Lena Jackson

Lead and arsenic used decades ago in pesticides are still lingering in the topsoil of Pacific Northwest apple country. That poses a health risk for children who come in close contact with dirt -- in the backyards and playgrounds developed from former orchards.

Smoke will soon be returning to Douglas County, only this time, it won't be from a wildfire. Farmers will be utilizing *prescribed burns to prepare fields and pastures for next spring. Prescribed burns help remove noxious weeds, insects, and diseased plants, and they help firefighters by reducing the buildup of brush and other flammable vegetation. The effects on populated areas should be minimized by allowing burns only to take place when conditions are appropriate and weather patterns favorable.

In an effort to keep kids interested and informed about farming, the non-profit educational foundation, "Agriculture in the Classroom" is continuing to build on its success from the last three years.

The Northwest is facing one of the earliest and most productive blueberry harvests in decades and Oregon is looking to become one of the top states for production. The early harvest this year is feeding an increase in consumer demand nationwide. Bryan Ostlund is with the Oregon Blueberry Commission. He says the international export market is also expanding quickly.

Rowan Moore Gerety / Northwest Public Radio

Maybe you remember those glossy Red Delicious Washington apples they served in your grade school cafeteria. Well, Washington growers are expecting a record crop of apples this year, but not of Red Delicious. Most American consumers have moved on and growers are doing their best to keep up.

A new study shows Oregon farmers are more likely to sell product directly to consumers compared to other states. The Census of Agriculture says Oregon ranks 6th in the nation with more than 6,000 farms reporting direct-to-consumer sales. State Board of Agriculture member Barbara Boyer isn't surprised by the findings.

On Tuesday, residents can get to know Eugene area farmers and help those in need get access to healthy food. The 15th annual "That's My Farmer" event showcases local community shared agriculture programs.

John Pitney was a farm kid with a passion for food and people. When he moved to Eugene to be a minister at First United Methodist, he formed a group to link farmers and the community.

Pitney: "One of the things that was a natural component of the organizing from the very beginning was that we would encourage donations at the door and create a low-income fund."

Boosting Biofuel Crops With Super Forecasts

Feb 3, 2014
Anna King

Northwest farmers are trying to get into the business of biofuels. They know the jets of the future may run on oil from crops like canola seeds. But that’s far from commercially viable. One of the challenges is getting the most out of the crops that can be turned into biofuels. Now, agricultural researchers are studying how drone-like aircraft and even satellites can help make more accurate forecasts than ever.

John Sulik plugs in the batteries to his remote-control helicopter. It’s about the size of a car tire.

Anna King: "That’s it? It look’s like a daddy long legs."

Courtney Flatt

If you work outdoors in the summertime, you’d better learn to take the heat. That’s true for people who repair roads, landscape yards, or build houses. Too much exertion and not enough shade or water, and you could get sick. In the first installment of our series, ‘Symptoms of Climate Change,’ EarthFix reporter Courtney Flatt finds out how the increasingly hot sun is affecting people who make their living by harvesting our crops.