Making farming easier for young farmers

CN-MR-young farmers-3_2784by Sally Colby

It’s tough for young farmers to get started in farming. If there’s no access to farm property through family, it can be close to impossible to fund even a small parcel of land. The Farmland Access Program of the Vermont Land Trust has made it easier for farmers to acquire agricultural land and start farming enterprises that provide long-term benefits for both farmers and the community.

Two Vermont couples are among the most recent beneficiaries of the program. Noah Hoskins explains how the program helped jump-start their farm operation.

“My brother-in-law Mike Euphrat and I are both from this area,” said Noah. “We had been working in small-scale agriculture enterprises of our own for the last ten years or so. Our wives are sisters who moved here from Mt. Desert Island in Maine, and we were connected through living across the street from them. This farm became available, and it was a farm we were familiar with. We submitted a proposal and were successful.” [Read more…]

Mary L Farm enters its 10th year of organic dairying

CM-MR-3-MaryL1aby Karl H. Kazaks

MT. ULLA, NC —  In 2006, Mary L Farm, operated by Rick and Dorcas Parker, was the first North Carolina dairy to be certified organic. Recently, two of the Parkers’ children, Taylor and Maurice, shared their perspective on what the past nine years have brought.

“Being organic is different, not easier, than conventional production,” said Taylor, who is a student at Catawba College and helps on the farm when not in school. “The transition brought a whole new set of struggles.” [Read more…]

New and improved animal identification system

CEW-BF-MR-Animal ID 1cby Sally Colby

Remember NAIS, or National Animal Identification System? It was the USDA program that was essentially abandoned after drawing ire from producers who thought the system was difficult and expensive to initiate. After dropping the concept of NAIS, USDA officials worked on developing a program that was more flexible and that would improve the ability to track animal movement across state lines, and came up with USDA/APHIS veterinarian Dr. Paul Pitcher says one justification for a national database of beef cattle is the international market. “Our consumers are present around the globe,” said Pitcher. “Producers in the United States are under the gun to be more responsive to the international customer. Animal traceability is becoming more important and will impact producers’ ability to make a profit.” [Read more…]

Mark Rashid discusses herd dynamics at Equine Affaire

CN-MR-3-HerdDynamics1585by Laura Rodley

Three bleachers bulged with spectators during internationally renowned horse trainer Mark Rashid’s talk, “Herd Dynamics: Understanding the Difference between Domestic and Feral Horses’ Behavior” at the 50th Equine Affaire, which was held in November in Springfield, MA.

Attendees were quiet, avidly paying attention as Rashid spoke, as though putting into action something he has noticed while studying feral herds. “[Horses] have to stay quiet. If they make noise, attract predators. There is one reason bands of wild horses are so quiet — preservation,” said Rashid, of Estes Park, CO, the author of seven horse-related books. [Read more…]

Celebrating another successful year in Madison County

CE-MR-3-Celebrating another3by Troy Bishopp

HAMILTON, NY — Flannel shirts, calloused hands, delicious food and colorful stories marked the culmination of another year in protecting Madison County’s natural resources while assisting local agriculture and municipalities to make sensible land and water management decisions.

The 5th annual appreciation luncheon held at the White Eagle Conference Center credits the family of farmers, contractors, town supervisors, Agri-business companies, engineering support, state and federal conservation partners and funding organizations who collaborate together to get practical conservation on the ground. “The day is dedicated to saying thank you for contributing to the Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District’s mission and enjoying food, friendships and the holidays together,” said District Manager, Steve Lorraine. [Read more…]