Agriculture

3:55pm

Fri May 2, 2014
Agriculture

Six Cool Maps From The Farm Census

Rural pockets of the country still lack internet connectivity, the agricultural census shows.
Credit USDA-NASS

Remember that scene from the 1979 movie The Jerk where Steve Martin’s character leaps with glee over the delivery of new phone books? That same sequence plays out every five years when the U.S. Department of Agriculture drops its agricultural census and ag data nerds everywhere rejoice.

Read more

12:08pm

Wed April 30, 2014
Agriculture

Colorado Hemp Growers Begin Historic Planting Season

Industrial hemp can grow more than ten feet tall. The plant, which can resemble marijuana grown for medical or recreational use, usually lacks THC, the chemical that gives users a high.
Credit Luke Runyon / KUNC and Harvest Public Media

An historic planting of Colorado’s first state regulated industrial hemp crop is underway. More than 70 applications to grow the towering cousin of marijuana have come in to the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

Read more

1:34am

Mon April 28, 2014
The Salt

Fire-Setting Ranchers Have Burning Desire To Save Tallgrass Prairie

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 10:02 am

A line of fire turns brown grass into black earth.
Dan Charles/NPR

For the past month, in part of eastern Kansas, the prairie has been burning, as it does almost every spring. On some days, you could look toward the horizon in any direction and see pillars of smoke. The plumes of pollution have traveled so far that they've violated limits for particulates or ozone in cities as far away as Lincoln, Neb.

But here's the twist: Environmentalists have come to celebrate those fires.

Read more

2:37pm

Thu April 24, 2014
The Salt

Should Figs Go The Way Of Apples And Become A Year-Round Fruit?

Originally published on Sat April 26, 2014 7:54 am

Over 90 percent of American figs are grown in California. Two growers there are trying to coax the fruit into ripeness nine months of the year — and maybe more.
anujd89/Flickr

True fig lovers are well-practiced in the art of patience. We watch the calendar, dreaming of summer and the fruit's silky, sappy flesh. The season lasts through June and July, with another crop from August to October. And then we're back to almost eight months of oranges, apples and, if we must, Fig Newtons.

But these figless days may be coming to an end.

Read more

1:26am

Tue April 22, 2014
The Salt

Fields And Farm Jobs Dry Up With California's Worsening Drought

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 4:47 pm

Recent rains kept Suzanne and Mike Collins' orange grove alive, but the rainy season is ending. If they don't get federal irrigation water by this summer, their trees will start dying.
Kirk Siegler/NPR

On a recent afternoon on the main drag of Orange Cove, Calif., about a dozen farm workers gather on the sidewalk in front of a mini-mart.

One man sits on a milk crate sipping a beer. A few others scratch some lotto tickets. Salvador Perez paces back and forth with his hands stuffed in the pockets of his jeans.

If there is no water, there's no work, he says in Spanish.

Read more

Pages