Microbiome

Jul 28, 2017

Benjamin Wolfe sticks his nose into a Ziploc bag and takes a whiff. "Ooh! That's actually kind of nice," he says. Inside the bag is a pungent, beige goop. It's a sourdough starter — a slurry of water, flour, yeasts and bacteria — from which loaves of delicious bread are born. And it's those microbes that have the attention of Wolfe, a microbiologist at Tufts University.

Green Mountain CBD's hemp farm in Hardwick. Since this photos the hemp plants seen here have more than doubled in size.
Jon Kalish / For VPR

More than 80 Vermonters registered with the Agency of Agriculture to grow industrial hemp in 2017, the third growing season since legalization in 2013. And while more than four times the number of people who signed up last year are growing in 2017, experienced growers have had a range of experiences.

The Agency of Agriculture has reached a settlement agreement with a Springfield slaughterhouse that violated federal livestock handling standards.

As Kevin Sullivan slowly rumbles his pickup truck across his 60 acres of property near the Connecticut-Massachusetts border, he leans in and asks a question: What’s farmland?

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

A new study led by a University of Vermont researcher finds that the majority of farmers say the cost of health insurance is a top concern for the viability of their business.

Howard Weisss-Tisman / VPR

Vermont grass-fed beef is in high demand, and if the market wants to continue to grow, there will have to be better collaboration in the industry.

Robbie Clark stands with some of his herd of milking cows in Ira. To avoid foreclosure, Clark and his mother, Mary Saceric-Clark, are selling their cows and farm equipment at a public auction on July 8.
Nina Keck / VPR

A sign out front the Milky Way Farm in Ira declares it a "Dairy of Distinction." But another sign may soon read "For Sale," as the family farm is facing foreclosure and must sell its equipment and cows at a public auction on July 8.

Janet and Jay Bailey, of Fair Winds Farm in Brattleboro, have operated a diversified horse-powered family farm for more than 40 years. The farm’s previous owner had donated the land to Earthbridge Community Land Trust, who later leased the land to the Baileys. In 2011, looking toward aging but wanting to ensure this land continue to be farmed, they formed an untraditional partnership.

We're talking about challenges and opportunities for Vermont farmers with Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts.
U.S. Department of Agriculture / flickr

The economy and the environment are changing quickly. How can Vermont's agricultural sector best adapt to keep up? As VPR explores the shifting landscape for Vermont farms, we're talking to Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts about the challenges and opportunities faced by our state's farmers.

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