Pennsylvania Farm Show Oxen Demonstration

CEW-MR-2-Oxen demo1by T.W. Burger

Darwin Braund stood keeping an eye on his oxen, Frye and Burg and said he was about to enter his fourth retirement.

He has retired from the feed industry, and then again from North Carolina State University, and more recently from a 10-year stint as the volunteer curator at the Penn State Agricultural Museum in State College, his current home town.

And after this year, he is retiring as chief cook and bottle washer of a loose affiliation of oxen enthusiasts around the country, but mostly in New England. [Read more…]

Diversify your farm products; diversify your outlook of world events

CEW-MR-1-Diversity Kohl23by Pat Malin

LIVERPOOL, NY — What is happening to agriculture on the other side of the country and what is happening to agriculture on the other side of the world has to concern today’s farmers almost equally.

That recommendation was voiced by Dr. David Kohl, who presented the keynote speech on the value of diversification at the New York State Agricultural Society’s 183rd annual meeting and agricultural forum on Jan. 8 at the Holiday Inn outside Syracuse.

The professor emeritus of Agriculture and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech, Kohl insisted that diversification is not just a local activity. Only a day prior to coming to the Ag Society’s conference, Kohl presented his views and got feedback on world events at an agricultural producers expo in Canada. [Read more…]

Dr. Temple Grandin receives prestigious Farm Bureau award

C4-MR-2-Temple Grandin 3546by Sally Colby

At the American Farm Bureau’s 96th Annual Convention, Dr. Temple Grandin was presented with the Distinguished Service Award. Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University, addressed some of today’s most pressing issues in animal ag. She believes that one of the most important things that ag needs to do is have farmers directly communicating with people.

Grandin finds it frustrating that a lot of young people don’t know about the good things that have been done in agriculture. She cited a Purdue study that revealed that 31 percent of young people have never been on a farm, and 50 percent of people in the UK couldn’t connect pigs with bacon. She talked about her visit to The Pig Adventure at Fair Oaks Farm — a modern, open-door pig farm where visitors can see every aspect of production. Grandin asked employees at Fair Oaks what kinds of strange questions they’ve gotten from visitors viewing the pigs. The question Grandin couldn’t believe people asked was “are those actually pigs?” [Read more…]

Avoiding the unexpected with the Affordable Care Act

by Bill and Mary Weaver

Adam Kantrovich, Farm Management Educator for MSU Extension, has heard “just about every notion known to mankind” on the topic of how to avoid having problems with the ACA. He has also studied the law carefully enough to be able to point out what sorts of things might get an employer in trouble.

For example, Kantrovich advises, don’t decide to divide your larger business into multiple smaller entities, solely for the purpose of getting around the ACA.

“If you develop a series of separate business entities, even with limited differences in ownership, they may still be considered a single ‘control group’ by the IRS. This would mean an owner is required to count all employees from all entities in determining their status as either a ‘Small’ or ‘Large’ employer under the ACA guidelines. [Read more…]