Agriculture

High Hop(e)s: Craft Brewing Has Farmers Betting On Hops

Jun 26, 2017
HopAlong Farm in Howard, OH

The acres devoted to growing hops doubled in the U.S. in just the past five years and the trade group Hop Growers of America estimates that 95 percent of that market belongs to farmers along the West Coast. But the craft beer craze is changing the direction for hop farms by generating demand for more locally sourced ingredients, and Ohio Valley farmers like Wes Cole want in on the action.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, farmers are looking to the craft brewing craze to boost a new crop in the region: locally grown hops. We hear from the Ohio Valley ReSource's Nicole Erwin. 

Also, June is Gay Pride Month. Us & Them podcast producer Trey Kay speaks with Charleston resident Bill Richards about living at a time when sodomy was a criminal offense in an excerpt from an episode titled “Sodomy, Stonewall & Pride”.

Winter in Dolly Sods Wilderness
Adobe Stock

On June 5, the Big Frost of 1859—as it’s remembered—hit what would soon become the new state of West Virginia. The unseasonable cold snap killed wheat crops and fruit trees, leading farmers in higher elevations to begin planting hardier crops, like potatoes. The late-season frost even inspired Preston County farmers to start sowing a resilient crop that would become their staple: buckwheat.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the Ohio Valley ReSource takes a closer look at small-scale farming in the region. It's one of the most dangerous industries and yet one of the least government-regulated. Find out what's being done to mitigate this growing hazard.

Photo courtesy of Jeanna Glisson

Jeanna Glisson has two lives: her life before August 20th, 2007, and her life after. That day is so vivid, Glisson can still hear the sounds of her son’s feet coming down the stairs.

“I remember Derek when he got up that morning, he was on the phone talking to my dad. He was excited,” Glisson said.

Cecelia Mason / WV Public Radio

The federal government has awarded more than $400,000 to West Virginia University to improve sustainable agriculture and help rural communities thrive.

U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito announced the $402,890 award in a news release this month.

Manchin said the university, through its Extension Services program, invests in rural communities across the state, creating a great benefit for West Virginia.

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.

Flood Victims Find FEMA Help Frustrating

Aug 3, 2016
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.

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