Will dairy margin insurance be for you?

CM-MR-1-Dairy Margin Insuranceby Steven E. Smith

By Sept. 1, the U.S. dairy industry should have an entirely new USDA dairy policy in place. Once the new program rules of the Agricultural Act of 2014 are in place, gone will be decades old milk price support programs, the Dairy Exports Incentive Program and the limited MILC program. Without the weighty coexistence of the SNAP and other domestic food assistance, the 2014 Farm Bill, known as the “Farm Only Bill” includes the provision of federal margin insurance program for the U.S. Dairy industry in this era of global marketing expectations and a shift from disaster payments to risk management. [Read more…]

Poultry raising basics

CM-MR-1-Starting poultry copyby Katie Navarra

Poultry are relatively easy to raise and do well with basic food, water and shelter.

While it’s fairly simple to raise poultry it is important to be prepared, plan ahead and do some research prior to bringing chicks or older birds to your property.

First, you’ll have to decide if you’re raising a laying flock or a broiler flock or a combination of the two.
[Read more…]

Hey, this cheese tastes woody…

by T.W. Burger

On June 10, the federal Food & Drug Administration said it may be backing down from a policy that cheese-makers would no longer be able to age their cheese on wooden boards.

The policy change was announced in Forbes Magazine and other media outlets:

“The FDA does not have a new policy banning the use of wooden shelves in cheese-making, nor is there any FSMA requirement in effect that addresses this issue,” the announcement read. “Moreover, the FDA has not taken any enforcement action based solely on the use of wooden shelves.”
[Read more…]

Through a vet’s eyes: your parlor at milking time

C4-MR-2-Teatsby Bill and Mary Weaver

Extension veterinarians like Dr. Ernest Hovingh get to see a lot of milking parlors over the years, and come to expect certain problems crop up. Dr. Hovingh has seen ways milkers could, but often don’t, prevent parlor-acquired mastitis. Let’s look at this potentially costly problem. [Read more…]

Virginia’s Southside Produce Auction enters third year

CM-MR-3-Auction1by Karl H. Kazaks

CULLEN, VA — “This was kind of the last piece of the puzzle,” said Charlotte County Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent Bob Jones, visiting one of the twice-weekly auctions at the new Southside Produce Auction facility.

The auction began in 2012, but its foundation was laid with a series of prior developments. An Amish community has been growing in Charlotte County for the past 15 years, with members coming from more developed communities in Pennsylvania and Delaware. The newcomers were used to living in places with a produce auction and hence knew the benefits of such a marketplace, though they themselves typically hadn’t been involved in growing produce. Throughout the county, though, more and more people were starting their own produce and horticulture operations. [Read more…]