Environmental Protection Agency regulations updated

CEW-MR-1-EPA-Regs3`by Elizabeth A. Tomlin

An overview of pesticide use and changes to worker protection standard (WPS) regulations highlighted Central New York Cornell Cooperative Extension 2016 Field Crop Pest Management meetings.

James Carrabba, Agricultural Safety Specialist with New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH), advised attendees on changes in Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations and instructed them on usage of personal protective equipment, safety data sheets (SDS), decontamination, reducing take home exposure and use of respirators. [Read more…]

Winter feeding made easy for young farmers

CEW-MR-1-BALE-GRAZING11by Troy Bishopp

WORCHESTER, NY — American economist and professor at the Harvard Business School, Theodore Levitt, said, “Creativity is thinking up new things; innovation is about doing new things.” As a thinker and doer, Organic Dairyman, Tom McGrath resembles this remark when it comes to out-wintering dairy cows and enhancing the bottom line. What’s this fresh strategy revolutionizing the way for many farmers? Bale grazing.

In the tiny hamlet, Tom, Caroline and daughter, Elaine McGrath of Autumn Valley Farm raise 45 certified organic cows and produce 100 percent grass-fed organic milk for Maple Hill Creamery. Unique in that they are the youngest farmers in the cooperative, they also produce milk seasonally with cows dry during the winter months. “For us and our hill farm, this approach makes sense and gives everybody some needed downtime to recharge our minds and bodies,” said Tom. [Read more…]

Grazing alternatives

by Tamara Scully

Pasture, which typically contains less than a half-dozen primary plant species, can be seeded and planted, and can be considered a type of crop land. Grazing management increases the harvest efficiency of the pasture. Rangeland, however, consists of native grass, shrub or savannah which is not typically fertilized or planted. It contains upwards of 100 species, and is managed via natural ecological events, such as fire or wildlife grazing.

Livestock can graze rangelands or pasture, but a rangeland system ‘may never recover’ from improper livestock management, while a pasture can undergo restoration. The risk of improper management, from a conservation standpoint, is much more significant on rangeland. Jess Jackson, Jr., of the Natural Resources Conservation Service emphasized the differences during a webinar presentation, Grazing System Designs for Non-traditional Livestock. [Read more…]

Diversity in crops, production, marketing holds key to surviving in unpredictable times

by Pat Malin

LIVERPOOL, NY — Peter Martens could be described as an agricultural entrepreneur.

Owner of Peter Martens Farm in Dresden, NY, in the Finger Lakes region, the 30-year-old is a bit of an unconventional farmer with his penchant for “custom” farming and unusual crops. Even before he graduated from college, he was attracting attention for his techniques and new ideas.

Martens was among the speakers who participated in a panel discussion at the 184th meeting of the New York Agricultural Society and Agricultural Forum. [Read more…]

The new American farmer

CE-MR-1-American-Farmer471by Troy Bishopp

HAMILTON, NY — Students equipped with their smartphones and tablets packed a lecture room at Colgate University to learn about, of all things: The new American farmer. Dr. Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern, Assistant Professor of Food Studies from Syracuse University’s Falk College gave a perspective and presented research about Latino immigrant farmworkers striving to become farm owners. According to the USDA Ag Census, this is the largest population of new farmers entering agriculture.

In her lecture: “The New American Farmer: Agrarian Questions, Race, and Immigration”, the Cornell graduate explored the significance of farmworkers and other first-generation Latino immigrants to the United States aspiring to be small-scale farmers and their agrarian contributions in changing the food system landscape. Dr. Minkoff-Zern’s field exploration embodied her extensive experience with sustainable development and agricultural biodiversity projects abroad, combined with work on migrant health issues domestically after spending many years working on farms and with agriculture and food organizations in Guatemala, New York, Virginia and California. [Read more…]