farming

Hops were once a major agricultural product in Sonoma County. Now they’re starting to come back, but mostly as a specialty crop for the craft beer market.

 It's not hard to get started growing hops,  says Mike Stevenson of the NorCal Hop Growers Alliance. And its even easier to keep them going once the field has been established.

Making beer is by far the primary use for hops. But not, says Stevenson, the only one.

Bruce Robinson / KRCB-FM

Ag Days returned to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds this week. The annual event, hosted by the local Farm Bureau, gives thousands of elementary school students some first-hand exposure to this region’s agricultural heritage and its products. 

  Sunday evening at 6 pm, Nancy Wang returns to Mouthful to talk about this year's upcoming Redwood Empire Chinese Association Lunar New Year Celebration, and Evan Wiig stops by to talk about the Barn Raiser and Dancing taking place at Shone Farm.

 

Tiffany Camhi

Women farmers have been a backbone in agriculture for hundreds of years, but according to some their voices and stories are not being heard. Now a group in Sebastopol is trying to break that mold. KRCB’s Tiffany Camhi reports.

The event included many local Bay Area farmers and food advocates. To find out more information about the speakers check out the Foundations and the Future website.

Tiffany Camhi

Near West Marin’s small farming town of Tomales there’s a ranch that is sucking tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. The ranch was part of an experimental carbon farming project a few years ago and now it’s sharing the results. KRCB’s Tiffany Camhi reports.

Find out more about Stemple Creek Ranch and its farming practices at its website. The Marin Agricultural Land Trust hosts many events from educational talks like "Carbon Farming 101" to farm tours and tastings. Check their events page for more.

True Grass Farms

  Self-sufficiency is a cornerstone of sustainability, and it can even be applied to raising prime grass-fed beef. On today’s report, we hear from a young farmer who is doing just that.

The best time of year for butchering beef cattle is usually late summer, explains True Grass Farms’ Guido Frosini. But exactly when is determined by the growth cycle of the grasses that the cattle feed on.

Beyond his own farming practices, Frosini is also determined to build new bridges between consumers and food producers.

Mendocino Grain Project

  Agricultural diversification in Mendocino County doesn’t just mean adding new varietals, or even preparing for legal cannabis cultivation. For a small but growing number of farmers, it includes growing traditional and specialty grains. Reporter Valerie Kim visited the man at the center of this incipient trend, Doug Mosel of the Mendocino Grain Project.

Northern California is home to a growing number of innovative and holistic farms and farmers. A new Farm School program in Sebastopol is out to help export those practices more widely.

  The Farm School doesn’t just teach aspiring agrarians what to do on and with their land, says Director Miriam Volat, it also strives to help those students find land they can work.

  Now that California is collecting billions of dollars from greenhouse gas emitters, some of that money is being directed to programs that help farms and dairies reduce their carbon footprints.  But while additional funds are being sought, the entire program’s future is uncertain.

UC Riverside

  Last year, according to a UC Davis report, the drought cost California’s agricultural economy about one-point-eight-billion-dollars. One response to this—and to climate change in general—has been an expanded use of cover crops, as Byrhonda Lyons reports.

The age-old conflict between livestock and predatory wildlife is the focus of two days of public workshops in Hopland that began Tuesday. For ranchers, it can be a costly issue that resists consistent and simple solutions.

In recent months, California's severe drought has increased the number and visibility of apex predators in and around human populations where they are not usually found, observes Pamela Flick from Defenders of Wildlife.

John Wall

The conflict between wilderness and commercial uses of land within the Point Reyes National Seashore is heating up again—this time the focal point is competition for food between cattle and a protected species of elk.

  The roots of the current conflict between elk and cattle reach all the way back to the creation of the Point Reyes National Seashore, reports Bay Nature writer Alison Hawkes. But finding a balance between the two has become increasingly difficult for the park's managers. 

This Sunday at 6 p.m., Mouthful holds a freewheeling conversation with host Michele Anna Jordan, engineer Mike Young and you! That's right, Mouthful wants you to weigh in with a phone call, a Facebook post or an email with your request, question or opinion. Topics to be explored include newly-released cookbooks, the county's current harvest of fruit and vegetables and a stunning documentary on the wild salmon of North America, along with anything you want to talk about.

Connecting New Farmers with Land

Apr 21, 2015
Image courtesy The Farmer's Guild

Sonoma County prides itself on its agricultural history, but high land costs are making it difficult for the next generation of farmers to get a foothold. An alliance of farmers, landowners and public agencies are hoping to change that.  

Humane Society of the United States

  Three groups are suing the FDA over their approval of new combinations of growth enhancing drugs for farm animals, many of which have been banned in Europe, China and Russia.  Lori Abbott has details.