farming

Local advocates for migrant workers are calling for more protections against the coronavirus on Ohio’s farms.

Protective measures like handwashing and social distancing are not possible under farmworkers’ current living conditions, said Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE) Managing Attorney Eugenio Mollo.

“The close proximity of individuals in overcrowded dwellings is of deep concern, and we need mandates to address this issue,” Mollo said. “In Ohio, many of them are living in employer-provided individual housing units without running water.”

A Trump administration proposal would cut food stamps benefits to over 3 million people nationwide.
Paige Pfleger / WOSU

Farming and food agencies met virtually Tuesday morning to discuss recommendations for building a more resilient food system in Ohio.

The 10 acres of sunflowers along Ohio State Route 68 outside of Yellow Springs won’t be planted this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year, 20,000 people visited Whitehall Farm to see the sunflowers during their three week bloom in September. Sharen Neuhardt owns the farm with her husband Dave. They have hired a local farmer to plant sunflowers on a portion of their property every year since 2003. But this year, Sharen says, it’s not safe.

Visit almost any grocery store and you'll see how that food chain has been disrupted during the coronavirus pandemic. Even if food is in stores, millions of newly unemployed people may have trouble paying.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has been talking up part of the federal response: a $3 billion plan to distribute food to families, called the Farmers to Family Food Box Program.

Ohio farmers are facing low commodity prices in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, even as demand skyrockets in local grocery stores.

Farms still have food in supply, said Ohio Farm Bureau Director of Media Relations Ty Higgins, and they’re working to move that supply to the stores that need it.

“Farmers are still getting up every morning and doing whatever they need to do to keep that supply chain full,” Higgins said.

The U.S. has reached two major trade agreements with international partners in the past month, with the Trump administration pitching these deals as a way to ease the burden farmers have shouldered during the trade war with China.

Farmers Respond To Climate Change

Feb 17, 2020
farm tractor at sunset
Carl Wycoff / Flickr

Agriculture is both a contributor to and a casualty of climate change.

Warmer winters, wetter springs and in 2019 the hottest summer on record are taking a toll on the crops.

In response, some farmers are adopting new and innovative ways to sustainably grow the food that feeds the U.S. and much of the rest of the world.

In love, timing is everything, the saying goes. The same is true for fruit and nut orchards in California's Central Valley, which depend on a synchronized springtime bloom for pollination. But as winters warm with climate change, that seasonal cycle is being thrown off.

Cold is a crucial ingredient for California's walnuts, cherries, peaches, pears and pistachios, which ultimately head to store shelves around the country. The state grows around 99% of the country's walnut and pistachio crop.

Tech Tuesday: Dairy Farming Robots

Jan 28, 2020
Jeff Weese / Flickr

Dairy farming in Ohio has gone high-tech. Robots are taking over milking duties on a number of dairy operations in Ohio. 

Ryan Rhoades is president of the Ohio Soybean Association. Although the ag benchmarks set out in the deal are high, he doesn't think american farmers will have a problem producing enough supply.
Nick Evans / WOSU

This week, President Donald Trump signed Phase One of a new trade agreement with China. The move represents a kind of truce between the world’s two largest economies after two years of escalating tariffs.

A new initial trade agreement between the United States and China signed Wednesday brings protections for intellectual property and eased regulations for U.S. exports. China is also setting an ambitious target of purchasing $200 billion in U.S. goods by 2021.

The agreement is bringing relief to Ohio’s soybean farmers, who rely on China to sell roughly one-third of their product.

United Soybean Board / Flickr

Weather and tariffs have created some tough conditions for Ohio farmers and agribusinesses. But they can get some relief through a state program that reduces the interest on the debt they incur for their operations. 

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

It looks like 2019 could be the first year in a decade where Ohio loses jobs. Will 2020 provide better job prospects in the state?

Updated at 9:58 a.m. ET

The tariff war has caused a lot of anxiety for business owners and farmers. But how much has it hurt the overall economy?

The stock market got off to a rocky start this week when President Trump launched a new round of tariff threats. But administration loyalists insist concern about the trade war is overblown.

farm tractor at sunset
Carl Wycoff / Flickr

The Ohio Farm Bureau is closing the book on its 100th year and looking to the next century as it hosts its two-day annual meeting in Columbus. 

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