Unconventional grazing strategies can diversity your operation, increase profitability

CE-MR-20-1-Grazing-systems-1c1by Karl H. Kazaks

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…]

Hiring your farm workers through H2A ~ part 1

CN-MR-1-Hiring-workers-part1-1413by Bill and Mary Weaver

“It would certainly be ideal if growers could put an ad in the newspaper, accept applications, and hire American workers,” stated Kerry Scott of MAS Labor. Unfortunately, that approach isn’t working. For example, a grower/packer near Reno, NV needs 1725 seasonal laborers. Some of the work offered is in an air-conditioned packing shed, and even the fieldwork doesn’t involve actual “stoop labor.” Harvesting is done mechanically, with workers at the back of the harvesting machines. The grower also pays very well.

“The area around Reno, Nevada has the highest unemployment in Nevada, and most of the time, Nevada has the highest unemployment in the country,” Scott continued, speaking at the Mid Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Growers Convention recently. “The grower ran ‘Help Wanted’ ads in the local papers. They had zero applicants for these well-paying jobs!” [Read more…]

Winter Livestock Management

by Dr. Susan Kerr, WSU-Klickitat County Extension Director


The necessity of a clean and reliable year-round source of water cannot be overemphasized. Novice managers often mistakenly believe that animals can meet water requirements by eating snow or licking ice. With daily water requirements varying from three gallons (sheep) to 14 gallons (cattle), one can see that livestock would need to spend every waking hour eating snow to meet their requirements. Ice and snow consumption also lowers body temperature and increases maintenance energy needs, so it should be discouraged. [Read more…]

Growing rye for malting

CN-MR-1-Growing-Rye-for1-by Tamara Scully

Cereal grains are no longer regulated to commodity grain markets or cover crop use. Instead, they are in demand by the growing population of craft maltsters and brewers, and are fueling the growth of this rapidly emerging market.

Hartwick College, in Oneonta, NY, invited farmers, brewers, maltsters and researchers from around the country — and included seven international guests — for its weekend Farmer/Brewer conference, “A Maltster in the Rye.” Conference workshops were aimed at highlighting the correlation between the actual growing of the grains — including variety selection, agronomics and environment, and management practices — to the ability of the maltster and brewer to craft high-quality, unique products. [Read more…]