farming

StateImpact Oklahoma
9:08 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Oklahoma Right-to-Farm Legislation About More Than Agricultural Practices

Attendees listen as former Missouri state senator Wes Shoemeyer speaks against Amendment 1 at the Missouri’s Food for America sign-making event at Café Berlin Friday, June 27, 2014 in Columbia, Missouri.
KOMUNEWS / Flickr

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.

It’s a divisive national issue that’s made its way to the Sooner State, one that puts agriculture at odds with environmentalists and animal rights advocates.

In Missouri, it was a fight 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 Missouri’s constitution now reads like this: “The right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state.”

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All Tech Considered
6:17 am
Mon February 16, 2015

As Rules Get Sorted Out, Drones May Transform Agriculture Industry

Jimmy Underhill, drone technician for Agribotix, holds a drone at a farm in rural Weld County, Colorado.
Luke Runyon KUNC

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.

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The Salt
7:13 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

Are Farmers Market Sales Peaking? That Might Be Good For Farmers

A customer shops for produce at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on March 27th, 2014 in San Francisco.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

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.

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Around the Nation
3:20 pm
Sat January 3, 2015

A Young Generation Sees Greener Pastures In Agriculture

Marya Gelvosa and Josh Gerritsen run a small farm on Maine's rocky mid-coast, providing their local community with beef, lamb and heritage poultry. They're decades younger than the average American farmer, but they love the lifestyle. "It's very fulfilling work," Gelvosa says.
Josh Gerritsen Donkey Universe Farm

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 — 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 — and there's new crop of farmers to thank for it.

Fulfilling Work, Noble Work

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The Salt
12:20 pm
Sat July 19, 2014

Deploying Drones To Get An Overview Of Factory Farms

The drone in Potter's promotional video on Kickstarter. "Now I'm looking at other models (and a second drone) because some people have threatened to shoot it down," Potter says.
via Kickstarter

An independent journalist says he's found a way around the so-called "ag-gag" laws by flying drones over large livestock operations to document animal welfare problems and pollution.

Will Potter, a Washington D.C.-based author and blogger, recently raised $75,000 on Kickstarter to buy the drones and other equipment to investigate animal agriculture in the U.S.

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Hunger in Oklahoma
9:25 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Regional Food Bank Struggles from Drought-Induced Livestock Shortage

Regional Food Bank volunteers fill food sacks for distribution in one of its children's feeding programs.
Credit Quinton Chandler / KOSU

Recent years of drought have led to a huge reduction in Oklahoma’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 state’s fight against hunger.

KOSU’s Quinton Chandler reports less rain may mean fewer livestock donations to the Regional Food Bank.

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The Salt
4:06 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

California Farmers Ask: Hey Buddy, Can You Spare Some Water?

Allen Peterson's farm, near the city of Turlock, Calif., lies next to a concrete-lined canal full of water. He's one of the lucky ones.
Dan Charles/NPR

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 9:29 am

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.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
5:08 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Oklahoma’s Drought-Withered Wheat Harvest Could Have National Effects

Brothers and business partners Fred and Wayne Schmedt stand in their family's wheat field near Altus in southwest Oklahoma.
Credit Joe Wertz / State Impact Oklahoma

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 Oklahoma’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.

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Climate Change
11:29 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Public Forum Reveals Oklahomans' Frustration and Concern About Climate Change

Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

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. 

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Climate Change and Oklahoma
8:41 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Protecting Our Resources Topped Discussions at KOSU's On Tap

State Impact's Joe Wertz begins discussion on Climate Change at KOSU's On Tap

On Wednesday, April 30th, KOSU in collaboration with State Impact Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange held a discussion at Picasso's cafe in the Paseo District.  

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.

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