AGRICULTURE

AS THE WORM TURNS
1:08 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

As the Worm Turns, 12/16/14

Host Jill spears welcomes Wind Clearwater to the show.

'To mulch, or not to mulch - that is the question' (from a caller.)

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AGRICULTURE
1:45 am
Wed December 17, 2014

For Crop-Duster Pilots, Wind Towers Present Danger

A pilot for Earl's Flying Service sprays chemicals on a field in southeastern Missouri.
Courtesy of Mike Lee

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 9:29 am

Crop-dusting pilots are the adrenaline junkies of the agriculture world. They whiz through the air, flying under power lines to sow seeds or spread pesticides on farmers' fields.

It's a dangerous job, and now these pilots are facing a new challenge — short towers that can sprout up in fields overnight. These towers are used to gather data for wind energy companies.

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AGRICULTURE
6:02 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Colorado Farmer Works To Ensure Diversity In Rare Sheep Breed

Black Welsh Mountain sheep, a rare breed, are being raised at Desert Weyr, a farm near Paonia, Colo.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

A rare breed of sheep is being raised in the hills of western Colorado.

Unlike the millions of white sheep found across the country, these animals are completely black and hail from the United Kingdom.

They number fewer than 10,000 worldwide. So one Colorado farmer is working with federal researchers and fellow producers to ensure the breed’s genetic diversity.

It's a sunny morning at Desert Weyr, a 40-acre sheep farm outside of Paonia. 

Oogie McGuire and her husband own this farm.

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AGRICULTURE
1:51 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Women's Work Is Never Done On The Farm, And Sometimes Never Counted

Owner Mary Kraft at Badger Creek Dairy outside Fort Morgan, Colo.
Luke Runyon KUNC/Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 9:45 am

The average American farmer is a white man in his late 50s. Or at least, that's who's in charge of the farm, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

But the number of female-run farms has tripled since the 1970s, to nearly 14 percent in 2012. And if you dig a little deeper, you'll find women are showing up in new roles. But because of the way farm businesses are structured, women's work often isn't included in those USDA counts.

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AS THE WORM TURNS
11:45 am
Wed December 10, 2014

As the Worm Turns - Tuesday, 12/9/14

Credit Zephyros Farm and Garden

Host Jill Spears welcomes Don Lareau of Zephyros Farm, a small diversified family farm on 35 acres near Paonia.

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AGRICULTURE
2:54 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Cheap Crops Mean Tight Times For Midwest's Fledgling Farmers

Like many beginning farmers, Grant Curtis wants to invest in his operation, but expectations of low prices are tying his hands.
Abby Wendle Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 4:18 pm

Farmers who just got into the business in recent years found it was a good time to both plant and harvest.

"We were all spoiled little brats the past two years, with $5, $6, $7 corn, yep," says farmer Grant Curtis.

He's sitting in the captain's chair of his combine on a brisk, overcast day in western Illinois. He's driving back and forth over rows of corn on his family's farm. Then he arcs the 80,000-pound machine off course towards a single stalk he missed.

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AGRICULTURE
3:52 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

With Harvest Season, 'Trimmigrants' Flock To California's Pot Capital

Trimmers prepare the marijuana flower, or bud, to make it more appealing to consumers. They use scissors to snip off the leaves and stems.
Brett Myers Youth Radio

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 5:42 pm

California's Humboldt County is known for its towering redwoods. But this region about 200 miles north of San Francisco has another claim to fame. Humboldt is to weed what Napa is to fine wine — it's the heart of marijuana production in the U.S.

Every fall, young people, mostly in their 20s, come from all over the world to work the marijuana harvest. They come seeking jobs as "trimmers" — workers who manicure the buds to get them ready for market. The locals have a name for these young migrant workers: "trimmigrants."

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AS THE WORM TURNS
1:50 pm
Fri November 28, 2014

As the Worm Turns - Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014

Credit Suze Smith

This will be the last program for this season with Lance Swigart & Lulu Volkhausen.

The panel started with an emailed question about grapes that aren't thriving, & show blotchy colors on the leaves. The show continues with discussion about seed saving, Hutterite beans, tool maintenance, Lance's magnificent compost pile, and more.

To honor the Thanksgiving holiday, Lance expounds on being thankful for the past 10,000 years of human efforts to grow crops, which has resulted in our current plethora of food varieties & growing methods.

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AS THE WORM TURNS
4:22 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

As the Worm Turns, Tuesday, Nov. 11th

KVNF's gardening gurus discussed finishing up this year's garden and prepping for next year. Callers from Norwood & Nucla asked about the wisdom of adding potato foliage to the compost pile, and for garlic-growing advice.

Tip of the week: Don't burn fallen leaves! Doing that is like stealing nutrients from your soil, since the trees take up those nutrients to create the leaves in the first place. Better to just run the lawn mower over them & leave them to decompose, or, if you must rake, pile them up somewhere & wait for nature to turn them back into soil.

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AGRICULTURE
11:15 am
Wed November 12, 2014

Golden State Joe: California Makes A Play For Coffee's Future

Jay Ruskey grows coffee next to avocados on his farm, Good Land Organics, in Goleta, Calif. The two crops are often grown together in Central America, partly because they can share fertilizer and water.
Lisa Morehouse KQED

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 1:29 pm

Coffee has been grown since at least the 13th century in places such as Indonesia, Ethiopia and Central and South America. Though it's not a traditional region for growing coffee, California is playing an increasingly big role in the future of this beloved and lucrative crop.

Sammy Venegas stands on a hillside in Goleta, Calif., outside Santa Barbara, that's shrouded in fog, thick with avocado trees, passion fruit and coffee plants. With a white bucket slung around his neck like a baby carrier, he picks only the reddest coffee beans.

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AGRICULTURE
1:21 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Prison Dairy Gives Inmates Job Skills — And A Sense Of Purpose

Jose Franco and his colleagues at the Corcoran prison dairy milk about 300 cows a day.
Lisa Morehouse

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 3:45 pm

Making license plates is the stereotypical job for a prisoner, but in California's Central Valley, a group of inmates are doing very different work, supplying milk to almost every prisoner in the state system.

They earn just 35 to 95 cents an hour, but inmates at Corcoran state prison say the job gives them plenty of other benefits.

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AGRICULTURE
10:21 am
Tue November 4, 2014

Fracking And Agriculture Clash In Colorado's North Fork Valley

A view of the North Fork Valley and the town of Paonia.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

The United States is the world’s largest oil and natural gas producer. North Dakota and Texas are experiencing an oil boom. And many other states are seeing natural gas production increase through hydraulic fracturing.

Colorado has nearly 53,000 active wells. But, the state’s energy boom is a source of tension. 

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AS THE WORM TURNS
1:42 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

As the Worm Turns - Tuesday, Oct. 28th

Credit Suze Smith

KVNF's gardening gurus discuss late fall chores & take calls about storing root crops, etc.

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AGRICULTURE
9:13 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Startup's New Sprays Promise Longer-Lasting Fruit, Fewer Pesticides

Apples were beginning to ripen Aug. 26 on trees at Carter Hill Orchard in Concord, N.H.
Jim Cole AP

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 6:08 am

Scientists at startup Apeel Sciences have figured out the secret to doubling lifespans. Not our lifespans, alas, but those of fruits and veggies. And they do it naturally.

It's a big deal. Worldwide, we throw away about a third of our food, some $750 billion per year — and the percentage is even higher in the United States. One reason is rot: Food goes bad before we can bite in.

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AGRICULTURE
5:01 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

New GMOs Get A Regulatory Green Light, With A Hint Of Yellow

Corn farmer Jerry McCulley sprays the weedkiller glyphosate across his cornfield in Auburn, Ill., in 2010. An increasing number of weeds have now evolved resistance to the chemical.
Seth Perlman AP

Government regulators have approved a new generation of genetically engineered corn and soybeans. They're the latest weapon in an arms race between farmers and weeds, and the government's green light is provoking angry opposition from environmentalists.

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AS THE WORM TURNS
4:47 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

As the Worm Turns - Tuesday, Oct. 14th

As the harvest season continues, garden tasks shift to fall cleanup & the beginnings of winter prep.

Due to a PBKC* error, our copy of this episode is missing a couple of minutes at the beginning of the program. We apologize for the omission.

(*Problem Between Keyboard & Chair)

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AS THE WORM TURNS
11:54 am
Thu October 9, 2014

As the Worm Turns - Tuesday, Oct. 7th

Credit Suze Smith

Are they yams, or are they sweet potatoes? And why do previously-mild chiles suddenly get hotter?

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AGRICULTURE
2:24 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Voters Will Get Their Say On GMO Labeling In Colorado And Oregon

Labels on bags of snack foods indicate they are non-GMO food products. This fall, Colorado and Oregon will be the latest states to put GMO labeling on the ballot.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 12:24 pm

Ben Hamilton walks down the salad dressing aisle at his neighborhood grocery store in west Denver. The human resources consultant usually seeks out organic options and scans nutrition information.

"I am a label reader. I think a lot of people read labels and really are curious to know what is in our food supply," he says. But Hamilton says he wants more information, specifically whether the food he buys includes ingredients derived from genetically modified crops, or GMOs.

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AS THE WORM TURNS
11:07 am
Thu October 2, 2014

As the Worm Turns - Tuesday, Sept. 30th

This week's show starts with a reminder of the seasonal downside of gardening: cold, wet hands & wet muddy feet!

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AGRICULTURE
8:30 am
Thu October 2, 2014

California Cracks Down On Farmers Market Cheaters

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

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 2:06 pm

Could that beloved farmer at your farmers market possibly be lying to you, passing off supermarket produce as locally grown?

California's state officials seem to think so. Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new law that will raise $1 million to deploy a small army of inspectors to farmers markets around the state. The inspectors will check for signs that farmers are selling fruits and vegetables that they didn't actually grow themselves, but instead picked up wholesale.

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