farming

Challenges for New Farmers

Feb 5, 2018
tractor in farm field
Jean Beaufort / Public Domain Pictures

The rise in food awareness has also contributed to a new interest in agriculture. Meanwhile, growing land costs and lack of government assistance are just two of the obstacles facing young, up and coming farmers. 

Today, we take a look at the challenges that new farmers face in the agriculture business.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts consumers will be paying less for beef, pork, lamb, chicken and turkey in early 2018 than at the start of 2017. Not so for eggs.

Chris Newman used to be a software engineering manager, well-paid, but he worked long hours, ate fast food and went to the doctor a lot.

Eventually, enough was enough. He and his wife moved from the Washington, D.C., area to Charlottesville, Va., to become farmers. Now he is healthier, has fewer stomach problems and can eat dairy products again. He raises pigs, ducks and chickens.

Debbie Holmes / WOSU

At Dale Tree Farm in Delaware County, Shannon Schoch and her family found just the right tree.

"You guys like this one?" Schoch asks. "Yeah, I like it. It has a good shape at the top."

If you usually ring in the holiday with a freshly cut evergreen, your reality this Christmas could very well be a scrawny Charlie Brown tree instead — or you may wind up paying more for a lush Fraser fir.

This year, there is a tree shortage. Most growers blame the tightened supply on the Great Recession, says Valerie Bauerlein, who covered the story for The Wall Street Journal.

A new report from the International Joint Commission, a bi-national agency, says the Great Lakes restoration continues to progress -- but not quickly enough.

  

Great Lakes Vineyard Confronts Climate Change

Nov 28, 2017
Grapes at 21 Brix Winery and farm in western New York.
Angelica A. Morrison / Great Lakes Today

Just a few miles from Lake Erie, farmer Mike Jordan takes me on a walk through his vineyard. On a work utility vehicle we move through the rows of vines bursting with purple and high yellow grapes.

President Trump made his view of the North American Free Trade Agreement very clear during the presidential election. He called NAFTA "the worst trade deal in ... the history of this country." And Trump blamed NAFTA for the loss of millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs.

His administration is in the midst of renegotiating the free trade deal with Canada and Mexico, and that is making many U.S. farmers and ranchers nervous.

Tens of thousands of fish were killed off in the western Lake Erie basin earlier this year. Now the state of Ohio is holding three men responsible for the fish kills.

It was a great growing season for much of Ohio, and many farmers have been able to get a head start on their harvest. But that early harvest amid warm, dry conditions brings an added risk of combines catching fire.

On a cloudy summer day, Iowa farmer Wendy Johnson lifts the corner of a mobile chicken tractor, a lightweight mesh-covered plastic frame that has corralled her month-old meat chickens for a few days, and frees several dozen birds to peck the surrounding area at will. Soon, she'll sell these chickens to customers at local markets.

The demand for beef, pork and chicken raised on smaller farms closer to home is growing. Now, some Midwest farmers, like Johnson, are exploring how to graze livestock to meet those demands while still earning a profit.

Ohio State Fair

Jul 27, 2017
@ECKARDBILLS / TWITTER

A ride malfunction at the Ohio State Fair yesterday was to blame for the death of one man and the injuries of seven people. Gov. John Kasich called it the worst tragedy in the history of the fair. 

Coming up, we're talking Ohio State Fair and where they go from here. 

After covering the breaking news, we're talking about the shortage of farmers and how the American youth will step into the field of farming.

farm tractor at sunset
Carl Wycoff / Flickr

It's estimated that 10 percent of small farmers across the country leave farming every year. With a program called Begin Farming, the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association is trying to help beginning farmers with the challenges that come with running your own business.

Farm field in Union County, Ohio.
DAN KONIK / Ohio Public Radio

Farmers all around Ohio are turning to lawmakers to help fix what they see as a major crisis. Taxes on their land have been soaring. But making a change to the tax formula could do some damage to a different industry.

Top officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture didn't even try to act enthusiastic as they unveiled details of their agency's proposed 2018 budget, which includes drastic cuts in spending. "We're going to do the best we can," said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. "It's my job to implement that plan."

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