Virginia farm to table conference continues to grow

CM-MR-3-VA farm table01by Karl H. Kazaks

WEYERS CAVE, VA — This year’s Virginia Farm to Table Conference was highlighted by the participation of renowned soil biology expert Dr. Elaine Ingham.

As part of the multi-day conference focused on the burgeoning local foods movement within agriculture, Dr. Ingham, The Rodale Institute’s chief scientist, helmed a special day-long soil biology track, a series of discussions on the practical specifics of managing soil biology. The day of learning covered topics ranging from nutrient cycling to compost teas to pest control. [Read more…]

Cold weather calves

CEWM-MR-3-Cold weather3271by Sally Colby

Throughout the hot summer months, those who care for dairy calves concern themselves with issues such as flies, excess heat, ventilation and fluid intake. Now that winter weather has arrived, calf care requires a somewhat different set of standards. While some calf care parameters are the same, cold weather care starts with ensuring that calves are warm and dry.

Every animal has a thermo neutral zone, or TNZ. Technically speaking, TNZ is the range of ambient temperature without regulatory changes in metabolic heat production or evaporative heat loss. More simply, it’s the environment in which the calf doesn’t lose energy trying to stay warm or cool. [Read more…]

In memory of Mark Wesley Lee

C4-MR-4-Mark Lee CMr. Mark W. Lee , 52, of Cunningham Road, Canajoharie, NY, passed away at the Mountain Valley Hospice House in Gloversville, NY, early Monday morning, Dec. 8, 2014, surrounded by his family.

Mark was born on July 7, 1962, in Cooperstown, NY, he was the son of Frederick W. Lee, Jr., and the late Carole A. Lee. He attended Canajoharie High School and was a lifelong area resident. [Read more…]

Everyone is aging

CM-MR-1-Everyone aging 1cby Sally Colby

If your family has had difficult conversations about the ability of an older family member to continue farming safely, the first thing to remember is that everyone starts to age from the time they are born. As a group, farmers are the most rapidly aging workforce in the United States, with an average age of 58 years; compared to the average workforce age of 42.

The problem for farm families is that most farmers simply don’t stop farming.

“Farmers don’t retire,” said Deborah Reed, an ag nurse who specializes in gerontology. “A lot of the generic things that we see as remedies and solutions for the main workforce don’t resonate too well with people as they enter later mid-life. There’s no standard retirement age, no performance evaluation. Farmers say, ‘we work til we drop’ — they work because they like it.” [Read more…]

Tracking Lyme disease

CDM-MR-1-LymeDisease1188by Steve Wagner

After years of coping with Lyme disease, it sometimes seems as if little more is known about it today than it was when it was first discovered. We know that its presence has been around for about 20 million years, but we can date modern problems with the bacterium to 1975, when several cases were identified in two Connecticut towns, Lyme and Old Lyme. In 1978, it was learned that the disease is tick-borne.

“My son got so sick from Lyme and associated diseases that I honestly didn’t believe he was going to survive,” said Dr. Kathy Spreen. “Chris had a tick bite that he got while doing an internship in Delaware. He came home and asked, ‘Does this matter?’ There was a tick in there wiggling, and I said, ‘Well, let’s just take this thing out and put it in a jar and see what happens.’” [Read more…]