agriculture

Washington State Fair
2:50 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

The History Of The Puyallup Fair (Including Prizes For Hair Pulling)

Flickr Photo/Cheryl Hammond (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Val Dumond, author of "Doin' the Puyallup," about how the Washington State Fair has changed in the last 114 years.

Wildfires
11:05 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Long-Running Battle Over Fires Between Ranchers And Feds Reaches Truce

Idaho rancher Charlie Lyons helped form one of the first Rangeland Fire Protective Associations in the state.

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 2:43 pm

For years there's been a battle raging between Idaho ranchers and the federal government over whether ranchers should be able to fight wildfires.

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The Science Of Bread
9:34 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Live Free, Eat Gluten: Return Of Heirloom Grains To Washington

Farmers, scientists and bakers work side by side at the Bread Lab in Mt. Vernon.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

People usually go to Skagit Valley for tulips and berries. But here’s a little known fact: The region also grows grains. Grains used to be grown mainly as cover crop and often shipped out of state. These days Skagit Valley is seeing a grain revival, thanks to a local researcher.

If your experience with whole grain bread takes you back to the hard brick loaves of the '70s, Stephen Jones at the Bread Lab wants to change that.

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Pomme d'Affaire
4:05 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Too Many Apples, Too Few Hands In Washington

U-pick isn't a very practical solution to the problem of harvesting labor shortage.
Flickr Photo/Andrea Parrish-Geyer (CC-BY-NC-ND)

 

Ross Reynolds talks with Karen Lewis, who is trying to come up with a better way to harvest apples when there's not enough people to pick them. Lewis is a tree fruit specialist at the Washington State University.

Grassless Moonscapes
7:51 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Northwest Cattle Ranchers Struggling With Wildfires

File photo of cattle receiving fresh water and feed after being stressed by fire.

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 4:13 pm

Northwest cattle ranchers are struggling to get their herds out of the way of raging wildfires. Some herds have been lost, others badly injured.

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Slideshow
10:31 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Fatal Attraction: Ospreys In A Bind With Baling Twine, Fishing Line

This is how ospreys' unhealthy affinity for baling twine can kill. Idaho Fish and Game biologist Beth Waterbury rescued this osprey in the nick of time.
Beth Waterbury Idaho Fish and Game

Originally published on Wed August 6, 2014 3:21 pm

Osprey nests are a common sight near rivers, lakes and bays in the Northwest. If you look closely with binoculars, you might notice some of these large raptors like to line their nests with discarded baling twine or fishing line. The problem is it can kill them.

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Pot Grows
6:25 am
Mon August 4, 2014

Dark 'n' Light: Is It Better To Grow Marijuana Indoors Or Out?

Toni Reita, of Black Dog Acres in Goldendale, Washington, waters her starts.

Originally published on Tue August 5, 2014 10:35 am

As legal pot growing operations spring to life from urban King County to remote corners of Washington state, an ongoing debate has developed within this new farming community.

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WWOOFing
3:57 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Why People Travel The World To Work On Farms

Carrie Costello's tattoo memorializing a baby goat that died. Costello, 23, is a Boston native participating in the WWOOFing program.
KUOW Photo/Matthew Streib

Ross Reynolds talks with Sarah Potenza, executive director of the U.S. branch of Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, about how young people are taking unpaid internships on organic farms.

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Fertilizing The Fields
1:03 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Should We Return The Nutrients In Our Pee Back To The Farm?

More than 170 volunteers in the Brattleboro, Vt., area have contributed urine to the Rich Earth Institute field trials.
Mike Earley/Courtesy of Rich Earth Institute

Originally published on Tue August 5, 2014 9:35 am

Let me guess how you feel about your urine: Get that smelly stuff away from me as fast as possible?

A small group of environmentalists in Vermont isn't as squeamish. Instead of flushing their pee down the drain, they're collecting it with special toilets that separate No. 1 and No. 2.

Then they're pooling the urine of the 170 volunteers in the pilot project (a quart or so, per person, daily) and eventually giving it to a farmer, who's putting it on her hay fields in place of synthetic fertilizer. The goal is to collect 6,000 gallons this year.

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Sharing Economy
3:03 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Seattle Startup Seeks To Create Foodsharing Community

A local startup is entering into the trend of social marketplaces with foodsharing.
From Ubrlocal's Facebook page

Ross Reynolds talks with Kamal Patel, co-founder of Ubrlocal, a marketplace for Seattle gardeners and farmers to share their wares.

Urban Agriculture
3:48 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

4-H Teaches Poultry Prowess To Urban Kids

Katie Moen (second from right), of Ballard, won at the King County Fair last weekend.
KUOW Photo/Matthew Streib

Ross Reynolds discussed the 4-H Club's program to teach kids responsibility and life skills by raising poultry. Despite its reputation as a rural organization, 4-H has been reaching urban kids as well. This year's junior poultry showmanship winner at the King County Fair was 10-year-old Katie Moen of Ballard with her Silkie bantam.

Wine
7:06 am
Mon June 23, 2014

What Climate Change Could Mean For Your Grape Juice

Washington State University researcher Markus Keller is looking into ways to continue growing juice grapes a warming climate. If summers get too hot, it will be trouble for Washington's most widely planted grape variety.
Courtney Flatt

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 7:34 am

PROSSER, Wash. -- The sun beats down as researcher Markus Keller leans in to inspect his experimental vineyard.

“As you can see here, there’s a lot of flowers forming on the different shoots,” Keller says.

The grape leaves hang down like a curtain over the rows of vines. This year’s crop looks to be strong.

For connoisseurs of fine grape jellies and juices, this is a reason to rejoice. For collectors of fine wines? Not so much.

These are Concord grapes -- which make up 99 percent of the variety that go in to juice and jelly production, Keller says.

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Agriculture
7:02 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Northwest Wheat Harvest Could Be Down This Summer

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 5:27 pm

Farmers in Oregon, Idaho and Washington are expected to harvest less wheat this summer. The weather forecast has a lot to do with it.

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Agriculture
2:29 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

In The Making Of Megafarms, A Mixture Of Pride And Pain

When families give up farming and move away, it drains life out of small communities.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 8:37 am

It seems that everybody, going back at least to Thomas Jefferson, loves small family farms.

Yet those beloved small farms are becoming increasingly irrelevant. Big farms are taking over.

According to the latest census of American agriculture, released this year, there are two million farms in America. But just four percent of those farms account for two-thirds of all agricultural production.

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Agriculture
1:06 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 6:29 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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