Agriculture

Warmer temperatures across the region from climate change are making insect pests hungrier. That’s according to a new study published in the journal Science.

Esther Honig / KUNC and Harvest Public Media

Parts of Colorado are experiencing the worst drought conditions in more than a decade.

The severity of the drought varies across the state, from few if any impacts in the state’s northeastern corner to severe and record-breaking conditions in the southern half of the state.

Esperanza Yanez can spot a sick cow just by looking at it.

"The head hangs down and they don't eat," says Yanez, who immigrated from Mexico two decades ago and has been caring for cattle ever since.

While learning to communicate with animals takes years of patience, Yanez says the true language barrier exists between the dairy workers and the veterinarians who rarely speak Spanish. Medical terminology can be confusing, and to avoid embarrassment, Yanez says she and other workers may feign comprehension.

Luke Runyon / KUNC

An old water cliché tells us that “water flows uphill toward money.” It’s an adage born out of people’s frustrations about who benefits when water moves around in the Western U.S., popularized by author Marc Reisner’s 1986 book, “Cadillac Desert.”

Like all persistent folksy sayings, it’s a mix of myth and truth.

But there’s at least one case where it has some validity: the phenomenon known as “buy and dry” along Colorado’s fast-growing, historically agricultural Front Range.

The House did not pass its version of a farm bill last month, but the Senate may have a better shot this week when they consider the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.

It's officially Hemp History Week. The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution that recognizes the “full growth potential of the industrial hemp industry.” But at the state level, real progress for the hemp industry is still all over the map.

Rae Ellen Bichell / Mountain West News Bureau

Over the last decade or so, states in the Mountain West region have used less and less coal to make electricity. Wind is one of the energy sources replacing it.

Colorado’s biggest wind farm is set to be completed by this fall — and it might even help keep a piece of state history intact.

James Gathany / CDC

The Union of Concerned Scientists released a report this week saying that the Department of Agriculture has "sidelined science" and "betrayed farmers.” The group is particularly concerned about antibiotics.

Bret Jaspers / KJZZ

Jim Cuming is a retired farmer, third generation. His grandfather immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland, by way of Canada. Edward Cuming got 160 acres in the Yuma Valley from the federal government.

The land was as undeveloped as a dry riverbed, Jim Cuming said. In order to survive and develop the farm, his grandfather had to make a living.

“This Laguna Dam project opened up. So they moved up to the dam and he worked on the dam there as a carpenter,” he said.

Matt Bloom

Ten years ago, Bill Conkling worked in quality assurance at Anheuser Busch where he tested batches of beer for a living. Now, he crushes Colorado-grown grapes into more than 12,000 bottles of wine each year.

In 2007 he saw an opportunity to produce wine in Northern Colorado, so he started Ten Bears Winery in Laporte during his spare time. After 8 years of promoting his wine at farmers markets and festivals, he grew the business into his full-time job.

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