Current Event November 2, 2018
A popular, powerful weed killer has been banned in Arkansas, but some farmers are still using it. The herbicide intended for weeds also harms crops and wildlife. Although some farmers are planting new varieties of soybeans and cotton that are resistant to the weed killer, others are not. When farmers with the resistant crops spray the weed killer, it impacts their neighbors’ farms, often with dire consequences. Listen to hear about the battle in Arkansas among neighboring farmers, and then debate: Should farmers be allowed to use a powerful weed killer?
Current Event November 30, 2017
The gap between rich and poor is one of the great concerns of modern times. It's even leading archaeologists to look more closely at wealth disparities in ancient societies. The rise of agriculture in the ancient world led to an unequal distribution of wealth, due to access to work animals and land. Scientists have discovered that the societies in the Americas were more egalitarian than those in Europe. Listen to hear more about how ancient societies can help us understand issues in society today.
Current Event November 21, 2017
Nearly 4,000 Vermont veterans have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11. Many veterans are still dealing with the invisible wounds of war. Some of them, however, have begun to find healing through farming. One veteran who is raising pigs and goats is enjoying his days with animals and says it changed the way he sees his life. Listen to hear more about this veteran’s experience and other stories about veterans who have begun farming as a way to recover from the events of war.
Current Event August 2, 2017
There is a global vanilla crisis. Recently there’s been a global shortage of vanilla that’s affecting bakeries and ice cream shops across the country. The spice is primarily grown in Madagascar, an island off the southeast coast of Africa. Listen to this story to hear what caused this shortage and the dangers and problems faced by vanilla growers.
Current Event March 30, 2017
Researchers have completed a study that documents the environmental impact of producing a loaf of bread. They determined the amount of greenhouse gas emissions at each stage of bread production—from wheat farming to transportation—and added up the total. They found that 2.6 million tons of greenhouse gases are emitted each year in the U.K. as a result of bread production. The study’s authors hope the findings will lead to more efficient and sustainable production methods. Listen to learn more about the environmental footprint of a loaf of bread and how consumers can help make a difference.
Current Event February 2, 2017
California has been in a severe drought since 2014. It’s underground aquifers, which are permeable rocks that can hold groundwater are dry. During recent droughts, farmers pumped groundwater to irrigate their crops, which dropped the water table and drained the aquifers. In the Sierra Nevada Mountains, they are also getting less snow and more rain, which just runs into the ocean. Farmers are now experimenting with water management and ways to store excess water. With some recent heavy rains, rivers all over the state flooded and some farmers flooded their fields, letting the water seep deep into the ground to refill the aquifers. Listen to hear about ways to catch and store rainfall to help farmers.
Current Event September 13, 2016
There is a currently a surplus of cheese and dairy products in the United States, and it’s a global phenomenon. Two years ago, dairy farmers expanded production due to the high demand in China and Russia. After a sudden drop in demand, there is a surplus of 1.3 billion pounds of cheese in storage. The U.S. government is helping these dairy farms by buying some of the extra cheese and giving it to food banks. Dairy farmers will get some relief from falling prices and food banks will be able to give more cheese away. Listen to hear more about this huge surplus of cheese.
Current Event August 18, 2015
Farm work is on the decline, but work in agriculture-related business is booming. Two ways that technology is transforming the farming business is in creating websites where farmers can find bargains on seeds and selling technology solutions to help farmers collect and monitor data. Listen to hear the many new jobs that are being created using technology in interesting ways to improve farming businesses.
Current Event May 31, 2015
A new and deadly strain of avian influenza, or bird flu, has hit poultry farms in the Midwest. This outbreak is new and surprising because infectious disease experts don’t know how it is spreading. The old theory that the disease is spread between birds in close contact has not been consistent with this mutated strain of bird flu. Millions of chickens and turkeys have died so far, impacting both farmers and consumers. Listen to learn more about this disease and its transmission.
Current Event January 23, 2015
As you drink your morning orange juice, you might not think about where it comes from. Oranges and other citrus are an important base for the Florida economy. The citrus industry and the related jobs in Florida are under threat from a new insect borne infection known as “citrus greening.” Listen to learn more about this disease and how citrus farmers are coping with this changing landscape.
Current Event October 3, 2014
It is apple picking season and apple lovers are gearing up to eat some tasty and unique apples. The apples we are used to seeing in the supermarket are the same basic size and shape. And they have the familiar flavor profiles. But there are more apple varieties than you might imagine. There's a whole world of biodiversity in apples. This public radio story takes you to a heirloom apple orchard in Vermont that specializes in grafting and maintaining historic varieties of apples. Get ready to visualize (and almost taste!) some unique looking apples.
Current Event September 30, 2014
Crickets are seen as a little but loud insect, some might think they are creepy, others cute, but most Americans don’t see crickets as food. This might start changing as the world searches for more environmentally sound sources of protein. Whether people fry crickets or use ground cricket flour to enrich their baked good - crickets are coming. This public radio story takes you to a farm that grows crickets in Ohio and provides a rich framework to understand the advantages to eating insects.
Current Event September 12, 2014
This summer pork and beef prices are 11% higher than they were last summer. This rise in cost has not changed the buying habits of consumers. Today’s public radio story looks at the economics behind this rise in cost, and how supply and demand play into cost. It also features the perspective of farmers and people in the pork industry. Listen to learn why the supply of pork and beef is much lower this year than in years past.
Science Middle School
There is a debate over whether cloud seeding is an efficient way to produce more snow and rain in places where droughts are the worst. Opponents claim that the chemicals that are sprayed into the air to create more water are toxic and could cause health issues in the future. Others believe this is the only way to for some gas and electric companies to obtain more energy. Listen to learn about the other concerns at hand and if this the history of this process.
Current Event February 19, 2014
On average, we throw away around 40% of our food. Sarah Ramirez, a Stanford Ph.D, decided to fight hunger by picking crops from fields and yards that would’ve been trashed. Listen to this story to learn if her efforts are successful.
Current Event January 31, 2014
A third of the country's produce is grown in California, but more than half of the state is under severe drought conditions. The financial loss is huge since land cannot be planted and produce is not grown and sold. Listen to this story to learn who else a drought affects.