Agriculture

Farmers in the Ohio Valley are waiting to see how President Trump’s choice to lead the Agriculture Department might affect their fortunes. Concerns over trade have held up a confirmation vote for nominee Sonny Perdue, and trade is also on the minds of regional growers.

Farmers here have been big winners under the North American Free Trade Agreement, and while farm country voted overwhelmingly for Trump, his talk about scrapping NAFTA has farmers like Jed Clark nervous.

Robert Thompson
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the House of Delegates are looking for ways to help grow the state’s agriculture industry. A bill in the chamber’s Agriculture Committee would require the state to purchase more locally grown food.

House Bill 2566 creates the West Virginia Fresh Food Act. As introduced, the bill would require state funded institutions to purchase at least 20 percent of their produce from West Virginia farmers.

Roxy Todd/ WVPB

This week on Inside Appalachia, we’ll travel to Sugar Bottom Farm in Clay County West Virginia to meet Veteran Eric Grandon, the first veteran to go through the Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture program.

Stopping Superbug: A New Farm Rule Targets Antibiotic Resistance

Jan 25, 2017
Nicole Erwin

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control offers a stark example of the declining power of medicine’s most important weapons against infectious disease. The CDC noted that a patient who died at a Nevada hospital last year had an infection that was resistant to 26 different antibiotic treatments. That’s essentially the entire antibiotic arsenal doctors had.

picking tomatoes
Laura Elizabeth Pohl / Bread for the World

On Nelson Key Road in Murray, Kentucky, lies a 30-acre tobacco farm and there sits the road’s namesake, Nelson Key himself. He’s just at the end of this year’s harvest, which was brought in with the help of migrant workers.

“I used American workers up until 1991 then I went to the migrant workers and I've had them ever since,” he explained.

Paw Paw
Joey Aloi

Those who’ve eaten a pawpaw before often say that the creamy, tropical fruit resembles a mix of a mango and a banana, or a mango and an avocado. They often can’t believe that the fruit is native to Appalachia.

Data Farming: How Big Data Is Revolutionizing Big Ag

Sep 19, 2016
Nicole Erwin / Ohio Valley ReSource

It’s harvest time and a semi full of corn just pulled onto the scales at Seven Springs Farm in Cadiz, Kentucky. On the scale, the analytics work begins: moisture content, weight, production rates, and more are all recorded.

Caroline and Bunny
Roxy Todd / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The USDA estimates that 6,000 West Virginia farmers suffered damage as a result of the flooding in late June. Farmers lost over $3 million worth of crops, livestock, and fencing. But more than the monetary cost- there’s also an emotional toll that’s affecting some of these farmers. One couple in Greenbrier County says they almost gave up after losing two dozen of their rabbits, and all of their vegetable crops, in the high water. 

chickens, Hopecrest, Hopecrest chickens, grapes, Tracey Lea Frisch
Anne Li / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Tracey Lea Frisch loves her pet chickens, which she keeps in her yard on the side of her house in the Hopecrest neighborhood in Morgantown. 

 

“This is Pudding and Vanilla and Mr. Looster and Lucky and Star and Moonlight and that’s Roadrunner, and that’s Fluffy - the big one,” she said as she fed them grapes. “I have one broody; she’s pretending to have chicks. It’s not going to happen.” 

 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Small-scale farmers in the region often find it challenging to keep their land sustainable while staying competitive in the marketplace. 

The Ohio Valley ReSource's Nicole Erwin visited a farm that’s doing both with a method called rotational grazing. She found that this “new” approach grows from some very old ideas.

Cow
Nicole Erwin / Ohio Valley ReSource

  On 120 acres in Marion, Kentucky, small-scale farmer Joseph Mast is taking an innovative approach to provide for his growing family of nine.

Mast belongs to an Amish community and is reluctant when it comes to media. He makes a concession, however, when the conversation involves sustainable farming.

“I’ll talk grass any day,” said Mast.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, in flood stricken areas, residents are finding the process of finding housing assistance from FEMA frustrating and we’ll visit a new facility in Huntington that seeks to help the state’s economy grow through agriculture. 

These stories on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

MAGNUS MANSKE / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

An effort by the West Virginia Department of Agriculture to encourage growers to consider potato production has landed at a spot known for its extraterrestrial activity - the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank.

Golden Delicious
Agricultural Research Service / United States Department of Agriculture

The deadline is approaching for nominations to the West Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Hall of Fame.

The deadline for nominations is Feb. 16, and honorees will be enshrined July 16 at Jackson's Mill.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This week on Inside Appalachia, we’ll hear stories of Christmas past, Christmas present and even hope for Christmases in the future.

Jarek Tuszynski / CC-BY-SA & GDFL

You’ve probably seen them. Barns with faded paint usually in black or red with yellow lettering delivering an old message from another time: “Chew Mail Pouch” and “Treat yourself to the best.”  Once upon a time these hand-painted advertisements covered more than 20,000 barns all across America.


On West Virginia Morning, women are taking a bigger role in agriculture.  We’ll take a closer look at the changing role of women in farming.  And Chris Stapleton is along with our Mountain Stage song of the week.  That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

You’re probably well aware that in places like southern West Virginia, it’s really tough right now for coal miners, their families and many communities. So many miners have been laid off these past few years, and those who have a job don’t have a lot of hope that they will be able to keep what they have for much longer.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Honey bees pollinate about a third of the crops in the U.S. - that's about $15 billion of the agricultural economy. But honeybees have had a tough time lately: a combination of diseases, stress, parasites and pesticides have all hurt the honeybee population. Now, scientists are starting to look at how other species of bees could help pick up the slack.

The Berkeley County Fire Service Board received a federal grant last week to help recruit and train more volunteer firefighters, who protect a majority of the state.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition promotes locally grown food and the group is beginning to frame its legislative agenda for 2016.  Also, the Appalachian Regional Commission is collecting information to guide its economic development efforts for the region.  These stories on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.


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