agriculture

Baby cows outside the Kocher farm.
Olivia Miltner / WOSU

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced it will give loans to organizations impacted by excessive rain and flooding in Ohio.

Gov. Mike DeWine talks to farmer Kris Swartz in Perrysburg on June 19, 2019.
Nick Evans / WOSU

In Perrysburg on Wednesday, Kris Swartz hosted Gov. Mike DeWine and a couple dozen local famers to explain how badly this spring’s rain has derailed planting. Swartz says this year he’s had only one day—June 12—where he was able to plant.

Record rainfall in Cincinnati is causing a local co-operative farm to re-adjust its harvest plan.

Recently-sprouted soybeans on a farm in Central Ohio.
Nick Evans / WOSU

The wettest weather in Ohio's recorded history has stalled planting throughout the state, and forecasts for the rest of June aren’t looking any sunnier.

Drew and Joan Norman have been producing organic vegetables on 60 acres just north of Baltimore since 1983. On a recent spring day, signs of another new season at One Straw Farm were everywhere: seedlings in the greenhouse waiting to be transplanted, asparagus ready to be picked, tiny leaves of red- and green-leaf lettuce sprouting out of the ground — and rows and rows of plastic covering the ground on each field.

Bret Davis in one of his corn fields. He worries this years slow start could put a ceiling on yields.
Nick Evans / WOSU

The last time I visited Bret Davis' farm in Delaware County, earlier in the spring, I was asking him about a federal program helping farmers bit by the trade war. It was raining then, and it was wet and rainy when I spoke to him this week, too.

Shea Castleberry works in a time capsule of sorts. He walks through the aisles of the Family Video store he manages in Murray, Ky., a small city surrounded by rolling farmland about two hours north of Nashville.

Next to the movies and popcorn, there's a new addition to his store that surprises some of his regulars.

"A lot of people are like 'a video store selling CBD?' But it really does tie into our values. Which is, we're here for the community," Castleberry said.

American soil.

Those are two words that are commonly used to stir up patriotic feelings. They are also words that can't be taken for granted, because today nearly 30 million acres of U.S. farmland are held by foreign investors. That number has doubled in the past two decades, which is raising alarm bells in farming communities.

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET

The Trump administration will provide $16 billion in aid to help keep farmers afloat as they reel from the yearlong trade war between the U.S. and China, the latest sign that the world's two largest economies are still far from striking a long-term trade agreement.

The bulk of the support, or about $14.5 billion, is direct aid to farmers, which producers will start to see some time this summer, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters in a briefing on Thursday.

Adam Kocher cuts open a bale of fermented hay, which they grow to feed cows.
Olivia Miltner / WOSU

The Kocher family has been farming the same plat of land near the northern Ohio village of Bloomville for generations. Among other crops, they grow alfalfa hay to feed their 700 dairy cows.

Brian Johnson and Dane Brian / Flickr

The Fayette County Sheriff says a barn fire near Washington Courthouse on Tuesday was unrelated to a massive blaze at the same farm last year.

Jeff Weese / Flickr

A dairy farm operated for four generations by one Ohio family is set to run dry.

Every state has a "right-to-farm" law on the books to protect farmers from being sued by their neighbors for the routine smells and noise created by farming operations. But this year, the agriculture industry has been pushing in several states to amend those laws so that they will effectively prevent neighbors from suing farms at all — even massive industrial livestock operations.

Updated at 3:08 p.m ET

Frustrated by the large number of Central Americans who have been entering the country from Mexico, President Trump doubled down on his threat to close the Southern U.S. border.

"I'm ready to close it," Trump said Tuesday. "If we don't make a deal with Congress, the border is going to be closed, 100 percent."

You've probably heard statistics about how our diet affects the health of the planet. Like how a beef hamburger takes considerably more water and land to produce than a veggie burger or that around a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions stem from food production.

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