Overcoming life’s challenges

CM-MR-3-Overcoming-life2158by Sally Colby

Michelle Kirk took her husband Bill to the emergency room in September 2012 because he hadn’t recovered from what they thought was a minor illness. They were shocked to find that Bill was in kidney failure, but doctors didn’t know the reason. After exhaustive testing, Bill was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of bone cancer. Over the next several months, he underwent stem cell treatment, dialysis and chemotherapy. In February 2013, Michelle brought him home from an extended hospital stay, right in the middle of calving season. She says the first thing Bill requested when he returned home was to be driven to the pasture to see his cows. But keeping him inside as he continued his recovery proved to be difficult. [Read more…]

Successful urban farmers use intensive agriculture

CN-MR-1-Urban farmersby Sanne Kure-Jensen

There are many benefits to farming in urban areas. Most urban farmers enjoy being close to their markets and customers. They also spend less time and money transporting goods to customers than rural growers. Urban sites generally offer easy access to potable water. Most urban farmers have fewer wildlife problems than their rural counterparts. Urban environments also tend to be 6 – 8 degrees warmer than rural areas. This is partly due to the heat island effect of pavement and sidewalks. [Read more…]

A perfect pest — Palmer Amaranth, a new threat to Pennsylvania agriculture

CM-MR-3-Palmerby Steve Wagner

Woody Sigmin of Memphis, TN is very vocal about Palmer Amaranth, a species of pigweed recently introduced to Pennsylvania agriculture.

“I’m from the Mississippi delta, and believe me, you do not want this plant on your farm!” he said while riding in a canopied wagon with three dozen attendees during the 2014 Farming for Success seminar at Penn State’s research station in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Pigweed is not grown in these trial fields, but samples have been brought in. “It’s unbelievable. It is horrible, it is terrible,” Sigmin said. “We have to rotate completely different crops just trying to clean out that one weed.” [Read more…]

A new renaissance

CEW-MR-1-Soil renaissanceby Tamara Scully

Neil Conklin, President of Farm Foundation, NFP, introduced a new movement in today’s agriculture, one which is inclusive of all types of production systems, philosophies, farm sizes, and crops. It’s a movement with one key component — soil.

This movement is called the Soil Renaissance, and it is coming soon to a farm near you. According to Conklin, the movement began to take root after Klaas Martens, a New York state organic farmer, and Bill Buckner, formerly CEO of Bayer CropScience LP and now the President and CEO of the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, had a discussion about their passion for soil health. No matter that they had disparate backgrounds. They agreed that soil health is key to a sustainable agriculture, one which can feed the world as the population rapidly grows, climate changes cause havoc, the agricultural landbase decreases, and decimated soils can no longer support food production. [Read more…]