The Immigrant Farmer

CEW-MR-3-The Immigrant 1by Emily Enger

If you thought the romantic notion of traveling to America to herd cattle was dated to black and white John Wayne films, you would be wrong. At least, Robert Groom has lived in a way to defy such concern. True, he isn’t guiding cattle trains along the Rio Grande, but a slight European accent tells folks that for him, America remains the land of dreams.

Groom comes from a long line of tenant farmers, men who rented acreage and therefore made attachments with the industry and way of life more than the  location. Men unafraid of going new places to get what they wanted. “When my grandfather bought his farm in England, it was 30 miles from his home and everyone thought he was moving to the ends of the earth,” Groom laughs. “Then my father bought his farm in Scotland, which was 320 miles away and everyone, again, thought it was the ends of the earth.”

Apparently, the gene runs in the family. Groom settled in Upstate New York, 3,000 miles away from home. His sister bought a farm in New Zealand, 12,000 miles away. The running family motto, according to Groom, is: “Farming poorly on three continents and two hemispheres.” [Read more…]

Bee wellness

CEW-MR-2-Bee wellness970Submitted by Katie Navarra
Beekeeping is a challenging vocation; recognizing and diagnosing honeybee disease is important to maintaining healthy bee hives and beekeepers have a responsibility to understand basic bee biology as well as have the ability to recognize the diseases that can afflict honey bees.
For the second consecutive year, the NY Bee Wellness Workshops offered in conjunction with the Empire State Honey Producers Association ( have offered intensive, two-day workshops covering basic beekeeping skills and hands-on demonstrations.
Led by a team of nine bee experts with the workshops are designed to explain how to identify and treat the diseases that most commonly afflict honey bees. Diseases such as varroa mites, a parasite; nosema — an intestinal fungal type disease and the American Foul Brood, which is a highly contagious spore forming disease, this is a reportable disease with no true cure, all threaten the wellbeing of honey bees.
The workshops are designed, “to teach beekeepers techniques in diagnosing, treating, and preventing honey bee diseases,” Pat Bono, Project Director, NY Bee Wellness Workshops.
The workshops are funded in part by USDA NIFA Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program grant with matching funds from the Empire State Honey Producers Association. The wellness workshops are part of a three year train-the-trainer project. [Read more…]

Handling hot hay

CENM-FS-MR-2-Hot hay 1by Sally Colby
While this summer’s abundant rainfall was too much for some areas, other regions throughout the Northeast had just enough moisture for a strong second cutting of dry hay. Although any farmer would love to get that additional tonnage from hayfields, late summer days mean fewer daylight hours, less wind and more evening moisture. Ideal conditions for haymaking include a light breeze, relative humidity of less than 50 percent, and no recent heavy rain. Although a field of late-season hay may appear to be extremely dry in the stand, new undergrowth can add significant moisture.
Freshly cut forage continues the respiration process in which plant sugars are producing energy, and this process releases heat. During the drying period when hay is still in the field, the amount of heat produced is minimal, and respiration eventually stops. Additional heating is the result of bacteria, fungi and yeasts consuming sugars from the plant. [Read more…]

Presidential perspectives

C4-MR-3-Angus president 2Words of advice for national crowd of Angus breeders visiting Trowbridge Angus during the the breeds National Conference and Tour

by Steven E Smith
“Genomics provided valuable information but I stress the need to still look at cattle. Let’s focus on our strengths as the largest beef breed and always listen to the concerns of our commercial customers so we can continue the progress and success of the Angus Breed,” said Phil Trowbridge of Ghent, NY, who is the current national president of the American Angus Association.
While addressing the visitors to Trowbridge Angus during the National Angus Tour, Trowbridge emphasized his philosophy on breeding and marketing Angus cattle. Trowbridge highlighted the importance of sound working cattle that have high market performance with desirable foot and leg confirmation. Trowbridge recognizes genomics as a tool especially to assist with the detection and management of genetic progress in this endeavor. [Read more…]

Soil health: Appreciating a new agenda

CEW-MR-3-Soil health1by Troy Bishopp
SKANEATELES, NY — President Barack Obama arrived in the Syracuse area and spoke about a new agenda for higher education which is more affordable, encourages and embraces innovation and becomes a good investment because it pays off over time.
At the same time, just south of Orangeman country adjacent to the Owasco Lake Watershed, there was a different kind of meeting. Gathered in the middle of a wheat field were over 80 farmers, extension educators, agri-business service providers and conservation professionals learning about a new agenda and demonstrations to improve soil health which also embraced innovation and was a good investment over time. As Cayuga County farmer, Steve Nemec said, “We need to do the right thing by our soils.”
The theme of the gathering was to inspire the ‘biologicals’, according to farmer hosts, Steve and Jason Cuddeback, who’s lineage goes back three generations on their 800 acres of land. After practicing with diverse rotations, conservation tillage and no-till cropping with cover crops for years and seeing the production increase while expenses decrease, they have become true advocates. “Being that we are in a sensitive watershed and with the high prices for nitrogen and fuel, we must do everything we can to enhance our biology in the soil. Give them the right environment and they do all the work. It just makes good economic and environmental sense,” said Steve. [Read more…]