Organic farming

by Jane Primerano

The term “organic farming” was coined by J. I. Rodale back in the 1940s. The institute he founded and the farms he started continue, now under the direction of Mark Smallwood.

The institute is housed at Kutztown University, not far from the Emmaus, PA, publishing company (think Organic Gardening) operated by members of the family, but a separate entity.

Smallwood was invited to be the keynote speaker for the 25th annual Winter Conference of the Northeast Organic Farming Association — New Jersey held at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft. His address was a call to good stewardship and a delineation of the work being done at Rodale. [Read more…]

How now brown cow: small family dairies still exist

CM-MR-2-SLOOP-DAIRY-2by Karl H. Kazaks

MT. ULLA, NC — “Of everything I do, this is my favorite,” says Ryan Sloop as he walks down a stock lane, leading a group of Brown Swiss from his family’s dairy to one of the farm’s many grazing pastures. The herd follows behind him, eager to get to a fresh stand of grass. Zealous though they are, all of them are trained to follow Sloop’s lead. When he reached the entry to that morning’s paddock, Sloop steps aside and let the cows stream into the pasture. When they settle down to graze, Sloop appraises the action. “That’s a good sound,” he says, “Heads down – grass going in, milk coming out.” [Read more…]

Planning for pigweed control- Part 1 – know the enemy

CM-MR-2-Pigweeds-pt1-4767by Sally Colby

The name of nearly any weed is a dirty word to both crop and vegetable farmers, and one weed group will be particularly challenging in the coming years.

Pigweeds have been around for a while, and have been fairly manageable until they started to exhibit signs of resistance to available herbicides. Herbicide resistance is a serious problem, defined as ‘when a labeled rate of a herbicide, which previously killed target species, will no longer control the target species.’ [Read more…]

Feeding your cattle on hayland better for soils, forage stands

CM-MR-2-Carbon-Cycle-8by Karl H. Kazaks

Recently NRCS hosted a webinar regarding the importance of the carbon cycle in maintaining soils and agricultural systems, with a special emphasis on understanding the importance of nutrient cycling to better manage hayland. “Hayland is one of those land uses that many of us just often overlook,” said NRCS’s National Soil Health and Sustainability Team Leader David Lamm. “We think that just because something green is growing out there that means everything is fine in the soil ecosystem and all functions are go.” That’s not necessarily always the case, though. “We have actually a fairly degraded situation on our hayland acres because of our standard production” method of removing hay, said the webinar’s featured presenter, Jay Fuhrer. Removing all that vegetative matter removes carbon from the system and ultimately deleteriously impacts soils, and succeeding years’ hay crops. [Read more…]

PA Cattlemen honor industry leaders at Annual Banquet

CM-BF-MR-6-PA CATTLEMAN15by Jon M. Casey

The Pennsylvania Cattlemen’s Association held their 2015 annual Cattlemen’s Banquet at the PA Farm Show Complex VIP Banquet Center the evening of March 27. As part of the association’s daylong events, the banquet followed the 42nd annual Pennsylvania Performance Tested Bull Sale at the Pennsylvania Livestock Evaluation Center in Pennsylvania Furnace, Centre County earlier that day. [Read more…]