farming

Olivia Miltner

Extreme weather is limiting crops in Ohio and that's curtailing the offerings at local farmers markets.

Robert Henry is driving along the top of a Mississippi River levee, giving me a tour of land where he'd love to be planting soybeans right now. We're just east of New Madrid, Mo.

"Smells kind of raunchy, doesn't it?" he says.

From the window of Henry's truck, I see what looks like a swamp, with trees standing in water. Then we make a turn, and suddenly, as far as I can see, there's water. It covers a wide flood plain between the main river channel and the levee. This is where Henry normally grows his crops.

The state is giving farmers another opportunity to apply for loans as they deal with severe weather and flooding that has kept many farmers from planting their crops. 

Hummus is having a heyday with American consumers, and that could be as good for the soil as it is for our health.

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.

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.

Live from Chadwick Arboretum: Importance Of Soil

May 10, 2019
Brian Boucheron/Flickr

Most soils are good for something. How else would trees populate our urban landscapes, growing in what many consider less than optimal soil conditions?

Coming up on a special broadcast from the Chadwick Arboretum annual plant sale on the Ohio State campus, we talk about what makes good soil with a preeminent expert. And we learn about the process of composting.

 

Guests:

When Timothy Masters got his first chickens a decade ago, it was easy. He lives "way out in the country" in Pennsylvania, away from urban regulations about keeping chickens in backyards. He built a chicken coop and got three hens to provide eggs for him and his wife. "It was the perfect number for us," he says.

That's when the catalogs began to arrive.

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.

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