Agriculture

Randolph Center farmer David Silloway offers free milk samples at the annual Farm Show. An oversupply or organic milk has stalled Silloway's plans to earn a higher price for his product.
John Dillon / VPR

Organic dairy farmers are getting paid less because of an oversupply of their milk, a market glut that’s led one major organic buyer to delay signing on new farmers.

For dairy farms in New England, the outlook for milk prices is not good this year. The stress has been tied to suicides among dairy farmers.

Secretary of Natural Resources Julie Moore, left, says a federal rollback of fuel efficiency standards for vehicles sold in Vermont could thwart the state's push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
John Dillon / VPR file

Phosphorus is a basic building block of life. It’s in our bones, and it helps plants grow. But too much of this good thing is bad for places like Lake Champlain, where the nutrient fuels toxic algae blooms.

'Vermont Edition' is broadcasting live Thursday from the 2018 Vermont Farm Show.
Matthew Smith / VPR

The Champlain Valley Expo is hosting more than 150 exhibitors over three days for this year's Vermont Farm Show, and Vermont Edition will be there too, broadcasting live. We'll talk to some of the folks there about what they do - farmers, exhibitors, and whomever else we find.

Workers pick through salad greens at Pete's Greens in Craftsbury. Pete's Greens is one of the large farms in the state that will have to comply with new food safety rules this year.
Howard Weiss-TIsman / VPR

Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act back in 2011 to cut down on foodborne illnesses in the produce industry, and the law just went into effect on Vermont's larger farms on Jan. 26.

Dairy cows eat at the Sweet Farm in Fletcher earlier this month.
Melody Bodette / VPR

Talk to any dairy farmer and ask what worries them these days and they all say the same thing: it's the low price of milk. But it's not just conventional dairy farmers who are feeling the economic pinch. Organic milk prices are also down.

As the story goes, Henry Schwartz's grandfather bought a herd of cows in Manhattan in the early 1900s and walked them across the Williamsburg Bridge all the way to the family farm in Elmurst, a neighborhood in Queens. By 1919, Schwartz's father, Max, and uncle, Arthur, were bottling milk under the name Elmhurst Dairy. By the 21st century, Elmhurst's milk could be found across New York City, from elementary schools to Starbucks.

Will Lambek, left, and Enrique Balcazar, with Migrant Justice, say the new fair and impartial policing policy opens to door to increased collaboration between local police and federal immigration authorities.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Migrant farmworkers say a new policy to encourage bias-free policing in Vermont could actually end up increasing cooperation between state law enforcement agencies and federal immigration authorities.

This 19th-century barn is located near Pittsford's town center. Baird and Betsy Morgan bought the barn, farmhouse and 20 acres of land last year and want to turn it into a community center.
Nina Keck / VPR

What if 20 picturesque acres of land in the center of your town became available, and you and your neighbors got to decide what to do with it?

Well that’s the question being asked in Pittsford, a town that straddles Route 7 between Rutland and Brandon.

Food Stamp Program Makes Fresh Produce More Affordable

Jan 16, 2018

Rebeca Gonzalez grew up eating artichokes from her grandmother's farm in the central Mexican state of Tlaxcala. But for years after emigrating to the U.S., she did not feed them to her own kids because the spiky, fibrous vegetables were too expensive on this side of the border.

When she prepared meals at her family's home in Garden Grove, Calif., Gonzalez would also omit avocados, a staple of Mexican cuisine that are often costly here.

West Addison dairy farmer Rob Hunt has employed migrant workers for more than a decade. He says they have been vital to the success of his operation., and he's worried about their future.
John Dillon / VPR

An escalation in immigration enforcement over the past year has brought a new level of anxiety for the several thousand migrant farm workers living in Vermont.

Melody Bodette / VPR

Just as Vermonters are thawing out from a subzero temperatures, snow on Thursday will be followed by dangerous wind chills on Friday and Saturday.

Those temperatures are tough on the humans, but the state is also home thousands of dairy cows. How do all those cows, and their farmers stay warm? VPR visited one dairy farm to find out.

Mary-Ellen Lovinsky of East Hardwick.
Emily Corwin / VPR

Farm runoff isn't just polluting Vermont lakes and streams — nitrate from manure and fertilizer is also contaminating private drinking wells.

And although the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets has regulatory authority, its response is inconsistent, and often undocumented.

Will Lambek of Migrant Justice says a traffic stop and subsequent detention of two migrant farmworkers is evidence the state needs to strengthen its fair and impartial policing policy.
John Dillon / VPR

A Franklin County, Vermont sheriff's officer called for the U.S. Border Patrol after he pulled over two Mexican farmworkers for a traffic violation last August. 

Holiday dinners are not what they used to be for my family. They’re smaller and quieter. Parents and grandparents on both sides of the family are long gone, and Liz and I are now the senior generation.

An array of cheeses is displayed at a cheese festival. Many Vermont cheeses have won national and international awards. Dr. Paul Kindstedt tells Vermont Edition why.
Catherine Hays / VPR File

Vermont cheesemakers frequently earn prestigious titles in national and international cheese competitions. At the World Cheese Awards last week, Jasper Hill’s “Little Hosmer” garnered the title of Best New Cheese. “Little Hosmer” and Vermont Creamery’s “Cremont” were both awarded Super Gold medals, making it among the top 66 cheeses in the world. 

But while many in enjoy Vermont cheeses, can you describe why?

Courtesy: NOFA-VT

Are Organic Standards working?

We talk with Maddie Kempner, membership and advocacy coordinator with NOFA-VT, to answer this question. We’ll also hear from Pete Johnson, owner of Pete’s Greens in Craftsbury and Jesse McDougall of Studio Hill Farm in Shaftsbury. Hill helped author a bill on  regenerative agriculture currently before the Vermont Senate.

On a recent Sunday, as warm sun burned the morning dew off the cover crops at Wild Roots Farm in Bristol, Jon Turner explained the guiding philosophy behind his unique agriculture operation.

Brett, who served in the Army, has brought in a small flock of sheep to start reclaiming the soil.

Sabrina and Lucas Papineau with their children, Jeremiah and Aubrey, at the Papineau Family Farm in Highgate Springs. The Papineaus say farming helped them reintegrate as a family after Lucas' deployment to Afghanistan in 2010..
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Nearly 4,000 Vermont veterans have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11, and many are still dealing with the invisible wounds of the nation’s longest-running war. Some of them, however, have begun to find healing through farming.

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