LEESBURG, VA — Morven Park is a 1,000-acre property with a historic mansion that was once the home of Virginia Governor Westmoreland Davis. Davis was an advocate for agriculture and one of the founders of the Virginia Dairymen’s Association. Today, his estate is run by a non-profit organization that has a mission to serve the public in a number of ways. To meet its agriculture mandate, the park has started a farm incubator program. The first participant in that program is Three Monkeys Farm, a local grain operation helmed by Trent Tebbe. Tebbe grew up on a grain farm in Indiana, where his family grew corn and soybeans for grain and seed, as well as wheat and popcorn.
by Steve Wagner
Changing Food Trends was the theme of the 137th PennAg Annual Meeting and it asked the question on the front page of the program “do consumers drive the agricultural marketplace?” Penn State’s Ross Pifer was one of the answerers. Pifer, who is with the Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center’s Rural Economic Development Clinic, pointed out many of the ifs, ands or buts with regard to how various states are handling some of the thornier issues. Pifer is specifically addressing mandatory GMO labeling. Fifteen years ago, the New York Times ran an op-art illustration of what the supermarket offering of GMO foods might look like in the future. Among the items were odorless fish ($5.99/lb.), rectangular zucchini (for easier cooking on the grill), and Viagra peas for 99 cents. (Don’t ask.) But since public perceptions of GMOs still runs against them, largely mountains of superstition and misinformation, Pifer focused on a specific argument using tomatoes as an example, and also how some states are managing labeling of GMO products, and also with legal developments. Continue reading
EAST SYRACUSE, NY — As a sought-after professional speaker and radio commentator, Steve Gilliland logs thousands of miles on the road each day. It would be easy for him to lose direction and a sense of purpose.
It doesn’t happen, however, because he remembers the dark days that forced him to examine his life and take control.
Gilliland was the keynote speaker at the New York Farm Bureau’s Fusion Forum: “Fusing Purpose, Passion & Pride to Ignite Your Potential” at the DoubleTree hotel in East Syracuse in March. It was the first of two days of lectures and workshops aimed primarily at young farmers and ranchers. Continue reading
by Tamara Scully
Are you hearing that rumble? If some of the top grazing specialists in the Northeast have their way, you will be. They’ve organized together to develop a potential new source of agricultural income, a innovative means of utilizing non-prime farmland, a means of keeping lands in agriculture, and a way to promote the actual grazing of livestock as a reliable feed source.
About 100 people attended the inaugural 2015 Northeast Contract Grazing Summit, held in late March in Morrisville, NY. Hosted by the Weaver Family Farm, and organized by Troy Bishopp, Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District Grazing Specialist, aka “The Grass Whisperer.” The event brought together a diverse group of farmers, grazing experts, butchers, and legal and insurance industry representatives, all of whom offered advice, shared successes and learning experiences, and underscored the real opportunities which contract grazing can bring to the region’s agricultural community.
“We think this is good for New York. We keep trying to get someone to listen, now we’re just doing it,” Bishopp said, indicating a team that includes Brett Chedzoy, Mike Baker, Steven Lorraine and many other of the workshops speakers. Continue reading