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agriculture

A lawsuit led by the ACLU is challenging Idaho's brand new, so-called “ag-gag” law aimed at stopping undercover animal rights activists from making videos of abuse at farms and slaughter houses.

In central Washington, state officials and farmers are scrambling to save orchards at risk of drying up because of a drawdown of the Columbia River.

Thousands of acres of high-value cherry and apple orchards behind the damaged Wanapum Dam are at serious risk.

Demise Of The Alpaca Bubble

Mar 6, 2014
Flickr Photo/Shelby Root (CC BY-NC-ND)

David Hyde talks with Rich Sexton, chair of the Agricultural and Resource Economics Department at the University of California, Davis. Sexton explains the making of the alpaca boom and why it's now bursting.

An agreement announced Wednesday between ranchers and Native American tribes seeks to resolve contentious water rights issues in the Klamath Basin, a drought-ridden region spanning southern Oregon and northern California.

Amidst a deep drought last summer, the Klamath Tribes and the federal government called on their senior water rights –- meaning they received access to limited water supplies.

Northwest potato growers say they've been snubbed in a federal nutrition program.

Oregon farmers are hoping the state Legislature makes it worth their while to donate crops that would otherwise go to waste.

Northwest farmers call him “the weather man.” And at a farming conference in Spokane, he offered a reason for them to be optimistic about the upcoming season.

How The Farm Bill Funds Environmental Programs, Too

Feb 3, 2014

The Farm Bill doesn't just put billions of dollars into agriculture programs. The Agricultural Act of 2014, as the bill is formally called, will also affect conservation of Northwest wildlife and natural resources.

The House has passed a version of the bill, and it's expected to go to the Senate Monday.

A once-stalled plan to support Christmas tree growers nationwide could be on its way to winning congressional approval as part of the new Farm Bill.

A provision in the bill adds a 15-cent surcharge on the cost of Christmas trees sold by larger farms. The revenue would help market those trees -- a potential boon for growers in Oregon, which leads the country in Christmas tree production.

You’ve likely heard of the dairy industry’s famous "Got Milk?" campaign but you’ve probably never heard an ad that asks, "Got Christmas Trees?"

Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency messed up. And now the mistake has led to a fight between open government advocates and farmers.

The EPA accidentally released the names and addresses of 80,000 farmers to environmental groups. That's a lot of information that's supposed to be redacted.

Northwest farmers are trying to get into the business of biofuels.

Courtesy of Sheryl Wiser

Ross Reynolds talks with Sheryl Wiser of the Cascade Harvest Coalition about what is fresh at the farmer's market this week.

Flickr Photo/The Heathman Kirkland

Marcie Sillman talks with Kurt Timmermeister about his newest book, "Growing a Feast: The Chronicle of a Farm-to-Table Meal."

Seattle 2013: A Year In Protest

Dec 30, 2013
Heather Villanueva

As we looked back on the last year, debating which stories to highlight here, we noticed a trend that surprised us: 2013 was a year of activism and protest in the Seattle area.

When you picture a housing development in the suburbs, you might imagine golf courses, swimming pools, rows of identical houses.

But now, there's a new model springing up across the country that taps into the local food movement: Farms — complete with livestock, vegetables and fruit trees — are serving as the latest suburban amenity.

Northwest farmers hired significantly more foreign guest workers this season under a special immigration program.

Wilcox Farms, where a man was buried under tons of corn on Monday when a silo gave way, was cited for six violations last summer that could have put workers in serious danger, according to inspection reports.

One out of every five cranberries grown in the U.S. is eaten Thanksgiving week, according to industry giant Ocean Spray.

A set of lawsuits winding its way through federal court in Idaho combine a couple phrases you might not expect to find together: "massive international cartel" and "potato."

Early crop reports from farmers say Washington and Oregon’s wine grape harvest appears to be up a tick for 2013.

Many organic farmers are hopping mad at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and their reason involves perhaps the most underappreciated part of agriculture: plant food, aka fertilizer. Specifically, the FDA, as part of its overhaul of food safety regulations, wants to limit the use of animal manure.

"We think of it as the best thing in the world," says organic farmer Jim Crawford, "and they think of it as toxic and nasty and disgusting."

This is part one of a two-part report about sexual assault of agricultural workers in the U.S.

Even though it's a warm day in California's Salinas Valley, Maricruz Ladino looks like she's going ice fishing.

"I look like a tamale — so many layers!" she says in Spanish.

A malodorous invasive bug has gone from a worry to a certifiable nuisance for some Northwest farmers and gardeners. The name of this insect is a mouthful: the brown marmorated stink bug.

Child Labor And The Dark Side Of Chocolate

Oct 31, 2013
Habermann 1 / Flickr

This Halloween millions of children across the US will hit the streets looking to score some treats and maybe, if they’re ambitious, give their neighbors a fright. But perhaps more frightening is the story behind many of candy they collect.

Agribusiness and the food industry have pumped a record $17 million into Washington state so far to defeat Initiative 522.

Courtney Flatt / Earthfix

HOOD RIVER, Ore. — For 20 years, Victor Gonzales has traveled the West picking crops. In the Northwest that means pears, cherries and apples.

Right now, he’s working at a Hood River pear orchard. In the summer, temperatures here can reach 100 degrees. Gonzalez remembers one day when he’d been working really hard, sweating more than normal.

Gonzales felt like he was going to pass out. He was shaky and very sleepy, he says through a translator. Instead of sleeping, he went to the farmworker housing unit and drank a lot of water and rested until he recovered.

The Future Of Food With Vandana Shiva

Sep 19, 2013
Flickr Photo/Elevate Festival

What is the future of food? How can it sustain us? Vandana Shiva is an environmental and anti-globalization activist. Throughout her career, she’s fought for changes in agriculture practices, among other causes. Her latest book is called “Making Peace with the Earth.” She spoke at Town Hall on September 12, 2013, in a talk sponsored by YES! Magazine.

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

More than a week has passed since more than 200 berry pickers walked off the job at a major farm near Burlington, marking the third strike at Sakuma Brothers Farms since July.

Tests of alfalfa seed from a field in eastern Washington have come back positive for genetically engineered genes called Round-Up-Ready.

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