Farmers

Dan Tuohy/NHPR

When Lorraine Stuart Merrill was nominated as Agriculture Commissioner in 2007, the first reporter to get her on the phone asked her how it felt to take the job when farming was all but disappearing in the state.

That wasn't the case then - and it isn't now. There's something of a boomlet going on, she says. But for Merrill it showed that she had her work cut out for her in terms of public perception.

Ben Henry

In a plant-filled apartment in Lebanon during the heat wave this week, Helen Brody drank iced tea and recalled the rise and fall of the New Hampshire Farms Network (NHFN). She launched the website in 2008, to nurture local food culture at a time when “local food” was barely a thing.

For the past decade, the NHFN website had been a source of in-depth profiles on New Hampshire farmers and their families. This April, it closed down, although the New Hampshire Historical Society recently made plans to acquire the profiles.

The USDA has designated Belknap, Grafton, Merrimack, Strafford, Cheshire, Hillsborough Rockingham and Sullivan counties as primary natural disaster areas due to crop loss from unseasonably warm temperatures followed by freezing early this year.  Now, farmers in those and contiguous counties are eligible to apply for low interest emergency loans from USDA’s lending agency.