Breeding better beef

CE-MR-3-Mountain-Hollow31by Sally Colby

When Randy and Laura Rockhill purchased a large property in Madrid, NY, their intent wasn’t to start a purebred cattle operation.

“We bought it primarily for hunting,” said Randy, describing the 400-acre home farm. “We bought a few head of cattle, and went from a few cattle to over 200 head.” In addition to the home farm, the Rockhills rent an additional 500 acres for crops and pasture. [Read more…]

New crops for New Jersey

by Jane Primerano

Benjamin Franklin called New Jersey a barrel tapped at both ends: New York City and Philadelphia.

For better or worse, this is still true. Many New Jersey farmers take advantage of this by growing specialty crops for the cities’ restaurants. In addition to the lucrative tourist market, the ethnic diversity of the state is creating new markets right here.

Over the past 16 years, Dr. James E. Simon (Dr. Jim) has worked to bring in and improve new crops to suit these markets. [Read more…]

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…]

A possible link between human breast cancer and bovine leucosis

by George Looby, DVM

The cause(s) of breast cancer in humans continues to elude researchers in their ongoing quest for answers to the many possible factors that may contribute to its development. This devastating disease has been recognized for many years with many of the world’s best and brightest minds searching for answers that will lead not just to a cure but more importantly to the cause. Here the question arises as to whether it is one disease or does it have many contributing factors which, when interacting, give rise to the condition that clinicians are trained to recognize. [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…]