Farming Podcasts Roundup

Ever wonder what a farmer is listening to on his or her iPod? There’s a high chance it’s one of the many food and farming podcasts hitting the airwaves. These podcasts are covering important issues in farming, food and agriculture, and often are hosted by farmers, farm advocates or seasoned agriculture journalists. Below is a small list of podcasts, but there are many more! Tell us about your favorites in the comments sections below.

 

The Beginning Farmer Show

The Beginning Farmer Show recounts the ups and downs of starting a farm. This podcast serves as an audio journal for beginning farmer Ethan Book, who shares his experiences in starting up a farm. He also interviews others to gain additional insight and advice. Past shows have included: Balancing Family, Farm, and a Job; Building Marketing Relationships; Rotational Grazing; and a series on Hard Lessons Learned. Ethan has also interviewed guests like Luke Gran of Practical Farmers of Iowa.

 

Small Home Farm Radio

Erin Lahey, the host of this successful podcast, spotlights a back-to-the-land mindset by demonstrating how easy it is for us to return to our roots. Small Home Farm Radio is a half-hour show that focuses on small-scale farming, gardening, and homesteading. Recent episodes include one about the health of the soil, and another about endangered and heritage livestock breeds.

 

Extension on the Go

Extension on the Go is brought to you by the University of Missouri Extension and hosted by Debbie Johnson. On the show, specialists and experts share tips and advice on a wide range of agriculture, garden, and nutrition topics. Each episode is 3-10 minutes long and includes guests like Tim Baker a horticulture specialist for the University of Missouri Extension, Pat Guinan a climatologist for the University of Missouri Extension Commercial Agriculture Program and David Trinklein a horticulture specialist for University of Missouri Extension.

 

Agri-Pulse

Agri-Pulse is a weekly report about the latest agriculture news. The show has a strong focus on agricultural and rural policy decisions being made in Washington D.C. Topics range from international trade, to organic foods, farm credit, loan policies and climate change legislation. The Agri-Pulse website boasts, “We are the only farm and rural publication with full-time staff covering key congressional hearings and meeting with members of Congress and the Administration.” Besides the weekly podcast, the Agri-pulse website features daily updates of current news and events.

 

Food Chain Radio: What’s Eating What

This veteran podcast has been around for years with over 700 weeks of back-shows! Michael Olson, the host of this one-hour show, delves deep into topics from how the price of gas affects the price of food, to the controversial topic of genetically engineered food, to water and agriculture. Food Chain Radio is syndicated on commercial radio stations throughout the U.S.

Farmer Veteran Coalition’s 2nd annual conference for women veterans

The Farmer Veteran Coalition will host “Empowering Women Veterans: Success in Agriculture Business and Well-Being” in Louisville, Kentucky on November 14-17. This is the FVC’s 2nd annual national conference dedicated to women veterans in agriculture. The FVC invites all women veterans, active duty and women farming with veterans to the free event at the Hyatt Regency. The conference will bring together over 100 women from around the nation to build community while learning business skills needed to achieve entrepreneurial goals.

Click here for more information. Click here to register for free and reserve a room at the Hyatt Regency hotel, or email events@farmvetco.org for more information.

Disaster resources to relieve farmers and ranchers in CO and SD

Shortly after farmers in Colorado were faced with severe flooding in September, others in South Dakota were hit with a record-breaking October blizzard leaving ranchers to deal with 48-inches of snow. Unprepared to face these conditions, farmers and ranchers in South Dakota lost tens of thousands of livestock to the freak storm. All of this came in the midst of the government shutdown, leaving family farmers without immediate answers or assistance from federal entities during the crises.

If you or your family was affected by the disasters in Colorado or South Dakota, contact 1-800-FARM-AID (800-327-6243) or farmhelp@farmaid.org.

Additional resources for affected farmers are available on the Farm Aid website. The Farmers Legal Action Group offers a guide explicating disaster programs available to farmers under the 2008 Farm Bill. The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service also has an extensive online list of available disaster relief resources. One of the most important steps a farmer can take when struck by a disaster is to carefully document all losses and attempts to receive help. RAFI-USA created a guide to help farmers with this documentation.

Farm Aid is working alongside partner organizations on the ground to assist these farmers, already having donated $20,000 toward the relief efforts. The Farm Aid Family Farm Disaster Fund is activated and accepting donations towards farmer and rancher recovery.

FDA’s proposal to the Food Safety Modernization Act threatens family farmers and sustainable practices

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that was passed by Congress in 2010 was the first major update to federal food safety laws in 72 years. Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released proposed laws to implement the provisions in the FSMA. These new rules leave out crucial aspects of the bill that were initially created to protect small, mid-sized and sustainable farmers.

While there needs to be an up-to-date and feasibly implemented food safety law, the FDA’s current proposal would force many family farmers to pay significant compliant costs. These fees could cost farmers up to half of their profits without many of the protections currently allotted to them. If passed the law potentially threatens local food sources, placing any farm with a profit of over $500,000 on the same level as any industrial agricultural conglomerate. The proposal also ignores Congress’ initial mandate that the FSMA must comply with The National Organic Program, making it difficult for farmers to implement natural or organic practices.

At this year’s concert, Farm Aid teamed up with our resource partner, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), to form a petition that concertgoers could sign against the FDA’s proposal. You can take a stand for family farmers and sustainable agriculture by signing that petition here. There is a comment period on the proposed rules until November 15, so NSAC created a comprehensive guide to form comments to the FDA for consumers and farmers alike supporting local food systems and family farmers.

Government shutdown hits America’s farmers

Just as national parks and Veterans face serious setbacks, family farmers too continue to struggle under the weight of the government shutdown in Washington. As the Rural Advancement Foundation International’s Scott Marlow estimates, the delay in budget approval by congress may cost up to 1,400 farmers their farms.

This is a direct result of the sudden lack of funding funneling to farmers, as 1,423 are left waiting for the direct farm operating loans that they were already approved for. What’s more, over 2,000 beginning farmers are waiting for direct farm ownership loans and over 1,000 wait for guaranteed operating loans.

Funding isn’t the only obstacle farmers face in light of the shutdown. Farmers struggle to predict market trends without the agricultural reports typically released weekly by the National Agriculture Statistics Service under the USDA. Many farmers depend on these figures to determine the price of their crops, when to sell commodity crops and cattle auction prices. Not only are they now left without new figures, but also the websites that contained old data are down until the shutdown ends.

The domestic hog market in particular is affected by the shutdown, as traders increasingly back away from the $97 billion market. With no clear end in sight, the lean hogs futures dropped 47 percent immediately following the beginning of the shutdown.

These issues come among a slew of other problems related to food and farming, including the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s inability to monitor foodborne illnesses throughout the remainder of the shutdown. In the span of the shutdown thus far, 278 illnesses from chicken contaminated with Salmonella were reported in 18 different states. Though it is suspected the outbreak comes directly from Foster Farms, the US Department of Agriculture cannot conduct a proper investigation during the Congressional delays.

Congress was warned of the challenges a shutdown would create. Now family farmers are left waiting at a time when some farmers are also facing devastating weather conditions, such as the flooding in Colorado and the deadly blizzard that swept across South Dakota. For now, the only thing for certain is this shutdown will have a lasting impact on America’s family farmers.

The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association’s Conference

The 28th annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference hosted by the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association will be held November 15th – 17th in Durham, NC. The conference includes farm tours and workshops taught by experts in horticulture, livestock, soils, farm business, and policy. Workshops include a wide variety of topics from season extension methods for beginning farmers, to an update on compost rules and techniques, to a workshop on alternative pork production. There will also be a Local Foods Feast at the Durham Sheraton Imperial on Friday November 15th.

Register by October 25th for an early bird discount. Click here for more information.

Back to School, Back to Farming: School Garden Roundup

Just because the weather is starting to cool down and school is in session doesn’t mean you have to move indoors. Last spring we did a series on college gardens and farms. Here’s a roundup below. So, get your hands off of your keyboard and into the soil!

 

West Coast

Stanford Community Farm – Stanford University
Stanford, California

The Stanford Community Farm dates back to 1885 when it was the Palo Alto Estate. 
Today the farm is run by a combination of faculty, staff and students. This organic farm keeps farming and agriculture front and center at the university—as exemplified by student farmers and an Earth Systems class taught on the farm. Spread over an one-acre lot, the farm has a fruit orchard, and many different student and community plots.

Contacts: Graduate, medical and postdoc students contact Jesse Bateman; Undergraduate students contact Patrick Archie; Staff and faculty contact Karen Zack

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Organic Grower’s Club – Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR

The Organic Grower’s Club is a completely student-run, organic farm. The farm began in 2000 by a group of agriculture science students who wanted to build a hands-on experience into the curriculum. The farm spans two acres and now has over 300 students and 400 community members. Farm produce is sold in order to subsidize operational costs and summer student internships. Community building is an important part of the farm. Weekly events include: Sunday Skool work parties every Sunday 9-12 and Thursday night Harvest parties—with free hot supper—starting at 4:30.

Contact: org_council@lists.oregonstate.edu
 or click here to Join the Organic Growers Listserv

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Organic Farm – Evergreen State College
Olympia, Washington

A five-acre area on the Evergreen campus accommodates a farmhouse, garden, biodiesel facility, compost facility, greenhouse and a 38,000 square foot, certified organic, crop production area. Students at the college enrolled in the Practice of Sustainable Agriculture Program become interns on the farm and grow, harvest and sell their bounty at both a campus farm stand and through a CSA.

Contact: (360) 867-6160 or email the Farm.

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Agricultural Sustainability Institute – University of California Davis

Davis, California

The Agricultural Sustainability Institute started in 1977 and continues to serve UC Davis students, faculty, school children and community members. The program focuses on sustainable agriculture principles and practices, in-field experiential learning, and inspires students’ initiative, creativity and exploration. The university encourages students to participate on the farm and learn through internships, formal courses and research projects. Year-round crop production takes place on the 4.5-acre farm and produce is available through the university’s dining services and campus coffee houses. Fruit and vegetables are also available at the UC Davis Farmers’ Market and through a CSA.

Contact: Mark Van Horn or (530) 752-7645

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UW Farm – University of Washington

Seattle, WA

This urban farm was started in 2004 by several students and faculty members wishing to inform the UW community about the global food system. The farm serves as a classroom for many different university classes from ecology to anthropology—and the farm also hosts a quarterly sustainable farm internship. The farm is an official registered student organization with over 600 members. Community is an important part of the farm, and is facilitated by pizza bakes in the farm’s outdoor oven. Stay updated with farm events by joining the listserve.

 

Midwest

Sustainable Student Farm – University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana

Champaign-Urbana, Illinois

The Sustainable Student Farm at The University Of Illinois Urbana-Champaign supplies the university’s residence halls with fresh, local produce. The farm operates with 6-acres of outdoor space during the growing season and nearly 10,000 square feet of high tunnel production space year-round. The farm also sells produce at a market on the university’s quad from May-November, and this year it will be starting a pilot CSA with 30 shares. In addition to growing produce in a sustainable manner, the farm is also going off the grid with the installation of a new solar powered system.

Contact the farm here.

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ISU Student Organic Farm – Iowa State University

Ames, Iowa

This 6-acre student farm began in the fall of 1996 and has been continuously student led and managed. Almost all of the fruits and vegetables produced at the farm are donated to shelters and food banks in Ames. Starting this coming fall, the farm will also sell its produce to ISU Dining.

Contact: rmclay@iastate.edu

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MSU Student Organic Farm – Michigan State University

East Lansing, Michigan

The MSU Student Organic Farm is a 10-acre, certified organic farm that operates year-round. The farm sells its produce through a 48-week CSA, and a 7-month on campus farm stand, as well as to the MSU dining halls. This is a truly sustainable farm with passive solar greenhouses, enabling distribution of fresh produce through the winter. In addition, the farm also runs a 9-month Organic Farmer Training Program focused on organic farming techniques.

Contact: msufarm@msu.edu

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The Howdy Farm – Texas A&M

College Station, Texas

The Howdy Farm is a sustainable, student-run farm that provides both students and community members in College Station with hands-on experience in sustainable agriculture. The farm began in 2009 with a few square feet of raised beds, and now takes up 5-acres. Through partnering with dining services and having a CSA, the farm gets its fresh produce out to the university and the public. The farm serves as a living classroom, by providing ample opportunities for student internships, both undergraduate and graduate research, and a Horticulture Vegetable Crop Production course.

Contact: thehowdyfarm@gmail.com

 

Southeast
UGArden – University of Georgia

Athens, Georgia

Students run this one-acre garden plot at the University of Georgia that was first planted in May of 2010. Since then the garden has grown to include: tilapia aquaponics, permanent fruit plantings, beehives, and a woodland mushroom demonstration area. In addition to selling produce at a farm stand, the food is used to help alleviate hunger in the senior citizen population of Athens. The garden is used as a classroom for two freshman seminars and a course in sustainable community food production.

Contact: Lindsay Davies at lndavies@uga.edu

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Berea College Farm – Berea College

Berea, Kentucky

The Berea College Farm is one of the longest running student farms in the U.S. At 500-acres, this farm has space for pastures, cropland, gardens, woodlots and ponds. The farm has beef cattle, hogs, chickens, eggs, goats, fish, honeybees, grains, pulses, vegetables, fruits, and herbs, all of which are used in the dining hall, or sold to the public. Berea College Farm is housed by the Agriculture and Natural Resources program at the college and compliments the academic programs. The 50 students employed each season rotate between working with field crops, horticultural crops, livestock, equipment maintenance, and marketing and sales for the farm.

Contact: michael_panciera@berea.edu or sean_clark@berea.edu

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Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) Farm

Pittsboro, North Carolina

CCCC’s five-acre, organic student farm produces an array of crops. The farm also runs in conjunction with the college’s Sustainable Agriculture program, which teaches students the skills that they need to manage a profitable, sustainable, community-based farm. Students can take a wide variety of courses on the farm: Medicinal Herbs, Organic Vegetable Production, Sustainable Cut Flower production and Sustainable Poultry Production, as well as courses about biofuels, and sustainable building.

Contact: Robin Kohanowich: rkohanowich@cccc.edu / (919) 545-8031

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The Clemson Student Organic Farm Project – Clemson University

Clemson, South Carolina

Clemson’s 15-acre student farm started in 2001 and was certified organic in 2005. Students and faculty work together to grow a variety of vegetables, culinary herbs, flowers and fruit. The farm hosts a CSA program and encourages the community to visit the farm for seasonal pick-your-own fruits and vegetables.

Contact: kgilker@clemson.edu, sjadrnicek@gmail.com

 

Northeast

Beech Hill FarmCollege of the Atlantic
Mount Desert, ME

Beech Hill Farm is a 73-acre organic farm that is owned and operated by College of the Atlantic (COA) on Mount Desert Island in Maine. The farm, which COA bought in 1999, has fields of crops and three orchards of heirloom apples. Shuttles run from COA’s campus in Bar Harbor to the farm to ensure easy access for students, faculty and staff who want to get their hands in the soil. Students also conduct research and independent study projects on the farm. Produce from the farm goes to COA campus dining hall.

Contact: beechhillfarm@coa.edu

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Farm CenterHampshire College

Amherst, MA

The Farm Center was created in the late 1970’s as a place for students and faculty to learn about sustainable farming and to provide a place for academic work like studying animal behavior and agriculture science. The farm has a CSA, of which Hampshire College Dining Services purchases 20 shares per year to use on campus. The farm also offers a Food, Farm and Sustainability Institute where students, faculty, staff and alumni can learn about food production and sustainable agriculture during the 6-week institute. This year’s institute runs from June 3-July 12th.

Contacts: lcox@hampshire.edu or nehFC@hampshire.edu

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Cook College Student Organic FarmRutgers University

New Brunswick, NJ

Rutgers University boasts having the nation’s largest organic farm managed completely by students. The five-acre farm was founded in 1993 and provides locally grown, organic produce to CSA members and surplus produce to a nearby soup kitchen. Cook College farm also has paid summer internships for students who not only work the land, but also write the weekly newsletter, The Cover Crop.

Contact: 732-932-9711, ext. 256

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Dilum Hill Student FarmCornell University
Ithaca, NY

Dilmun Hill is a student-run farm with a mission to provide students, faculty, and staff, as well as community members with opportunities to experience sustainable farming. The farm’s bounty is sold in Ho Plaza and in front of Mann Library June through October and supplies fresh veggies to the Cornell Dining and Manndible Cafe.

Contact: dilmunhill@cornell.edu

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Dickinson College FarmDickinson College

Carlisle, PA

At 50-acres, the Dickinson College Farm is a certified organic living laboratory that gives students hand-on experience growing food for their community. Most of the harvest is split between the campus dining hall and Dickinson’s CSA program—which in this case stands for Campus Supported Agriculture. The rest goes to the town farmers’ market, local restaurants, and some is donated. In addition to dark leafy greens and bulbous root vegetables, the farm also manages a flock of sheep, grass-fed beef cattle, laying hens and broiler chickens.

Bonus: Jenn Halpin, the farm’s director, was a Farm Aid Farmer Hero!

Contact: halpinj@dickinson.edu; (717) 245-1969

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Common Ground Student-Run Educational FarmUniversity of Vermont

Burlington, VT

Common Ground’s three-acre farm is 100% student run and operated. In addition to row crops, the farm has a perennial fruit area with blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, black currants, gooseberries, sour cherries, plums, peaches, and nectarines. The farm contributes fresh, organic vegetables to the Campus Kitchen Project—a hunger relief program that distributes meals to the community. Produce is also sold at a stand in front of the library, and distributed through a CSA. UVM has really jumped on board, offering courses like an Organic Farm Practicum and Organic Farm Planning.

Contact: cgsref@uvm.edu

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Agricultural Learning CenterUniversity of Massachusetts

Stockbridge, MA

Perhaps one of the newest college farms in the Northeast is the 50-acre farm at UMass Stockbridge, which launched this past April. This farm will act as a classroom, giving students a place to learn about agriculture while also digging in and participating in growing crops and raising livestock. UMass has other farms throughout the state of Massachusetts, but those are primarily for professional research—this farm is specifically for students and pairs with the new Sustainable Food and Farming major at the university, which offers classes like: organic weed control, community food systems, and sustainable soil and crop management.

Contact: AgLC@cns.umass.edu