AGRICULTURE

Agriculture, land issues and gardening concerns in the KVNF listening area.

photo of Lance
Suze Smith

Host Jill Spears & gardening gurus Lance Swigart & Lulu Volckhausen chat about current conditions in the garden & take calls from Redlands Mesa, Montrose & even Monticello, Utah.

Rancho del Gallo Farm

Host Jill Spears welcomes her regular guest gardeners Lulu Volckhausen & Lance Swigart, plus special guest Caren von Gontard of Rancho del Gallo Farm in Paonia. Caren is a proponent of biodynamic & homeodynamic farming techniques.  She is also involved in bringing Enzo Nastati from Eureka Institute in Italy to the Western Slope for a seminar in August.

photo of Lance
Suze Smith

Another lively conversation about gardening issues with host Jill Spears & gardeners Lulu Volckhausen & Lance Swigart.

Host Jill Spears & gardeners Lulu Volckhausen & Lance Swigart chat about the onset of summer and what's happening in their gardens, and they take calls from listeners.

There's a renaissance in local and regional food, and it's not just farmers markets in urban areas that are driving it.

http://sustainablesettings.org

Host Jill Spears is joined by gardeners Lance Swigart, Lulu Volckhausen & special guest Brook LeVan of Sustainable Settings in Carbondale.

Host Jill Spears visits with gardener Lance Swigart & special guest Ron Godin from CSU Extension Service.

What if farmers, instead of picking up some agricultural chemicals at their local dealer, picked up a load of agricultural microbes instead?

It's something to contemplate, because some big names in the pesticide business — like Bayer and Monsanto — are putting money behind attempts to turn soil microbes into tools that farmers can use to give their crops a boost.

It's a symptom of the soaring interest in the ways microbes affect all of life. In our bodies, they help fight off disease. In the soil, they help deliver nutrients to plants, and perhaps much more.

For some people, too much salt is bad for health. Too much salt is also bad for growing most crops.

Salty soil is a common problem for farmers in the arid West and it's gotten worse because of the ongoing drought. Water is necessary to flush salts out; without it, salt builds up over time.

In New Mexico, one crop that's suffering is the state's beloved chile pepper.

Rudy Mussi is not the California farmer you've been hearing about. He is not fallowing all his fields or ripping up his orchards due to a lack irrigation water.

For Mussi and most of his neighbors in the bucolic Sacramento Delta, the water is still flowing reliably from the pumps and into the canals lining the fields.

"If you had to pick a place where you would say, 'Okay, where should I stick my farm?' You'd come to the Delta," he says.

Our weekly conversation about Western Slope gardening, hosted by Jill Spears, with gardening gurus Lance Swigart & Lulu Volkhausen.

Suze Smith

Host Jill Spears chats with gardeners Lulu Volkhausen & Lance Swigart about spring chores, wetter-than-normal weather, and more. They also take a few calls.

Sheep ranchers, feedlot owners, and processors in states like Colorado, Nebraska and Illinois are banking on America becoming a more diverse place.

Specifically, they want American Muslims to buy more of their lamb.

Host Jill Spears visits with gardening experts Lance Swigart & Lulu Volkhausen.

A lively discussion about seed saving. Host Jill Spears is joined by regular guests Lance Swigart and Lulu Volkhausen, along with special guests Pat Frazier and Sara Pope. Pat is a biodynamic gardening expert, and Sara is in charge of the seed library at Hotchkiss Public Library.

Jessica Reeder via Flickr (CC BY creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

Our regular host, Jill Spears, is away this week, so Patricia Naft is acting as guest host. Gardeners Lance Swigart & Lulu Volkhausen discuss  a variety of issues, including the "dirty dozen," non-organic products that have the highest levels of pesticide residues. Weather, of course, is a big subject this week, as we had a bout of cold temperatures & quite a bit of snow. Several callers chimed in with questions & comments.

A bill to expand farm-to-school programs in Colorado initially cleared the state House Tuesday, but it still faces objections from some lawmakers who call it unnecessary.

House Bill 1088 [.pdf] would set up grants to help farms and ranches meet federal safety standards to they could sell their locally produced food to schools.

"This program boosts our economy, it creates jobs, and we have schools right now who want to buy more local food from our farmers and the supply chain does not exist," said bill sponsor Representative Faith Winter (D-Westminster).

A farm in Iowa is going to destroy more than five million of its chickens in an attempt to curb the spread of the highly infectious avian flu.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed the H5N2 avian influenza outbreak Monday, adding that the agency says that there is little chance that humans could become infected. According to the department's press release:

Produce, Vegetables, Thistle Whistle
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Colorado State University is surveying farmers and travelers for a study on agritourism.

Earlier this year, nearly 800 farmers across Colorado received a questionnaire from CSU’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

The survey asks producers about agritourism. The university wants to know what portion of their business comes from the industry, how they attract tourists and what challenges they face.

The study is partnership between CSU and the University of California, Davis.

Host Jill Spears gets into spring issues with gardeners Lance Swigart & Lulu Volkhausen.

California is parched. Wells are running dry. Vegetable fields have been left fallow and lawns are dying. There must be some villain behind all this, right?

Of course there is. In fact, have your pick. As a public service, The Salt is bringing you several of the leading candidates. They have been nominated by widely respected national publications and interest groups.

There's just one problem: Not all of these shady characters live up to their nefarious job description. Let us explain.

1. Almonds

worms
flickr/sterlingcollege

Host Jill Spears welcomes Lance Swigart and Lulu Volkhausen to the Bamboo Room for a lively spring gardening discussion.

Pesticide-free? Nurtured with organic fertilizer? No antibiotics?

Ask any shopper, and you're bound to find mixed answers for what an organic label means.

Now, an association is trying to draw funding from something called a "checkoff" to pay for consumer advertising and research. For a checkoff to work, each farmer pays a small amount. For example, a penny-per-bushel of wheat or a dollar per cow would generate millions of dollars in pooled funding that could pay for splashy ad campaigns.

daffodils
Laura Palmisano

Our regular host Jill Spears caught a bug, so news host Patricia Naft filled in, with gardening guru Lance Swigart. More spring chores, & signs that the season is generally arriving weeks early this year.  

Colorado is famous for its beer and its beef. But what about its farm drones?

photo of Lance
Suze Smith

Host Jill Spears & 'Gardening Guru' Lance Swigart discuss early spring gardening chores as spring seems to be arriving about 3 weeks early. They also encourage their listeners to call & pledge support to KVNF during the Spring Pledge Drive, which arrived right on schedule!

worms
flickr/sterlingcollege

This program was a repeat of a February show about pruning, due to a short-notice guest cancelation.

Host Jill Spears, guest Lance Swigart.

  Host Jill Spears is joined by Paonia Community Garden organizer Ryan Strand.

When it comes to the current controversy over antibiotic use on farm animals, milk is in a special category.

Lactating cows, unlike hogs, cattle or chickens that are raised for their meat, don't receive antibiotics unless they are actually sick. That's because drug residues immediately appear in the cow's milk — a violation of food safety rules.

Milk shipments are tested for six of the most widely used antibiotics, and any truckload that tests positive is rejected. So when cows are treated, farmers discard their milk for several days until the residues disappear.

Sara Creech has grown dependent on farming. She started out planting an orchard of fruit trees: apples, peaches, cherries and pears. She added berry bushes and rows of vegetables.

And then she bought her first chickens.

"A lot of people call chickens the gateway animal," says Creech, who lives in rural North Salem, Ind. "Like once you have a chicken on the farm, then you end up getting sheep on the farm, and then you end up getting horses, and cows. And then it just explodes from there."

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