Winter feeding made easy for young farmers

CEW-MR-1-BALE-GRAZING11by Troy Bishopp

WORCHESTER, NY — American economist and professor at the Harvard Business School, Theodore Levitt, said, “Creativity is thinking up new things; innovation is about doing new things.” As a thinker and doer, Organic Dairyman, Tom McGrath resembles this remark when it comes to out-wintering dairy cows and enhancing the bottom line. What’s this fresh strategy revolutionizing the way for many farmers? Bale grazing.

In the tiny hamlet, Tom, Caroline and daughter, Elaine McGrath of Autumn Valley Farm raise 45 certified organic cows and produce 100 percent grass-fed organic milk for Maple Hill Creamery. Unique in that they are the youngest farmers in the cooperative, they also produce milk seasonally with cows dry during the winter months. “For us and our hill farm, this approach makes sense and gives everybody some needed downtime to recharge our minds and bodies,” said Tom. [Read more…]

Six hundred meals a day

CN-3-Six-hundred-meals-47217by Laura Rodley  

Over six hundred meals a day, three times a day, are served at Hampshire College while college is in session. Approximately 1,400 students attend the school.

To provide the food to feed them, the college has the Hampshire College Farm Center in Amherst, MA, a 100-acre working farm that also provides work-study jobs for the students to study farming. This is in keeping with the college’s goal to locally source 100 percent of the food served on campus.

“We sent eight beef to them this year, usually 15-20 pigs. We send 70 dozen eggs a week; we could do a lot more eggs, but in general eggs are not profitable,” said Pete Solis. He has been the Director of Livestock and Pasture Management for the past year and a half, having brought with him his experience working on his own farm in nearby Easthampton.   [Read more…]

Grazing alternatives

by Tamara Scully

Pasture, which typically contains less than a half-dozen primary plant species, can be seeded and planted, and can be considered a type of crop land. Grazing management increases the harvest efficiency of the pasture. Rangeland, however, consists of native grass, shrub or savannah which is not typically fertilized or planted. It contains upwards of 100 species, and is managed via natural ecological events, such as fire or wildlife grazing.

Livestock can graze rangelands or pasture, but a rangeland system ‘may never recover’ from improper livestock management, while a pasture can undergo restoration. The risk of improper management, from a conservation standpoint, is much more significant on rangeland. Jess Jackson, Jr., of the Natural Resources Conservation Service emphasized the differences during a webinar presentation, Grazing System Designs for Non-traditional Livestock. [Read more…]

Two Pennsylvania producers win national beef Quality Assurance Awards

CM-MR-2-PA-producers-win2qby Steve Wagner

Two Pennsylvania producers recently received national Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) awards at the 2016 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) annual meeting in San Diego, CA. Frank Stoltzfus, Masonic Village Farm in Elizabethtown PA was honored with the checkoff’s annual Cow-Calf Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) award and Reid and Diane Hoover, Brook-Corner, LLC, Lebanon PA, received the Dairy Beef Quality Assurance (DBQA) award. The award program recognizes outstanding beef and dairy producers from across the country that incorporates BQA principles as part of their operation’s day-to-day activities. [Read more…]

Diversity in crops, production, marketing holds key to surviving in unpredictable times

by Pat Malin

LIVERPOOL, NY — Peter Martens could be described as an agricultural entrepreneur.

Owner of Peter Martens Farm in Dresden, NY, in the Finger Lakes region, the 30-year-old is a bit of an unconventional farmer with his penchant for “custom” farming and unusual crops. Even before he graduated from college, he was attracting attention for his techniques and new ideas.

Martens was among the speakers who participated in a panel discussion at the 184th meeting of the New York Agricultural Society and Agricultural Forum. [Read more…]