Emily Corwin

Emily Corwin reported on economics for the StateImpact New Hampshire blog until the project merged with the New Hampshire Public Radio site in July 2013. She is now NHPR’s Seacoast Reporter. You can follow her on Twitter at @emilycorwin, and find her stories on NHPR.org.

Growing Pains: Can Demand For Local Meat Sustain N.H.’s Three New Slaughterhouses?

Ray Conner at Evandale Farm, with goats. Conner is hopeful the state's new slaughterhouses will help her expand her business.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Ray Conner at Evandale Farm, with goats. Conner is hopeful the state's new slaughterhouses will help her expand her business.

According to the USDA, Americans are producing and eating more locally-raised food every year.  But the market for local meat has trailed behind the market for local produce.  Until recently, reasoning has been that there’s a shortage of local slaughterhouses. But as three slaughterhouses open their doors in NH this year, industry-wide studies show that more slaughterhouses may not be the answer, after all. 

  Hear the first installment of this series.

Pete and Tara Roy ran a small slaughterhouse in Vermont before they decided to expand. They turned away good customers for five years straight. So about a year ago, the couple built this, bigger meat cutting plant across the river in N. Haverhill, New Hampshire. Pete Roy has a bandana tied tight around his head.  As he leads me onto the kill floor, one of his five kids trail behind us.

Roy points to a pneumatic lift and giant stainless steel saw. He says considering the capital it takes to build a new facility at all, it was go big, or go home.

We got 10,000 feet here we had two in our other plant, this is way bigger. Our capacity, the infrastructure is here to kill 40 or 50 beef a day, we don’t have the equipment or the manpower, nor do we have the demand, but we built the shell, the infrastructure is all here to grow significantly.

Like all USDA slaughterhouses, the Roys’ facility had to include an office and a separate bathroom for a full time USDA inspector. Continue Reading

Growing Pains: What One N.H. Farmer Is Doing To Make Local Food More Profitable

With almost 60 farmers markets across the state, demand for local food is growing. But local farmers still struggle to make a profit growing local food. In fact, about three quarters of all farms in New Hampshire gross less than $10,000 from sales each year.

This is the first installment in our summer business series investigating how a changing market place is affecting New Hampshire farmers.


At the Concord Farmers’ Market on a Wednesday evening in July, an older woman peers over a table at some whimsical looking vegetables shaped like a curlicues. She asks a young farmer standing behind the table what to do with them. “You just put it wherever you’d use garlic, or chives,” the farmer explains. “They’re good.”

Continue Reading

N.H. Startup Brings Local Shops Into Online Wedding Registry Industry

You know the drill – you get a pretty invitation in the mail with a link to Amazon.com or Bed Bath and Beyond. You sit down on the couch, point, click, type in your credit card digits and wave goodbye to your hard-earned money.

But if a couple wants their friends to shop locally, well – they’ve got to travel back in time.

When I arrived at Things Are Cooking, a kitchen appliance store in Concord, I asked owner Mike Beauregard to show me how his store handles wedding registries. He handed me a pen, a clipboard and a photocopied piece of paper.

Continue Reading

Economic Tensions Fuel Disagreement Between Car Makers And Dealers

As competition in the auto industry heats up, car makers are tightening their image and branding campaigns. But car dealers — who feel financially vulnerable despite soaring profits — say manufacturers are expecting them to pay too much of the price.
In New Hampshire, dealer organizations are behind a bill that would protect them from what they see as exploitation by manufacturers, which won near-unanimous support in the Senate and is now being considered by the House. Manufacturers argue that government shouldn’t interfere with their private business contracts.

But behind all the he-said she-said, there are changing forces in the automobile industry.
Scott Holloway has been selling cars for as long as he can remember. His father Paul Holloway bought a dealership in the 1960s, they’ve been expanding across the state ever since. While there have long been tensions between dealers and manufacturers, the Holloways say they have never seen anything like what’s happening now.

“This is the thing that really made my skin crawl almost,” says Scott Holloway, pointing to some light fixtures at his Buick and GMC dealership in Portsmouth. “We went to PSNH and did their green energy program, less than three years ago.” Holloway says he pulled out all the lights, and got energy saving lights put in. Then, a couple years later, Holloway says, General Motors told him he had to replace the energy efficient lights with GM’s standard issue lights. If Holloway didn’t comply, GM would increase the cost he pays on every car. Continue Reading

Female Inmates’ Lawsuit Spurs Action Among Lawmakers

Nearly 24 years after the courts first ordered a new facility for female inmates, the New Hampshire House has approved a capital budget with $38 million set aside for a 224-bed women’s prison in Concord.

Now, a class action lawsuit is driving lawmakers to act.

85 percent of the women here at the Goffstown prison face mental health problems. Another 85 percent face substance abuse issues, and most suffer from both. The most common sentence is theft, followed by forgery, and then murder.

It can take 5 or 6 tries to get any given door to open at the Goffstown womens prison. And that’s after the guard in the control room has unlocked it. But, if you’re persistent, you can get where you’re trying to go.

Almost ten years ago, Holly Wheatley stole $24,000 by forging checks issued by the state. She was a state employee.

Over the hum of vending machines in the prison visitors room, Wheatley says she’s 4 years into her 6 year minimum sentence. Continue Reading

Granite Staters Commute Longer Than Most, Paying Quarter Billion In Income Taxes To Massachusetts

Correction: A calculation error in the text on the fourth slide has been corrected.
At 6:15 every morning, Christine Suchecki leaves her house in Windham, NH, and spends the next hour and twenty minutes driving almost 40 miles to her job as a nurse in Boston. Her husband drives in a similar direction, to Waltham, MA. “We just look at it as either you’re going to pay financially in your proximity to the city, or with time in your commute,” Suchecki says.

Suchecki and her husband are among the more than 80,000 Granite Staters who commute down to Massachusetts each day for work. In fact, only people traveling between Maryland and the District of Columbia commute across state lines more than Granite Staters.

Together, New Hampshire residents earned more than $6 billion in income in Massachusetts in 2011. They pay around $250 million in taxes to the state of Massachusetts each year. Continue Reading

In N.H., Minimum Wage Earners Need 2.8 Jobs To Afford 2-Bedroom Apartment

In order to afford a two-bedroom apartment in New Hampshire, a renter would need to work 2.8 minimum-wage jobs. The math breaks down like this:

According to HUD’s Fair Market Rent documentation, a two-bedroom apartment will cost about $1,065 in New Hampshire. In order to spend only 30 percent of one’s income on rent, a renter would need to earn $3,548 each month, or $42,580 each year.

New Hampshire has a minimum wage of $7.25. Working 40 hours a week, all year round, a minimum wage earner will make only $15,080. That’s according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Out of Reach 2013 report.

New Hampshire housing came in at 12th most expensive in the nation, with Hawaii coming in 1st, followed by Washington DC, California, and New York. Massachusetts came in 7th, Vermont 16th, and Maine 23rd.

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