Connecticut Vegetable and Small Fruit Growers Conference

CN-MR-CT-vegetable-and21by George Looby

In January vegetable and small fruit growers from the state and beyond gathered at Maneeley’s Conference Center in South Windsor, CT for their annual conference.

The first speakers of the day were Heather Callahan and Neley Agudelo from the U.S. Dept. of Labor who addressed the topic of how to comply with labor laws and survive a U.S. Dept. of Labor investigation. The rights of farm workers are covered under the provisions of the U.S. Dept. of Labor and cover an array of situations and conditions under which employees might find themselves. Many workers fall under the Migrant and Seasonal Ag Worker Protection Act (MSPA). Items falling under the MSPA umbrella include wages, housing, transportation, working conditions and work-related conditions. [Read more…]

Milk flow

CM-MR-1-Milk-flow11by Tamara Scully

Dairy farmers were offered the opportunity to hear from dairy economist Bob Wellington, of dairy cooperative Agri-Mark, Inc., during a teleconference through the University of Vermont Extension. Bob Parsons, UVM Extension Economist, hosted the call.

Wellington discussed the ‘chaos of the world market,’ which is ‘crucial’ to United States dairy producers as 13-14 percent of U.S.-produced milk, on a component basis, is currently exported overseas. [Read more…]

2016 Vermont Farm Show

CN-9-VT-farm-show11ESSEX JCT, VT — The 2016 Vermont Farm Show at Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction was the best yet. Since the mid 1930’s the Vermont Farm Show has been the best opportunity for agricultural professionals and rural homeowners to meet with vendors, preview products and machinery, attend trade association meetings, seminars and network within the greater agricultural community all under the same roof. [Read more…]

New York Farm Bureau 2016 Legislative priorities

CEW-MR-1-NYFB-priorities11by Elizabeth A. Tomlin

In preparation for Legislative Lobby Days in Albany, New York FB President Dean Norton and NYFB’s Public Policy Director Jeff Williams spoke at a press conference to inform people of priority issues concerning the Ag community.

Topping the list of priorities is NYFB’s opposition to the minimum wage hike.

Norton said that currently the average agricultural wage is above $12 per hour and commented that New York State could not compete with other states to sell Ag products, when farms would be forced to raise their prices even higher to accommodate paying their employees higher wages. He pointed out that New York State already has a higher minimum wage than other surrounding states, and competition for marketing out of state will be even more negatively impacted if the minimum wage is increased. [Read more…]

Dealing with animal rights activists

Part 5: Making sure employees aren’t acting as activist plants

by Sally Colby

Dealing with animal rights activists is a new reality for livestock producers. Although the majority of farm visitors and new employees are not interested in posing as activists or intentionally harming livestock on a farm for the sake of a video, the small minority who are can do great harm. How can an employer ensure that new employees are doing their jobs as assigned and not mishandling livestock or intentionally setting up scenes that could be viewed as animal abuse?

“Sometimes people are hired on farms to do jobs that have nothing to do with the animals,” said Kay Johnson Smith, president and CEO of Animal Agriculture Alliance. “If such people are hired for a non-animal job, then express an interest in switching to a position that involves working directly with the animals, that can be a red flag. Someone who asks questions about security, whether or not the farm has cameras, or the schedule of the manager – that might be a red flag.” [Read more…]