Agriculture

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

Governor Sununu signed a bill on Wednesday aimed at supporting New Hampshire's struggling dairy industry. 

 

The law establishes the Dairy Premium Fund, a New Hampshire-specific logo for dairy products to be sold at a premium in grocery stores and increase revenue for participating farmers.

 


Farmers Mkt Produce
USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently published a census report on New Hampshire’s farming industry. The data shows that New Hampshire farms are becoming smaller and more profitable.

 

The USDA report, which is done every five years, shares numbers from 2017.

 

Some key findings:

Elaine Grant, NHPR

A little over a year ago, former Speaker of the N.H. House Shawn Jasper traded in his Speaker’s gavel  for the job of Commissioner of the N.H. Department of Agriculture, Markets, and Food.

Jasper suggested on The Exchange this week that he doesn’t miss the tussle of Statehouse politics -- dealing with 399 lawmakers, constant deadlines, and the scheduling of bills.

When it comes to his new job, Jasper said, “There are still issues here, of course, but I feel I’m able to help people a lot more directly." 

Jasper also outlined what he feels his department can and cannot do when it comes to resolving disputes over agritourism and advising farmers with concerns about the effects of climate change.  On the latter, Jasper said: "That is more UNH Cooperative Extension's role. That’s not something we’re able to do."

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

More than 5,000 visitors and dozens of farm animals are descending on the Double Tree Hotel in downtown Manchester for this weekend's New Hampshire Farm and Forest Expo.

The annual event features workshops and trade booths on the state’s farming and forestry industry, as well as kid-friendly booths with farm animals and craft demonstrations.

Gesturing toward a crowd gazing at goats, organizer and state forester A.J. Dupere says visitors come from a mix of backgrounds.

Annie Ropeik for NHPR

A farmer in Loudon is calling it quits on a years-long project – to breed a rare type of turkey called the Chocolate turkey.

They’re thought to be one of the tastiest breeds in the world – but that hasn’t been enough to sustain them. NHPR’s Annie Ropeik explains why.

NHDES

State officials gathered Thursday for an update on the drought that now covers all of Southern and Central New Hampshire.

They typically hold this meeting once a drought has persisted for several weeks. This one began in May and may spread to the whole state by fall.

The state’s last drought management working group meeting was in 2016, when drought came on more slowly than this year’s, but ended up lasting longer and being more severe.  

Todd Bookman/NHPR

There’s a field in Peterborough that makes all the other fields jealous. It’s about a mile from downtown, roughly 20 acres, with a small stand of trees in the southwest corner.

It’s a great-looking field. Stand in the middle, and you’re rewarded with views of Mt. Monadnock.  

Stan Fry believes there’s just one thing missing from this place.

Britta Greene for NHPR

Right now, a group of hydroelectric dams on the Connecticut River are undergoing a once-in-a-generation process – a federal relicensing. NHPR’s Annie Ropeik went to the dams and talked with people who live, work and play nearby about what they hope might change.  

The Thompson School of Applied Science at UNH will be cutting four programs from its curriculum.

Two-year degrees in horticulture technology, culinary arts and nutrition, civil technology, and integrated agriculture management will not be offered after the 2018-2019 academic year.

All Things Considered Host Peter Biello interviewed UNH horticulture technology student Brooke Wilson about the changes.

(This transcript has been lightly edited.)  

Brooke thank you very much for speaking with me.

University of New Hampshire Updates 2-year Degree School

Mar 12, 2018
Mike Ross / UNH

  The University of New Hampshire is changing its two-year degree programs to refocus on agriculture and respond to evolving workforce needs.

Officials recently completed a four-year review of the Thompson School of Applied Science, which has been offering two-year associate degree programs for 125 years.

Three programs — forest technology, animal science focused on livestock and large animal veterinary technology — will be integrated more closely with four-year degree programs, while four other programs will be dropped after 2019.

GouldHillFarm.com

A proposal to make it easier for New Hampshire farms to host things like weddings and larger-scale events will be up for consideration by state lawmakers in January.

The issue has come up repeatedly in recent years, both in the state legislature and in court cases.

Local regulations on what's known as 'agritourism' — events that bring visitors onto farm property — vary significantly from town-to-town.

Henniker Christmas tree farmer Stephen Forster, for example, has been fighting with officials in his town for years to host weddings on his property.

Peter Biello/NHPR

  House Speaker Shawn Jasper spent some time this afternoon in his office on the third floor of the Statehouse filling a box with stuff. All Things Considered host Peter Biello caught up with Jasper as he packed up.

NHPR: What's in the box? What are you taking home?

Jasper: Papers. Cards. You know, a Gavel in there. Just a lot of personal stuff that I'm taking home that I'll sort through later. 

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The burned out shell of Lemay and Sons’ slaughtering facility still sits untouched, the charred studs visible like a rack of overcooked ribs.

On October 6th, a fire ripped through the main production building of this family-run business, where locally raised cows and pigs have been turned into beef and bacon since 1963. No one was hurt in the fire, and no cause has yet been determined.

Rick Lemay, youngest of six and current operator of the business, says since the fire, he’s felt and seen an unexpected outpouring of support from the community.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

In a scenario that was reminiscent of his earlier rise as Speaker of the House, Republican Shawn Jasper narrowly squeaked through as New Hampshire’s new agriculture commissioner — thanks to support from the opposite party.

When Jasper was elected Speaker in 2014, House Democrats joined with a handful of Republicans to secure his nomination. On Wednesday, the Executive Council's two Democrats also joined with one Republican to confirm Jasper as agriculture commissioner.

Allegra Boverman

The Speaker of the New Hampshire House is looking to put down his gavel to lead the state’s agriculture department.  Although it may be an unusual career move, Speaker Shawn Jasper says he’s been eyeing the commissioner's job for a while. 

Jasper grew up in a family of poultry farmers. His grandfather and father bred chickens for nearly 75 years in Hudson - producing more than 160 million eggs. 

Jasper says he’s continued to keep up on agriculture issues over the years through the legislature and as a nearly 30-year advisor to UNH's agriculture fraternity.

North Haverhill Farm Workshop Caters to Local Vets

Jul 17, 2017
Michael Samuels

A small group of New Hampshire veterans will gather in North Haverhill Tuesday to learn about farm equipment and the agricultural industry in the state. 

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Some late season snow and a string of decent weather in New Hampshire are creating a bumper crop of strawberries in backyards and on farms this year. 

iStock Photo

We may be hearing a lot about bees this week. It's national pollinator week - a chance to talk about the important role pollinators play in agriculture and the environment. And in New Hampshire, several organizations are planning events

As the populations of pollinators decline, national organizations like the Pollinator Partnership are working to raise awareness about the bats, bees, and butterflies that pollinate our crops.

Ben Henry

In a plant-filled apartment in Lebanon during the heat wave this week, Helen Brody drank iced tea and recalled the rise and fall of the New Hampshire Farms Network (NHFN). She launched the website in 2008, to nurture local food culture at a time when “local food” was barely a thing.

For the past decade, the NHFN website had been a source of in-depth profiles on New Hampshire farmers and their families. This April, it closed down, although the New Hampshire Historical Society recently made plans to acquire the profiles.

Courtesy

The best weather in all of New England right now is inside LEF Farms new $10 million greenhouse. It’s 75-degrees, August-level humid, with fans pushing out a soft breeze.

Operations manager Bob LaDue points out the beneficiaries of this artificial climate.

“That’s mezuna and cress,” he says, naming two of LEF Farms seven varieties of baby greens. “This is part of our spice mix.”

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Cruise along just about any back road in New Hampshire and you’re likely to come across an old wooden barn. The state is home to more than 15,000 of them, each one an iconic reminder of New Hampshire’s agricultural roots.

But after decades of neglect, there’s no shortage of run-down eyesores out there, seemingly one good wind gust away from collapsing.

Brian Boucheron via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/4E4P5U

The intersection between technology and food makes a lot of people wary. Concerns over industrialized food, GMOs and big agriculture’s profit motive have sparked a foodie movement that demands whole, responsibly grown fare. On today’s show, an agricultural economist says high tech methods are crucial when it comes to confronting obesity, environmental degradation, and global hunger.

We'll also talk with humorist Roy Blount Jr. who grew up in a southern home, where butter was considered a food group, and you had to save room for pie!  Plus a look into a new airline that caters to fashion’s elite.     

Jacqui Jade O'Donnell / Flickr/CC

From petting zoos to pick-your-own, farmers across New Hampshire are diversifying in new ways to stay afloat. But that’s raising tensions in some towns, where neighbors say large-scale events like weddings can be a nuisance. We look at the impact of a recent state Supreme Court ruling on the issue and how lawmakers are exploring solutions.

New Hampshire Milk Production Up Slightly In 2016

Apr 25, 2016
S Cook/Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire milk production ticked up slightly in the first quarter of the year. 

The latest data from the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service shows 72 million pounds of milk produced between January and March.

File photos

It's late August, and that means right now, it's the sweet spot for locally grown food. This brief time allows Granite Staters to harvest what's been growing all summer, and we also get to look forward to the fall picking season. Apples, pumpkins, and more.

Joining me now to talk about the state of New Hampshire's agriculture is George Hamilton, with the UNH Cooperative Extension.

New Hampshire maple syrup producers saw higher yields last winter compared to the previous year.

Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture found New Hampshire produced 154,000 gallons of syrup this year, compared to 112,000 in 2014.

Cold weather shortened the maple syrup season by several days in 2015, but yield per tap rose in New Hampshire over the winter.

Syrup production in the northeast totaled 2.96 million gallons, up 7 percent from 2014.

Concord Farmers Market

May is when many farmers markets get underway or move from indoor markets to outdoor locations.

Jane Lang is president of the New Hampshire Farmers Market Association. She says it’s still early in the growing season, but over time consumers will see more options.

“A lot of them bring a lot of their seeds and things like that to the market," Lang says. "But you’re going to start seeing the vegetables coming probably in the next few weeks.”

The Science of GMOs: Possibilities And Limitations

Apr 23, 2015
James Jerome, Flickr/CC

Genetically modified organisms are a favorite villain of the modern food debate, with claims they threaten human health and the environment. But while many of these concerns have been debunked, media hype around this topic often distracts from the facts. We’re digging into that, and the possibilities and limitations of genetic engineering.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

Governor Maggie Hassan kicked off this year’s apple picking season with the ceremonial first pick Thursday at Gould Hill Farm in Contoocook.

This year’s apple crop is not expected to be quite as fruitful as last year’s.

Governor Hassan plucked a few ripe apples and encouraged families to get out to their local farms and pick some of their own.

“There are in fact great apples here in New Hampshire. We got through the winter. We’ve got a crop and we’re really really eager to have a great apple season.

As more Granite Staters set up coops, some of their neighbors are crowing over the noise –and local governments are having to step in. We’ll talk about caring for the chickens you own and dealing with the chickens you don’t.

GUESTS:

  • Dot Perkins - field specialist and a member of the livestock team for the UNH Cooperative Extension out of the Merrimack County Office in Boscawen.
  • Jason Reimers - land use lawyer for BCM Environmental & Land Law.

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