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BRPC Sees Opportunity in Forestland Program
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
10:34PM / Tuesday, March 11, 2014
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ADAMS, Mass. — Northern Berkshire County could tap into federal assistance to promote and maintain its forestry resources. 

A forestry conservation program being promoted by the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission looks to use a new model that links communities, property owners, businesses, state agencies and federal agencies.

"The predominate reason we want to do this is to access some of the federal resources that may be associated through the U.S. Forest Service," Thomas Matuszko, assistant director of BRPC, said Monday night. "[Massachusetts] does not have a national forest currently, and we are missing out on a lot of those resources."

The first of

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Residents Untrusting Of Latest Wind Siting Investigation
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:32AM / Tuesday, January 28, 2014
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — After five years of questioning attempts to pass a Wind Energy Siting Reform Act, there is little wonder anti-wind activists don't trust the newest state investigation into the issue.

The Department of Public Utilities held a hearing on Monday on the latest try at developing a wind siting policies. This study is an interagency look at developing guidelines and suggestions for how to permit land-based wind power facilities.

"I want to emphasize that the task at hand for the DPU is to develop a voluntary guidance document on the siting of wind energy facilities. The department is not developing enforceable standards, requirements or regulations,"

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State Schedules Wind Energy Hearing At BCC
Staff Reports,
04:16PM / Wednesday, January 15, 2014
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The state's renewed look at wind siting regulations will return to the Berkshires on Jan. 27.

The Department of Public Utilities scheduled the hearing on Monday, Jan. 27 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Berkshire Community College. The DPU has taken up the research into how to choose and permit the location of land-based wind energy facilities.

The DPU is leading this investigation that became a hot topic statewide in 2011, when Gov. Deval Patrick proposed a law that would create one group to permit all of the state's wind-turbine projects. That law was opposed in the Berkshires because there are numerous wind sites identified in area and the statewide group could

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Williamstown Con Comm Hears Project Updates
By Stephen Dravis, Williamstown Correspondent
08:48PM / Sunday, January 12, 2014
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Conservation Commission received updates recently on several projects — including a couple of its own.   The commission had just one public hearing on the its agenda Thursday and OK'd in short order: a Williams College plan to resod its two varsity soccer fields at Cole Field.   The bulk of the meeting was spent getting reports on the ongoing construction at the Clark Art Institute, improvements to the Con Comm-managed Margaret Lindley Park and the panel's efforts to update the town's Open Space and Recreation Plan.   Engineer Charlie LaBatt of Guntlow and Associates told the commission the redesign of the Clark's campus

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North Adams Hospital Food Waste Welcome at Pig Farm
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
02:20AM / Wednesday, December 18, 2013
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The trend in Berkshire County may be "farm to table" but one farming partnership is reversing the order — from table to farm.    Or more accurately "almost table" to some very hungry pigs. Big pigs.    Jennifer LaValley and her brother, Peter, are continuing a farming tradition begun by their grandfather on land along the Green River, raising Hereford cattle and Yorkshire and Duroc heritage breed pigs.    "We have a novel approach ... like our cows, there are things pigs are meant to be fed," LaValley said during a visit to Big Pig Farm. "A lot of commercial farms use corn GMO grains and

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Williams Students: Potential for More Farmland Matching
By Stephen Dravis, Williamstown Correspondent
10:19AM / Tuesday, December 17, 2013
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A study by Williams College students suggests area agriculture advocates think big by thinking small.   The key to expanding local food production in Northern Berkshire County lies in promoting small-scale partnerships between landowners and new or existing farmers, according to "A Future for Farming: Land Leasing in Williamstown and Adams."   Four students in professor Sarah Gardner's Center for Environmental Studies class presented the results of their research at this month's meeting of the Williamstown Agricultural Commission.   The students queried the owners of 370 properties of 4.5 acres or more in Williamstown and

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Berkshire Grown Sets Holiday Farmers Markets
05:26PM / Friday, November 22, 2013
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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Berkshire Grown will host its 5th annual Holiday Farmers Markets on two weekends this season in both Great Barrington and Williamstown.

The market runs from runs from 10 to 2 on Saturdays, Nov. 23 and Dec. 14,  at Monument Valley Middle School in Great Barrington and on Sundays, Nov. 24 and Dec. 15, at Williams College Towne Field House in Williamstown.

The events feature locally grown and produced foods, including fruits and vegetables, cheese, eggs, meat, poultry, bread, pies, pickles, jams and more. Admission is free.

"The 5th annual Berkshire Grown Holiday Farmers' Markets will be more festive than ever," said Barbara Zheutlin,

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The Independent Investor: Averting a Future Food Crisis
By Bill Schmick,
12:03PM / Thursday, November 21, 2013
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More and more scientists, sociologists and economists are predicting a world food crisis in this century. Meeting that challenge will require another Green Revolution, but how we accomplish that is the subject of a great deal of controversy.

Between the 1940s and 1970s the world enjoyed its first "Green Revolution." It was an age of technological advances in food production. This golden age of agriculture introduced new chemical fertilizers and pesticides, better irrigation and planting methods, improved and different varieties of seeds and a new understanding of farm technology. This renaissance in farming resulted in huge gains in the amount of food farmers were able to

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Berkshire Conservation District Elects New Supervisors
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:14PM / Thursday, November 14, 2013
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The district swore in two new members and one returning to the board of supervisors on Tuesday.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Conservation District elected two new members to the Board of Supervisors at their annual meeting on Tuesday night.

Patricia Saupe of Richmond and William Pike of Hinsdale joined the seven-member board filling vacancies. The district also re-elected Kevin Zimmer and Ned Kirchner to the board.

The volunteer board heads conservation efforts in Berkshire County and focuses on being a liaison between farmers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"Our mission is to help support local conservation efforts," said Administrator Aimee

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DCR Eyes Forest Management Plans In Berkshires
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:33AM / Sunday, October 27, 2013
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Department of Conservation and Recreation Foresters are plotting three projects in Berkshire County to strategically manage large areas of the woods.   A 246-acre area in Sandisfield, 365 acres in Plainfield and Savoy and 300 acres on October Mountain are all eyed for forest management projects. Foresters are now putting together a "prescription" and contractors will later implement the plans.    The proposals aim to not only remove dead or dying trees posing hazards on sides of roads but also repair trails, ensure diversity tree maturity, limit the spread of diseases and invasive species and improve the overall health of the

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