Liebe Coolidge of Plainfield, MA has been winning championships with her French Alpine goats for decades as a USDA class C inspected exhibitor. In addition to that, now she and her husband Douglas Premo travel with their business Traveling Hooves to schools, detention center, and fairs with their collection of French Alpine goats, miniature pigs and assorted donkeys to allow children a chance pet the animals. It is a championship of a different sort — forging ties, however brief — between children and animals they might otherwise never have met. [Read more…]
On July 25-27, the UConn Extension New London County 4-H Fair was held in North Stonington, CT. Dairy, beef and goats were the focus of the event, with an open class for working steers. 4-H Assistant Heidi Rechlin of Norwich, CT, was excited to be on-site during the three-day affair. A recent graduate of SUNY Cobleskill with an associate’s degree in agri-business, Heidi was well-prepared. Together, she and Program Coordinator Pamela Gray, of UConn Extension New London County 4-H, planned a remarkable weekend. [Read more…]
This year’s Ag Progress Days (APD), held Aug. 12-14 at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center in Rock Springs, PA, proved to be just as interesting, exciting and educational as always. Despite steady rainfall on Tuesday and brief showers early on Wednesday, “Government Day,” many of the more than 400 exhibitors found that this year’s rainy start didn’t deter farmers from taking advantage of these conditions to come explore the latest in technology and methods. Even with the rain, indoor exhibitors reported a steady stream of activity most of the day on Tuesday. [Read more…]
The classy show stallion in the riding ring was moving its legs at a furious pace, but its steps were so small that the horse itself was hardly moving forward. This is the “fino” gait, performed by show horses of the gaited breed Paso Fino.
The scene was Ag Progress Days in Pennsylvania, and the expert rider and trainer in the saddle was Rick Shaffer, of R&S Paso Finos, Somerset, PA.
“This is strictly for show horses and breeding horses,” he said. “You wouldn’t want a show Paso Fino to take you over a mountain. You wouldn’t get anywhere. It’s the gait of a show horse. But a Paso Fino will give you the smoothest possible ride.” [Read more…]
Soil health is increasingly being recognized as a key factor in plant health and yield, and is the key to successful non-chemical growing. When the soil structure is optimal and left intact, the soil microbial activity is thriving, and carbon is sequestered, the conditions are perfect for crop production. But what if you grow a crop that requires soil disturbances for planting and harvesting? How can soil health be optimized when the soil has to be disturbed? [Read more…]