Don Baker Farm & Orchard ~ striving to survive in a changing marketplace

CE-MR-3-Don-Baker51by Elizabeth A. Tomlin

“Most small family farms have already closed,” remarked Dale Baker, while sorting Asian pears at his fruit farm in the Hudson Valley. “This farm has been in my family for over 100 years but the fruit part was started by my grandfather, Gordon Baker, in the early 1920s.”

The farm, which lies just a few miles south of the city of Hudson, NY, consists of a total of 104 acres, with 75 acres fenced in with 8 foot woven wire fencing, “to escape the tremendous deer problem that had developed in the 70s and 80s, with the switch to more dwarfing trees — and with my change to growing more stone fruits that began in the 90s.” [Read more…]

Ivermectin toxicity in herding dogs


At any given moment in time it would be most difficult to estimate how many herding dogs are roaming the fields, pastures and barnyards of this country. To watch them work puts many of us to shame as they respond to the hand signals and whistles of their Shepherds with a zeal that never ceases to amaze. Unfortunately some of these animals have inherited a defective gene that puts them at risk for a potentially deadly illness. [Read more…]

Opening the barn door to the public

CEW-MR-2-Barn-door11by Pat Malin

EAST SYRACUSE, NY — If farmers wish to become transparent with the consumer and the public about their activities, it can be as easy as setting up a farm profile on Facebook.

On the other hand, opening up these lines of communication can come with risks and unwanted attention.

How the farmers balance their need to market their products and engage in dialogue with the public versus maintaining their privacy was a major topic at the New York Farm Bureau’s Animal Welfare Symposium on Oct. 29 at the Doubletree by Hilton. [Read more…]

Penn State Poultry Judging Team first in the Nation

CDM-RP-1-PENN-ST-POULTRY_011Penn State’s Poultry Judging Team placed first in the nation at the 50th National Collegiate Poultry Judging Contest held Nov. 1-3 at the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR. It is the first time since 2005 that the team has placed first, though it has been second six times, third two times and fourth once. The team scored an impressive 4,258 points out of 4,500.

Josh Cassar, Lansdale, PA, led the team as first place overall individual, having also won high individual at the spring national contest earlier this year. Cassar placed first in Egg Production and Quality and second in Breed Selection and Carcass Quality. [Read more…]