NYS Ag Commissioner Ball reviews his first year in office

CEW-MR-1-Comm-Ball-2by Pat Malin

LIVERPOOL, NY -— Richard Ball has been a farmer for four decades, but in the past 12 months he was surprised to witness some very different aspects of agriculture.

After he donned the hat of New York Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets in January 2014, Ball traveled constantly, listening to and helping other farmers with their concerns. Occasionally, their concerns were beyond his personal experience.

Last July, for example, he visited farms in Lewis County in far northern New York that were hard hit by a rare tornado. In November, he commiserated with farmers in Erie County in western New York following an unusually-heavy snowstorm that leveled, by local accounts, nearly 100 barns and greenhouses and wiped out livestock and crops. Yates County farms suffered from a severe hail storm. [Read more…]

Let’s not educate the consumer

C4-MR-1-Educate Consumer1by Sally Colby

Farmers hear it all the time: “We have to educate the consumer.”

But what if the consumer doesn’t want to be educated? What if the consumer is simply looking for clear answers to honest questions?

The generation currently making the most noise about food production is millennials. They’re the children of baby boomers, ranging in age from 18 to 34. [Read more…]

JBS and National Beef Announce Intent to Market 100% Grass-fed Beef; Just In Time For The Winter Green-Up!

1c0a744771caa1141f4f5ea1Within the last several weeks two announcements of national consequence were made. Both National Beef and JBS, two of the world’s largest meat packers, and certainly two of the Big 4 here in the United States, announced they will launch branded beef programs marketing 100% Grass-fed Beef domestically sourced. In much the same way Organic has become fairly mainstream, 100% Grass-fed and Finished (NO Grain ever) is also becoming a major sector of growth in beef demand. The Big 4 are recognizing it and intend to capitalize on it.

[Read more…]

Growing winter storage crops at Skinny Dip Farm

??????????????????????by Sanne Kure-Jensen

Ben and Hannah Wolbach of Skinny Dip Farm in Westport, MA shared their experience growing and selling winter storage crops at a Twilight Event for the Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership (SEMAP). In a recent workshop, Hannah and Ben Wolbach explained their fertility practices. Farm soils receive mineral supplements as recommended by soil tests. Hannah and Ben plant winter rye and vetch cover crops after harvest for winter cover to improve soil fertility and organic matter. Fields that will be planted in summer for fall harvest will have spring planted cover crop blends of either oats or barley with peas, clover and vetch. Oats and peas will cover fields destined for early spring plantings because oats are generally winterkilled in Westport making spring bed preparation easy. [Read more…]