Growing up with Herefords

CW-MR-3-Locust Lane308by Sally Colby

Chris Dermody grew up with Belgian draft horses and cattle, but recalls that the horses were just too big when he was young. “I liked cows,” said Chris. “My parents got me two Hereford heifers when I was eight, and I got started in 4-H. Then I had a steer project, and started to build a herd.”

As Chris learned how to raise and show cattle, he also developed an eye for quality. “At the start, I listened to what everyone was telling me,” he said. “By the time I was 12, I was into looking up bulls on my own. We got our own tank so we could order semen from the bulls I thought would make the best crosses.” [Read more…]

Springbrook Farm encourages youth

CM-MR-2-Springbrook1by Sally Colby

Kevin Diehl has considerable experience in the cattle industry, starting with the steers he raised and showed in 4-H. “I bought my first breeding female in 1982,” said Kevin, who took over his dad’s Fairfield, PA farm in 1991. “When I was out of 4-H, I worked for Frank Darcy, one of the top Hereford breeders in Pennsylvania. In 1984, we took a small string of cattle to the National Western Stock Show in Denver and had the champion female.”

That’s where Kevin says his interest in Herefords started. He noted that since starting in the beef business, he’s seen a lot of changes in cattle type. “We almost ruined not only our breed, but other breeds, by single trait selection — frame size — because that’s what was winning the shows,” he said. “We know now that any time we select for a single trait, we lose other traits. Maternal and thickness went to the side, and all we had was big, tall beef cattle with not a lot of meat or maternal traits.” [Read more…]

Purposeful pasture pruning

CEW-MR-1-Purposeful pastureby Troy Bishopp

On June 9, 2010 my friend, grazing customer, mentor and fiercely independent farmer, David Huse tragically died when his tractor and mower were hit by a car on his way to help a neighbor.

At his funeral I recollect writing this passage: “A large, skylight provided a mottled scene over my friend’s casket, as I sat in the pew at St. Vincent de Paul’s Church in Cobleskill clutching a little farmscape card with the 23rd Psalm on it. I heard and felt the words from the pastor and David’s brothers, all the while looking up at the view of the sky in an attempt to hold in all the emotion I was feeling. It was during the singing of Amazing Grace that I noticed the portal filled with sun, shining through a crystal clear blue sky. My eyes and heart couldn’t hold back the flood.” [Read more…]

Social media 101

CM-MR-2-SocialMedia1by Steve Wagner

It should come as no surprise just how fast and widespread the tentacles of social media are spreading. Pervading nearly every aspect of our daily lives, it is doing so with relative suddenness. Yet it is happening with our permission, and isn’t exactly happening under our unsuspecting noses. It is here, it has been here and it will continue to be here, certainly for the short term — and likely much longer than that. For anyone interested in acquainting themselves with this phenomenon, Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association held a seminar at the Farm & Home Center in Lancaster, PA. The aim was to help attendees expand online awareness of their businesses, particularly agri-businesses, through the further sophisticated use of social media. [Read more…]

Carroll County High School team take top honors at Maryland Envirothon

CM-RP-1-CarrollCountyA five-member team of students from Carroll County, named Venturing Crew 202, is the winner of the 24th annual Maryland Envirothon — an outdoor natural resources competition that challenges students to identify and categorize living resources, perform soil surveys and solve other complex natural resource issues. More than 100 challengers from 18 counties across Maryland took part in this year’s competition. The event was held June 18-19 at the Camp Pecometh in Queen Anne’s County.

“It is great to see such a sincere interest in the science side of the environment,” said Secretary Buddy Hance. “With the strong leadership and scientific expertise of these students, the outlook for our natural resources and agricultural industry is indeed very bright.” [Read more…]