Farming | New Hampshire Public Radio

Farming

N.H. Farmers Face An Uncertain Spring

Apr 5, 2020
CJEJ Farm

If you thought being a New Hampshire farmer was challenging before, imagine doing it in the midst of a global pandemic. Farmers are well-acquainted with uncertainty, but this Spring, Granite State farmers are being challenged to find new ways to produce and sell their products. We talk with small family farms to find  out how they're coping, if federal subsidies are available, and if strong local connections will endure.

Air date: Monday, April 6, 2020

Alix Contosta / UNH

The US Department of Agriculture has designated eight New Hampshire Counties as primary natural disaster areas.

Last winter temperatures dropped, then warmed up. Snow melted, and rain would freeze into sheets of ice.

Oyster farming is growing in New Hampshire’s “hidden coast,"  the Great Bay.  It’s one of just a few foods that you can put on your plate that can actively make the environment cleaner as it grows.  We check in on the effort to use bivalves to restore the Great Bay, and on the businesses that are bringing N.H. oysters to market.  Hosted by  Sam Evans-Brown of Outside/In.

Air Date: Monday, December 2, 2019

A N.H. Farmer Roundtable Before Thanksgiving

Nov 22, 2019
Stout Oak Farm

With Thanksgiving approaching, we consider our agricultural heritage in the Granite State.  We talk with a few of the farmers who produce our food in this state to find out about the challenges that come with making a living off the land, take a look at challenges for farming in the future, especially in a warming climate, and we discover the joys of working with the earth and animals. Air Date: Monday, November 25, 2019

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers in eight New Hampshire counties will be eligible for emergency loans due to climate conditions last year.

The emergency credit is supposed to help agricultural producers bounce back from natural disasters.

In 2018, that meant drought in the north of the state, and too much water in the south, according to the USDA.

The Single Greatest Way To Impact NH Politics

Mar 22, 2019

Before any bill can become a law in New Hampshire, it has to have at least one public hearing, where anyone can show up and talk to their lawmakers face to face. You can tell them what you think about the bill. A lot of people have never testified at a public hearing—it’s confusing to figure when they happen and where and how to participate. So, to demystify the whole thing, Civics 101: New Hampshire is breaking down how they work. 

Farmers Mkt Produce
USDA

Organic farmers and activists from across the country are gathering in Hanover this weekend.

They're frustrated by recent US Department of Agriculture decisions widening the definition of the “Certified Organic” label, and they’re planning a new “Real Organic” label of their own.

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."

UNH

UNH has announced the completion of a two-year project to build an aquaponic research facility in Madbury.

The three aquaponic greenhouses will allow researchers to grow crops like lettuce from the nutrient-rich wastewater that comes from fish farming.

"The application of the waste as a resource is a new concept for aquaculture, especially in the United States,” says UNH agricultural engineering professor Dr. Todd Guerdat, who heads up the project at the Kingman Research Farm.

Preserving New Hampshire's Barns

Sep 12, 2018
Christina Phillips; NHPR

Barns have an important historical significance in New Hampshire, and are a major part of our landscape. But as these barns age, how can we preserve and restore them for new uses today? 

Dan Tuohy

 

A group of New Hampshire farms, restaurants and markets is promoting the "Eating Local" campaign in parts of the state this summer and fall.

Each month is being devoted to a particular theme for local harvests. June is seafood and herbs month. July will be seasonal berries and fresh dairy.

Ken Lund; Flickr

The long-standing current use program gives favorable tax treatment to landowners who preserve open space, typically farmland or forest. But current use has always had detractors, who say it sets up an unfair tax system, and reduces revenue available to towns. 

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. 

Dan Tuohy/NHPR

When Lorraine Stuart Merrill was nominated as Agriculture Commissioner in 2007, the first reporter to get her on the phone asked her how it felt to take the job when farming was all but disappearing in the state.

That wasn't the case then - and it isn't now. There's something of a boomlet going on, she says. But for Merrill it showed that she had her work cut out for her in terms of public perception.

Lauren Chooljian for NHPR

Evan Bennett has wanted to be in a pig scramble since he was four years old. And now that he’s nine, it feels like he’s been waiting pretty much forever.

He’s watched two of his older brothers get in a pen at the Deerfield Fair, chasing piglets in front of big crowds, trying to shove them into burlap sacks.

This year, Evan finally got his chance. But while he and five other kids scrambled after black, spotted piglets, protesters from around New England greeted fair visitors with signs that called the event “torture” and “animal abuse.”

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. 

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.

Peter Biello

As the world’s population increases, so does the demand for food. One way to keep up with demand would be, logically, to just produce more food. Some argue that a better strategy would be to simply stop wasting so much food. Granite Geek David Brooks writes about food waste for his column this week in The Concord Monitor and he joined NHPR’s Peter Biello to discuss his findings.

Moo! Texts from a Pregnant Cow Help Researchers at UNH

Jul 18, 2016
Moocall

Students at the University of New Hampshire are using a device called “Moocall” to monitor pregnant cows at night. The technology was developed in Ireland in 2015; UNH is one of two universities in the States to use the sensor for agricultural research. 

The sensor attaches to the cow’s tail and records movements that coincide with birthing contractions. When things start getting serious, the sensor sends a text message to the researcher, who can run into the field to help the cow give birth.

Elodie Reed / Concord Monitor

Concord Monitor reporter Elodie Reed has been following the life of a pig at a New Hampshire farm from its birth to death for the newspaper’s Ag and Eats blog. It’s an attempt to understand what goes into the creation of the meat many of us consume. NHPR’s Peter Biello spoke with Elodie when she began this project, and now it’s drawing to a close. She joined Peter another time to talk about what she’s learned.

Peter Biello

 

 Spinach, kale, and tomatoes are foods you'll have no trouble finding this time of year in New Hampshire gardens. But take a turn down a little road in Bedford and you’ll find a farm growing plants you may have never seen before, unless you’ve been to Bhutan, or parts of Africa. At Common Earth Farms, refugee families grow vegetables from around the world.

On a day that's expected to be hot, Bhutanese Refugee Dhele Niroula provides a little liquid relief to a row of plants baking in the morning sun. His father and fellow gardener, Khada Niroula, names these plants.

P. Queen / Morguefile

A seven-year long battle between dairy farmers and the large dairy companies that buy raw milk came to an end last week. A federal judge approved the settlement of an antitrust case that alleged that Dairy Farmers of America, Dairy Marketing Services, and Dean Foods worked together to drive down milk prices in the Northeast.

Farmers in eleven states, including New Hampshire and the District of Columbia, will be getting payments under the agreement. New Hampshire farmer Steve Taylor helped outline the settlement conditions. He joined NHPR’s Peter Biello to discuss the lawsuit.

Stanley Zimny via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/pAMnYj

On the Titanic, metal gates kept the unwashed from the upper crust - today's cruises offer high-rollers seclusion using key cards and velvet ropes.Today, travel perks in the new Gilded Age.

Then, from Little House on the Prairie, to the pastoral scenes printed on butter packages,  Americans tend to think of the agrarian past as wholesome and simpler . But, the real family farm has not always been pure or pretty.

Plus, Sean Hurley searches for buried treasure with a group of metal detectives.

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.

mrd00dman via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/4Ar6iz

As the obesity epidemic grows, so does the business of weight-loss - a nearly 60 billion dollar industry devoted to the promise that losing weight improves quality of life, health and self-esteem. But does shedding pounds make you happier? On today’s show, we’ll explore the tenuous relationship between losing weight and improving your mood. Plus, a scholar investigates the history of religious satire from Martin Luther to Monty Python, and explains why comedy, rather than rage, is more likely to affect change.  

There's an oil painting on one wall in the cluttered room that serves as central headquarters of Burch Farms, a large vegetable grower in Faison, N.C. The painting shows an African-American couple, the woman in a long, plain dress, the man in a homespun shirt. They're digging sweet potatoes with their bare hands and an old-fashioned hoe.

bakedbyrachel.com

Mack’s Apples Farm in Londonderry is changing ownership to the next generation of the Mack family.

Owner Andrew C. Mack says he’s passing on the farm to his son, Andrew Mack Jr. and his wife Carol Mack.

This will be the eighth generation of the Mack family to run the farm, going back to 1732.

It’s the oldest family-run farm in New Hampshire.

Sean Hurley

In 2012, the New Hampshire Mushroom Company was producing two hundred pounds of mushrooms a week in their 5000 square foot farm-warehouse in Tamworth - and struggling to sell them.  Three years later, with seven full-time employees, the farm can't keep up with the demand, selling out their weekly stock of 1,200 pounds of edible fungus usually within 24 hours. 

Dennis Chesley, part owner of the New Hampshire Mushroom Company, says there's very little gray area when it comes to mushrooms.  It's either love or hate -

Hannah McCarthy/NHPR

The late June morning grows warmer as seven refugee farmers till their new plots at Lewis Farm in Concord. This is the second "incubator" farm established by the Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success, or ORIS. After the success of their first location, the organization established another to meet the interest of their clients.

julierohloff via Flickr Creative Commons

With the weather warming up across New England, people are heading for the coast. Today Word of Mouth hits the high seas. First we'll ponder the unfathomable push and pull of the open ocean. Then, we’ll speak to an artist who created the world’s first submerged sculpture park, his underwater gallery not only attracts art-lovers, but serves as an artificial reef. Plus, farmed fish now exceeds beef production. Have fish farmers learned from the mistakes of the meat industry?

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