Agriculture

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If you like cheese, you're in luck. There's currently a surplus of cheese in the United States. But that extra cheese is actually a sign that milk prices are going down, and this is a problem for Vermont dairy farmers.

Jacob Goldstein

Farmers have started planting Vermont’s third hemp crop. Though their numbers are few, the acreage devoted to hemp has significantly increased this year, as has the direction of the state’s fledgling hemp industry.

The first soil sample results in North Bennington show very low levels of the contaminant PFOA. PFOA is a suspected carcinogen and dangerous levels of the chemical have been detected in private wells in the area.

A farm in Monkton is one step closer to conservation, thanks to a commitment from the town's select board. The board unanimously approved spending $100,000 to help conserve the 218-acre Cota Farm, on States Prison Hollow Road.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

The advocacy group Migrant Justice is calling for the release of one of their own. The group says migrant activist Victor Diaz was detained by plainclothes immigration agents in Stowe at a Mexican cultural event.

Melody Bodette / VPR

Rep. Peter Welch is co-sponsoring a bill that will make changes to the program that's supposed to be a safety net for dairy farmers in times of low milk prices.

Yu Sun Chin / For VPR

For the nearly 1,500 migrant farmworkers in Vermont, there aren't many opportunities to share their experiences with each other. A project called "El Viaje Mas Caro" hopes to change that. 

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Three years ago, lawmakers approved new slaughter regulations that gave small farmers a foothold in the local meat market. Those rules are set to expire in July, and lawmakers must now decide whether or not to extend them. 

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

Farmers are cheering plans to delay the adoption of new water quality standards on Vermont agriculture operations. Critics, however, say the decision to postpone will only exacerbate the pollution issues that have led to toxic algae blooms in Lake Champlain and other water bodies. 

tycoon751 / iStock

Fluctuating milk prices are a familiar story, but state agriculture officials say farmers are bracing for a year when prices will stay low. It’s quite a contrast to two years ago when the price farmers received for milk hit record highs.

Melody Bodette / VPR

It’s been over 10 years since migrant workers began arriving on Vermont’s dairy farms. Most of the workers have been young men who work for a few years and then return home to Mexico. But there are a number of families of farmworkers here in Vermont, and some, especially those with U.S. born children would like to stay. 

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Since his first days in office, Gov. Peter Shumlin has sought to bring about a “renaissance” in Vermont agriculture, and he’s dedicated special focus to small, diversified farms. But the owners of many of those small farms say proposed new regulations could threaten their operations.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

The southern Vermont community of Vernon will hold a non-binding Town Meeting Day vote on a proposed natural gas power plant, and an organic dairy farm is the main location under consideration.

When Vermont’s large farms file their permits on Feb. 15 they’ll be required to pay a fee for the first time.

Miner Institute

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture is set to consider new rules for how farms drain water off their fields using subsurface tile systems. Environmental groups are concerned that these systems could increase nutrient and sediment pollution in Lake Champlain. They say no new tile drainage should be installed until the rules are in place.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / vpr

A Vernon organic dairy farmer says he's been approached by developers who want to build a natural gas power plant outside the shuttered Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

Melody Bodette / VPR

The sight of bare soil and chopped down corn stalks might become rarer in Vermont, as farmers plant more winter cover crops. Agriculture officials say the practice can improve soil health and protect water quality by preventing nutrient run off.

Pat Wellenbach / AP

On the agenda at the annual Vermont Beekeepers Association meeting this week was an item about the lack of an apiary inspector since the recent retirement of the former state inspector Steve Parise.

Corey Hendrickson / Burlington Free Press

Nate and Jessie Rogers had a cow problem. The owners of Rogers Farmstead in Berlin brought the cows onto their farm to help keep the land healthy, but they didn't know what to do with all the milk.

Jon Kalish for VPR

Farmers have become allies in renewable energy development in Vermont; often they have plenty of land, but struggle to make a profit. Farmers who offer to lease their land for solar installations sometimes are met with intense opposition. But one Ryegate farmer’s solar project appears to have the blessings of his neighbors.

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