HERSHEY, PA — Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) says the overall state budget agreement reached between Governor Wolf and Republican leadership appears to include necessary funding increases to support the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) and positive steps toward reforming an out-of-control pension system, but it falls woefully short in providing property tax relief for farm families. [Read more…]
My agricultural background rests firmly in the equine area. However, with the impending Thanksgiving holiday and the looming threat of bird flu I was pressed into service to find a turkey breeder willing to allow a stranger onto their farm to take a picture of a turkey for a cover.
I learned very quickly that in the face of not only the avian flu outbreak but also the possibility of animal rights activists, the breeders of turkeys, whose main crop after all will be greatly in demand at this time, are not welcoming of strangers. I can’t say that I blame them, come to think of it. I know that if I had a crop of fancy sales yearlings headed for a major horse sale I would be cautious too. But it did mean that I couldn’t just hit the Internet, call a few of the listed turkey farms and expect a welcome mat to be laid out at the end of the farm driveway. [Read more…]
by George Looby, DVM
The cause(s) of breast cancer in humans continues to elude researchers in their ongoing quest for answers to the many possible factors that may contribute to its development. This devastating disease has been recognized for many years with many of the world’s best and brightest minds searching for answers that will lead not just to a cure but more importantly to the cause. Here the question arises as to whether it is one disease or does it have many contributing factors which, when interacting, give rise to the condition that clinicians are trained to recognize. [Read more…]
EAST SYRACUSE, NY — There is no doubt there are unscrupulous individuals and groups who have an ax to grind with the farming industry. On the other hand, there are other individuals who are plainly uninformed of acceptable farming methods, yet still curious about how their food is produced.
Whether you, as a farmer, happen to be confronted by a group that means deliberate harm or whether you run into the latter, you need a plan of action to deal with them.
This was the basis of a vital discussion at the New York Farm Bureau’s Animal Welfare Conference on Oct. 29 at the Doubletree by Hilton in Syracuse. [Read more…]
by Katie Navarra
Putting MOVE in the Movement. Effecting change. That was the theme of the 2015 Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG) annual conference, which took place Nov. 12-14.
Prominent activists and advocates Shirley Sherrod, the executive director of the Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education, and Andy Bichlbaum, of the YES MEN, offered conference attendees insight into diverse strategies that have been successfully used to influence change. [Read more…]
by Pat Malin
An hour-long panel discussion on animal issues was held at the New York Farm Bureau’s Animal Welfare Conference at the Doubletree by Hilton in Syracuse.
Animal abuse, whether it’s perceived or actually exists, took up much of the discussion of the animal issues panel. Jerry Bilinski, DVM, was the moderator and drew up initial questions for the other panelists: Robert Brooks, board member, Harness Horse Breeders of New York State; Mel Chesbro, New York State Fair Coordinator/Ag Manager, NYS Department of Ag and Markets; Carlin Jones, VMD, equine clinic at OakenCroft; Ulf Kintzel, a farmer at White Clover Sheep Farm, and David Smith, DVM, director, Division of Animal Industry, NYS Department of Ag and Markets. [Read more…]
by Tamara Scully
The “sustainability” equation has officially been disregarded by the USDA’s 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs), much to the satisfaction of many players in the dairy and beef industries. The original request for “sustainability” to be included in the update to the Guidelines — which are mandated under 1990 National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act (NNMRRA) and updated every five years — was ultimately denied.
“Most small family farms have already closed,” remarked Dale Baker, while sorting Asian pears at his fruit farm in the Hudson Valley. “This farm has been in my family for over 100 years but the fruit part was started by my grandfather, Gordon Baker, in the early 1920s.”
The farm, which lies just a few miles south of the city of Hudson, NY, consists of a total of 104 acres, with 75 acres fenced in with 8 foot woven wire fencing, “to escape the tremendous deer problem that had developed in the 70s and 80s, with the switch to more dwarfing trees — and with my change to growing more stone fruits that began in the 90s.” [Read more…]