Hard work brings international showring success to Berks County, PA’s Younker brothers

CM-DY-1-HardworkHARRISBURG, PA — On the show circuit, every farm family wants its animals to be the first to walk out of the ring, blue ribbon pocketed or purple banner in hand. Even with the competitive spirit that generates, it fosters a sense of family who cares about each other’s successes, cow families and relationships. That camaraderie is evident at the All-American Dairy Show in Harrisburg, PA. [Read more…]

Farming through experience and education

CN-MR-3-Harris3103by Sally Colby

Jake Harris knew he wanted to farm, but he also knew that going to college would be an important part of his career planning.

Harris is a recent graduate of the University of New Hampshire (UNH), where he studied agriculture. “They have a nice program as far as dairy, horticulture and general agriculture,” he said. “The Thompson School of Applied Science has a hands-on program, so I could take a wide variety of classes in my major, which is integrated agriculture management. I could combine courses to have the kind of experience I wanted.”

Integrated Agricultural Management is a new field of study at UNH, and Harris is in the second graduating class of that major. The major addresses the diverse nature of New England farms, and is ideal for those who want to get into agriculture but don’t have a specific goal in mind. [Read more…]

The Fjord horses of Norway

CN-MS-2-FjordHorseby Bill and Mary Weaver

Fjord horses, originally from the mountains of western Norway, were the horses of choice for the Vikings. They are a sturdy and versatile breed.

Gina DeSantis of Let’s Dance Dressage showed two Fjord horses at Ag Progress Days as part of “The Equestrian Experience”: Gunter, her gelding, and Lily, her mare. “We bred them, and I raised them both from birth,” DeSantis explained. “Lily is Gunter’s aunt. She came from Gunter’s grandmother, who was imported from Norway.

“Lily’s father was a more refined type of Fjord. There’s a big difference between Lily and Gunter in bone structure. Gunter was a feisty colt, so he got gelded.” [Read more…]

Teaming up for dairy goat competition

CW-MR-1-Dairy goatby Pat Malin
Thirteen-year-old Nicole Mrzywka and her 16-year-old sister, Natalie, insist they have been competing in the state fair their entire lives. “I was three months old when I first came here in 2001,” said Nicole, adding that her sister was just over two years old at the time.

The sisters and their cousin, Rylie Leer, 14, of Holley in western New York, teamed up to win 19 ribbons and two plaques in the Meat Goat competition at the New York State Fair, including grand champion, percentage doe, percentage doe reserve, master showman, blood doe, reserve junior champion, etc. with their Nubian and Boer goats.

The three girls have also been busy breeding, training and showing cows, sheep, rabbits, guinea pigs and dogs. “It’s hard sometimes, but everything falls into place,” said Nicole of the teens’ hectic schedule.