Oklahoma voters have at least a year before seeing ads for and against state questions on the ballot in November 2016. But you might want to get used to hearing this phrase now: right-to-farm.
Itâ€™s a divisive nationalÂ issue thatâ€™s made its way to the Sooner State,Â one that puts agriculture at odds with environmentalists and animal rights advocates.
In Missouri,Â it was a fightÂ between two sides that loathe each other. The right-to-farm amendment narrowly passed there in 2014, and not until after a recount. Part of Missouriâ€™s constitution nowÂ reads like this: â€śThe right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state.â€ť
Originally published on Mon February 16, 2015 4:57 pm
On a breezy morning next to a cornfield in rural Weld County, Colo., Jimmy Underhill quickly assembles a black and orange drone with four spinning rotors.
"This one just flies itself," he says. "It's fully autonomous."
Underhill is a drone technician with Agribotix, a Colorado-based drone startup that sees farmers as its most promising market. Today he's training his fellow employees how to work the machine in the field.
Originally published on Fri February 6, 2015 8:25 am
After more than a decade of explosive growth, sales of local food at U.S. farmers' markets are slowing. A January report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that while more farmers are selling directly to consumers, local food sales at farmers markets, farm stands and through community supported agriculture have lost some momentum.
Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 10:54 am
America's heartland is graying. The average age of a farmer in the U.S. is 58.3 â€” and that number has been steadily ticking upward for more than 30 years.
Overall, fewer young people are choosing a life on the land. But in some places around the country, like Maine, that trend is reversing. Small agriculture may be getting big again â€” and there's new crop of farmers to thank for it.
Recent years of drought have led to a huge reduction in Oklahomaâ€™s cattle population and record high prices. This year is no different.
Less rain means less grazing, a weaker wheat harvest, higher prices for grain, and on and on the costs go. But, the drought may also make it more difficult for Oklahoma farmers to lend a hand in the stateâ€™s fight against hunger.
KOSUâ€™s Quinton Chandler reports less rain may mean fewer livestock donations to the Regional Food Bank.
Imagine if a gallon of milk cost $3 in your town, but 100 miles away it cost $100, or even $200.
Something similar is happening right now in California with water that farmers use to irrigate their crops. Some farmers are paying 50 or even 100 times more for that water than others who live just an hour's drive away.
The situation is provoking debate about whether water in California should move more freely, so that it can be sold to the highest bidder.
Four years of extreme drought has withered the agricultural economies of southern Great Plains states like Oklahoma, where farmers are bracing for one of the worst wheat crops in state history.
And Oklahomaâ€™s withered wheat harvest could have national consequences.
Wayne Schmedt adjusts his faded blue cap and crouches down in a wind-whipped field near Altus in southwest Oklahoma. His brother and business partner, Fred, grins and waits. The jokes start before the dusty rain gauge is pulled from the cracked dirt.
Last week, StateImpact hosted a public forum on how climate change affects Oklahoma. A panel of experts took audience questions on water and agriculture, and as Joe Wertz reports, if this discussion is any guide, Oklahomans are curious, frustrated and concerned about climate change.Â
On Wednesday, AprilÂ 30th,Â KOSUÂ in collaboration with State Impact Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange held a discussion at Picasso's cafe in theÂ PaseoÂ District.Â Â
State Impact's Joe Wertz and Logan Layden led the discussion with Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts Executive Director Clay Pope and David Engle, Director of the Oklahoma Water Resources Center at Oklahoma State University. The packed crowd discussed climate change and protecting the state's valuable land and water.