WYSO

Agriculture

Along with learning how to collect and save seeds, part of Beth Bridgman's class included collecting the oral history of seeds.
courtesy of Beth Bridgeman

78 percent of the world’s seeds are now owned by three companies, and it’s those companies who decide which ones to make available to the public. 

That’s quite a turnaround from America’s early years, when the U.S. government was giving billions of seeds away for free. But it’s not just the variety of seeds being lost, it’s also the history that those seeds represent. 

Ohio farmers say they’re on board with the state’s plans to slow down agricultural runoff into Lake Erie, which Gov. Mike DeWine has said is the biggest contributor to toxic algae blooms. 

Many people, like Rosealie and Katie are opting for locally grown, seasonal flowers for weddings and other special events.
Renee Wilde / WYSO

Jackie Hampton has pulled up to a small, self-serve, farm stand. It houses seasonal produce from That Guy’s Farm and floral bouquets from That Girl’s Flowers. She’s here to buy flowers for her daughter’s anniversary.

“Actually this is my first time. I’ve always bought their produce and stuff.” Jackie says looking opening the door to the small, refrigerated building, “ They have beautiful flowers. You don’t see this kind in the stores.”

Ohio farmers who want to sell their property to a younger farmer in their family might soon get a tax incentive to do that. 

Brooke Stingley with her family at the Clinton County Fair
Renee Wilde / WYSO

Farming presents unique challenges for women. As wives of farmers, they often balance full-time jobs off the farm while raising a family. Living in sparsely populated areas means many farm women are left trying to cope with the stress alone. Today County Lines introduces us to Annie’s Project, intended to build a community among rural women in Ohio.

Monica Wood lives in Clinton County. Today, she’s in the barn with her husband training calves for the show ring.

Oakview Farm Meats host gatherings at the farm where diners can sample the collaboration of Hippie and the Farmer.
Renee Wilde / WYSO

Pam Bowshier and Mark Runyan run the Champaign County Virtual Farmers Market together, but they also have working partnership, which they call Hippie and the Farmer. She is Hippie, the free-spirited baker; he's the conservative, 4th generation farmer. Together they've created a unique farm to table business. 

Pam Bowshier was selling her baked goods at the local farmers markets when she paired up with Mark Runyan, creating a breakfast sandwich from her bread and his sausage that people loved. 

Pam Bowsheir and Mike Runyan run Champaign Locally Grown.
Renee Wilde / WYSO

The first American farmers' market opened in Boston in 1634. They were the center of many communities until advances in modern refrigeration spawned the birth of the supermarket. In the 1970’s, Americans became more health conscious and the concept of buying fresh, locally grown produce straight from the farm caused a renaissance for farmers' markets.

Today, farmer’s markets are everywhere - even online.

The state is giving farmers another opportunity to apply for loans as they deal with severe weather and flooding that has kept many farmers from planting their crops. 

Ohio’s agriculture director is asking the federal government to help the state’s farmers, many of whom have been unable to plant crops because of rainy weather. 

American soil.

Those are two words that are commonly used to stir up patriotic feelings. They are also words that can't be taken for granted, because today nearly 30 million acres of U.S. farmland are held by foreign investors. That number has doubled in the past two decades, which is raising alarm bells in farming communities.

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