agriculture

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

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.

Too Many Apples, Too Few Hands In Washington

Aug 12, 2014
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.

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

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.

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.

Why People Travel The World To Work On Farms

Aug 1, 2014
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.

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.

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.

4-H Teaches Poultry Prowess To Urban Kids

Jul 21, 2014
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.

What Climate Change Could Mean For Your Grape Juice

Jun 23, 2014

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.

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

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.

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.

Rod Hatfield

Did you know there are bees at Sea-Tac Airport? Twenty beehives are already in place in green space around the airport. And tonight, a two-day hackathon gets going that’s centered around the idea of bees and flight. It’s connected to a new art installment that’s going in at Sea-Tac: “Flight Path.”

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