What I now know about turkeys

CN-MR-2-TURKEYS11by Hope Holland

My agricultural background rests firmly in the equine area. However, with the impending Thanksgiving holiday and the looming threat of bird flu I was pressed into service to find a turkey breeder willing to allow a stranger onto their farm to take a picture of a turkey for a cover.

I learned very quickly that in the face of not only the avian flu outbreak but also the possibility of animal rights activists, the breeders of turkeys, whose main crop after all will be greatly in demand at this time, are not welcoming of strangers. I can’t say that I blame them, come to think of it. I know that if I had a crop of fancy sales yearlings headed for a major horse sale I would be cautious too. But it did mean that I couldn’t just hit the Internet, call a few of the listed turkey farms and expect a welcome mat to be laid out at the end of the farm driveway. [Read more…]

Farmers should use social media to influence consumers’ views of ag industry

CEW-MR-1-Social-Media11by Pat Malin

EAST SYRACUSE, NY — There is no doubt there are unscrupulous individuals and groups who have an ax to grind with the farming industry. On the other hand, there are other individuals who are plainly uninformed of acceptable farming methods, yet still curious about how their food is produced.

Whether you, as a farmer, happen to be confronted by a group that means deliberate harm or whether you run into the latter, you need a plan of action to deal with them.

This was the basis of a vital discussion at the New York Farm Bureau’s Animal Welfare Conference on Oct. 29 at the Doubletree by Hilton in Syracuse. [Read more…]

Putting MOVE in the Movement

CW-MR-2-NESAWG41721NESAWG annual It Takes A Region conference

by Katie Navarra

Putting MOVE in the Movement. Effecting change. That was the theme of the 2015 Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG) annual conference, which took place Nov. 12-14.

Prominent activists and advocates Shirley Sherrod, the executive director of the Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education, and Andy Bichlbaum, of the YES MEN, offered conference attendees insight into diverse strategies that have been successfully used to influence change. [Read more…]

Panel discusses animal issues

by Pat Malin

An hour-long panel discussion on animal issues was held at the New York Farm Bureau’s Animal Welfare Conference at the Doubletree by Hilton in Syracuse.

Animal abuse, whether it’s perceived or actually exists, took up much of the discussion of the animal issues panel. Jerry Bilinski, DVM, was the moderator and drew up initial questions for the other panelists: Robert Brooks, board member, Harness Horse Breeders of New York State; Mel Chesbro, New York State Fair Coordinator/Ag Manager, NYS Department of Ag and Markets; Carlin Jones, VMD, equine clinic at OakenCroft; Ulf Kintzel, a farmer at White Clover Sheep Farm, and David Smith, DVM, director, Division of Animal Industry, NYS Department of Ag and Markets. [Read more…]

Dietary guidelines: hold your beef

by Tamara Scully

The “sustainability” equation has officially been disregarded by the USDA’s 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs), much to the satisfaction of many players in the dairy and beef industries. The original request for “sustainability” to be included in the update to the Guidelines — which are mandated under 1990 National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act (NNMRRA) and updated every five years — was ultimately denied.

[Read more…]