A 70-year-old treaty between the U.S. and Mexico is supposed to keep the waters of the Rio Grande River flowing between the bordering states. But in a time when the rains can longer be relied upon, Mexico has fallen behind on its part of the deal. Monica Ortiz Uribe, a senior field correspondent for Fronteras, went down to Chihuahua to find out more about this battle for water and shares her findings with The Takeaway.
Farmers in the New York-New Jersey area talk about what's currently in season and what to look forward to at farmers markets.
(Billings, MT – YPR) – The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) said today it has no intention of requiring farmers and ranchers to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to drive farm equipment or haul livestock trailers on roads.
"We want to make it absolutely clear that farmers will not be subjected to new and impractical safety regulations," said U.S. Transportation Deputy Secretary John Porcari. "The farm community can be confident that states will continue to follow the regulatory exemptions for farmers that have always worked so well."
FMCSA launched a review on the enforcement of regulations on agricultural operators to ensure consistent access to exemptions for farmers and to ensure public safety.
Some farm groups, however, raised an outcry. They said proposed rules under consideration could have required farmers and ranchers to obtain a CDL, a medical card and fill out a log book as if they were long-haul semi drivers.
FMCSA says it received about 1700 comments by the August 1, 2011 deadline.
FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro says the vast majority of comments called for the agency to continue to allow states to grant exemptions for agriculture.
“We want to make crystal clear that we are not imposing any new regulations,” says Ferro.
That’s good news, says Montana Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Jake Cummins. “We were assured that their intent was to improve safety so our goal was to demonstrate that in fact we operated in a safe environment already and that the closest agencies to that process were the states not the federal government back in Washington, DC,” Cummins said. “So we think this is a good outcome clearly our efforts to persuade them were successful and we’re happy to hear that.”
(New York -- Lisa Chow, WNYC)
Rising energy prices are inspiring local farmers to get more creative. But they do have one big advantage: they're close to the biggest market in the country, which is New York City.
Even those little bottles filled with jam or honey sold at farmer markets are getting more expensive, said Andrew Coté, a beekeeper in New York.
"The cost of shipping is affected," Coté said. "The bottles are made in China. They're shipped all the way to New York. The bottles are made of a petroleum based product, which is more expensive now."
Despite this week's fall in the price of crude oil, prices have risen significantly since late 2008. And nationwide, the average price for regular grade gasoline is $3.96 a gallon, which is nearly double the price from two years ago, according to the U.S. Energy Department. It's even higher in New York.
"I drive tens of thousands of miles per year to get around to my beehives. I have them within a 50-mile radius," Coté said. "With gas at $4.50 a gallon, it's very difficult to maintain prices as they are."
To deal with these rising costs, Coté came up with an idea to make more money. Instead of branding his honey "New York City honey," which is what he used to do, he is cashing in on the hype around local.
"We've got honey from West 68th, 14th and 2nd, the Financial District from on top of the Bridge Cafe, from Long Island City in Queens, from the Lower East Side. So we have hyper-local honey."
Not everyone can bring their produce from just a few blocks away.
"Gas price increases are affecting all of us in so many different ways," said Cheryl Rogowski, who manages a farm in Orange County, New York, about an hour and a half drive from the city. She sells potatoes, bok choy, radishes and many other sorts of produce at the Union Square market.
Read more at WNYC.
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