Ag literacy for growers

Lori Connelly considers a question being asked. Photos by Steve Wagnerby Steve Wagner

“Sometimes when I’m sitting in an airplane or waiting at the dentist’s office, having a conversation with somebody sitting next to me, I feel like I am lost in translation when I am trying to speak agriculture to the folks who are buying our products.” The speaker was Lori Connelly, formerly Communications Director for Penn-Ag Industries, and who has also worked for Land O’ Lakes. She is currently the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Ag Resource Centers, which is a partnership between the Penn State College of Ag Sciences and the Pennsylvania Legislature.

Connelly acknowledges that the term ‘ag literacy’ is a phrase that is thrown around liberally, and that consumers are in a very interesting place right now. “Their interest in food and where it comes from is very high,” she said, “but their proximity to agricultural production is often pretty low. Most folks are fairly well removed from the farm now. Less than one percent are involved in production agriculture, and yet there is this ever-growing interest in food.” [Read more…]

2015 CNY Small Grain Workshop addresses drying, storage and variety selection (Part 1)

CEW-MR-1-Small Grains pt 1by Elizabeth A. Tomlin

Nearly 100 grain producers and crop advisers braved the weather to attend the 2015 CNY Small Grain Workshop hosted by CCE Oneida County and the CNY Dairy and Field Crops Team of Chenango, Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Otsego, Saratoga and Schoharie Counties.

Speakers at the event included Dr. Kenneth Hellevang of the Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering Dept at the North Dakota State University; Margaret Smith, Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences School of Integrative Plant Science Plant Breeding and Genetics; Weed Scientist, Dr. Russ Hahn, School of Integrative Plant Science, Soil and Crop Sciences at Cornell University; Dr. Gary Bergstrom, Professor of Plant Pathology, Cornell University Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology and producer Donn Branton of Le Roy, NY, who told of his farming experience. [Read more…]

Efficient agricultural lighting systems and energy conservation opportunities

by Sanne Kure-Jensen

A recent webinar, “Lighting Systems: Analysis, Performance, and Energy Conservation Opportunities,” described agricultural lighting system functions and how new systems can improve efficiency and performance. Dan Ciolkosz of Penn State described lighting system vocabulary, design and its impact on people, animals and plants. Kip Pheil of USDA NRCS National Energy Technology Development Team described NRCS practice standard 670 – Lighting System Improvement, used to implement lighting system upgrades.

The lighting industry uses its own terminology. Lumens, foot-candles and lux are measures of light level reaching a set area. Bulbs are called lamps. Fixtures are called luminaires and may include a bulb, ballast, reflector and lens. Fixtures will have a photometric report including performance data and where it can be used. [Read more…]

New York crowns new state Dairy Princess

CEW-MR-5-NY princess296Stephanie McBath, from Schuylerville, NY, was crowned 2015-2016 New York State Dairy Princess during the 52nd Annual New York State Dairy Princess Coronation on Feb. 17. The American Dairy Association and Dairy Council-sponsored pageant was held at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool, NY.

“I was definitely shocked! It was a surprise for me but I am extremely honored and excited to serve New York dairy farmers,” said McBath, a senior at Schuylerville High School, who has spent four years in dairy promotion as Saratoga County Dairy Princess and Saratoga County Dairy Ambassador. McBath’s coronation completes the year-long reign of Casey Porter, of Watertown, NY. [Read more…]

The road to soil health inspires farmers

CEW-MR-3-Soil health3by Troy Bishopp

STATE COLLEGE, PA — So a soil guy, tillage radish developer and an organic grain craftsman meet at a conference. If you use your rural imagination a good joke might be in the offering. When it comes to discussing the attributes of healthy soils and fertility to a packed house of farmers, it’s no laughing matter for the three Microbe-teers.

NRCS Conservation Agronomist Ray Archuleta from Greensboro, NC; cash crop/vegetable farmer and founder of Cover Crop Solutions, Steve Groff from Lancaster, PA and grain farmer and co-owner of Lakeview Organic Grain, Klaas Martens from Penn Yan, NY, led an all-day pre-conference track titled: Agroecology Principles & Biomimicry Strategies for Enhancing Soil Function at the 24th annual Farming for the Future PASA Conference. [Read more…]