Implementing forested buffers in a rotational grazing system

by Tamara Scully
The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture recently hosted a field day, designed to introduce area farmers to the use of forested riparian buffers and other conservation practices. The event was held at Forks Farm Market in Orangeville, PA, an 85 acre diverse livestock farm, located in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Susan Beal, DVM, ag science advisor and interim farm based education coordinator for PASA, moderated the event, which featured pasture walks, slideshow presentations and group discussions.
Farmers John and Todd Hopkins have been grazing cows on their farm since 1985. After initially running as a cow/calf operation and selling to a sales barn, they realized that making a profit was going to require a change in business planning. [Read more…]

Affordable care act

by Katie Navarra
If you think the Affordable Care Act will not impact your business, think again. “It is going to impact you,” said Sandy Buxton, Farm/Ag Business Management Educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension in Washington County, NY. “Frequently I hear, ‘I don’t have more than 50 employees, so it won’t affect me’,” she said.
Businesses with less than 50 employees are not required to provide insurance. But the Affordable Care Act requires that all individuals, all employees enroll in a health insurance plan. “You may not be worried because you are not a big enough employer to be impacted,” she added, “but your employees are going to have to have insurance.” Be prepared to provide information on where employees enroll on their own.

Treating diarrhea with goat’s milk

by George Looby, DVM
Successfully treating diarrhea in the newborn of all species has long been a challenge to those charged with their care. Infants whose immune systems have yet to be developed rely on antibodies from their mother’s colostrum to provide the protection they need until their own systems can begin to provide some degree of protection. Despite the best efforts of their caregivers, very young farm animals are often exposed to a wide variety of organisms in their environment which can wreak havoc on them. Most often these invaders attack the gastro intestinal tract resulting in a loose, watery diarrhea which leads to dehydration and sometimes, if left untreated, death. [Read more…]

New York State Fair connects farmers, fresh produce and eager buyers

CEW-MR-3-State Fair1by Pat Malin
SYRACUSE, NY — Jo Ellen Saumier and Kirby Selkirk, a pair of sheep farmers from Chateaugay, NY, near the Canadian border, took special pains to get to the New York State Fair on Aug. 27.
That day was designated as “Beef Day” and also “Senior’s Day,” but that wasn’t what attracted the duo. They traveled 200 miles, just to volunteer that day at the Farmer’s Market Federation of New York booth and to sell produce from farmers other than themselves.
This year, fresh farm produce occupied a large and prominent stand just inside the gate at the fair. It seemed like an “a-ha” moment for the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets. Farmers and consumers alike might have asked what took the fair and state officials so long to see the obvious connection.
The fair, which ran from Aug. 22-Sept. 2, had developed a new theme which was called “Sharing the Bounty and Pride of New York.” The theme was created by Kathy Denman of Syracuse and chosen during a contest. It was used during a statewide marketing and public relations campaign aimed at promoting the Great New York State Fair. [Read more…]

Horns and calves — part of Biodynamic Dairy Herd at Hawthorne Valley Farm

CEW-MR-2-Horns and calves 1by Sanne Kure-Jensen
Steffen Schneider has been farming biodynamically for 30 years. Schneider’s practices include allowing mothers to rear their calves, careful breed selection with horns, daily rotational grazing with mixed forage, deliberate barn design and manure management with pigs. Everything on the farm strives for an ideal balance.
He shared his experience at the NOFA Summer Conference at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst.
Hawthorne Valley Farm
This 400-acre farm offers public educational workshops, summer camp and farm management programs celebrating the balance between agriculture and the natural environment.
This farm runs a herd of 130 animals and typically milk 50 to 60 cows. Animal manure is composted and recycled on pastures and vegetable fields. The farm’s diversified vegetable operation supports a 300-member CSA. The dairy and cheese-making operation’s by-product (whey) supports 40 pigs, which also offer manure management. Crop rotations include 30 to 40 acres of farm-raised wheat and other grains to support the on-farm bakery and local customers. All the straw is recycled on the farm as bedding, green manure or compost. [Read more…]