On Tuesday, Feb. 23, I traveled to Burlington, VT, with my fellow classmates to attend the Vermont Dairy Producers Conference. This was my second year attending this conference, and just like the previous year, it was a great event to attend. The guest speakers that they showcased were very interesting, engaging and made many valid points for their specific talks, and there was one that really captured the crowd by sending his message in a comical and charming way. Garrison Wynn is the CEO of Wynn Solutions; he is a bestselling author, speaker and consultant. He not only spoke once, but twice at the Vermont Dairy Producers Conference. [Read more…]
Like a bombshell that falls on a city’s buildings, the one that is falling on Penn State’s Extension Services is just as destructive in its way as the one destroying buildings. Jobs will be lost, services ruined and/or done away with, and cultures, namely agriculture and horticulture, will suffer irreparable damage.
“After vetoing two previous budget proposals last year,” explained PA Farm Bureau President Rick Ebert, “the Governor decided to line-item veto the Legislature’s third proposal, in order to disperse some public funds to keep public schools and human services functioning. As a result of the line-item veto, funding for PSU Cooperative Extension and Research, along with other agricultural priorities, have been zeroed out of the existing state spending plan that was supposed to run from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. [Read more…]
The USDA recently announced that organic farmers are eligible to enroll land utilized as conservation buffers in the Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CCRP). Buffers include windbreaks, pollinator strips, riparian buffers, filter strips and field borders planted with native vegetation. Grass strips, wetlands restoration, and living snow fences are also eligible practices. These types of conservation practices promote biodiversity, encourage farmers not to grow crops on marginal lands, provide waterways and soils with protection from contaminants, and create wildlife habitat. [Read more…]
H2A workers are not an inexpensive source of labor. “The visa fee is $190 per worker, paid across the border, and you’ll need to budget about $250 per worker for transportation direct to your farm,” said Kerry Scott of MAS Labor, who specializes in the H2A program.
“Plan to reimburse your workers for their travel soon after they arrive,” added Scott, “They most likely will arrive stone broke, either because they are very poor, or because their money was taken from them.” [Read more…]
If you are having difficulty finding enough help for summer and fall farm work for this year, the H2A program is definitely an avenue to consider. Despite the paperwork, which an agent can assist you with, most farmers tend to be happy with the quality of the workers they receive through H2A. These workers are hoping to return next year so they are generally productive and looking to please their employer. [Read more…]
by Tamara Scully
Adequate ventilation can increase the health of dairy cows, no matter their life stage. Providing ventilation, via natural measures or enhanced with fans or tube systems, allows producers to mitigate negative environmental factors.
Ventilation enhances air quality by moving stagnant air — carrying disease-causing germs, gases, or unhealthy particles — away from animals. Circulating air can keep cows cool. [Read more…]
Recently the NRCS hosted a webinar discussing the benefits and risks of unconventional grazing systems. Leading the discussion was Jess Jackson, a longtime conservationist with NRCS who has an expertise in grazing.
An unconventional grazing system typically involves some combination of unusual management strategies, unusual types of livestock, or multi-species grazing. [Read more…]
Grass-fed producers gathered in Latham, NY for the 8th Annual Winter Green-Up Grass-Fed Grazing Conference. Co-sponsored by Cornell Cooperative Extension, Albany County and Black Queen Angus, the two-day event was held Feb. 12-13. The event attracted more than 100 grass-fed producers. [Read more…]