USDA

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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FOOD
3:50 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Kalettes, Broccoflower And Other Eye-Popping Vegetables For 2015

Broccoflower was originally grown in Holland and hit the U.S. market in 1989. It's remained a relatively specialty item since then, but culinary experts say it may soon become more widely available.
Brand X Pictures Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 4:22 pm

Does a cross between Brussels sprouts and kale sound like your vegetable dream come true? Maybe so, if you're someone who's crazy for cruciferous vegetables and all the fiber and nutrients they pack in.

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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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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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FOOD
4:28 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

NOCO Cluster Wants To Boost Local Food's Economic Heft

Getting food from a farmers field to a market or a restaurant can be tough. Behind the scenes parts of the supply chain like distribution and processing are often forgotten.

Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 8:43 am

More cities want to take eating local food from just a hip trend to an economic generator. But as with many grassroots movements, there can be some growing pains along the way. Northern Colorado advocates are trying a new model to spur growth and they’re borrowing ideas from the tech sector.

The cluster model is seen as a way to address those pains by bringing all the regional players together to solve problems affecting each piece of the supply chain that takes a locally-grown carrot from the ground to your plate.

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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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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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AGRICULTURE
9:27 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Local Motion: An In-Depth Look At What Organic Farming Really Means

Thistle Whistle is a 15-acre farm in Hotchkiss,Colo.
Credit Laura Palmisano

On this week's Local Motion, we’ll be looking at organic farming, and really, what that means.  There are a number of unique certifications that differentiate produce from conventional farming.  It can get a little confusing as to what the word "organic" means, what makes a farm certified USDA organic, and why some farmers choose different programs, or none at all.  

KVNF's Jake Ryan talked to Steve Ela, Mark Waltermire, Lynn Gillespie, and Don Holt. 

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