Mike Phillips adds grazing of cover crops in move to year-round grazing

CM-MR-1-Mike Phillips 1by Karl H. Kazaks

ATHLONE, VA — People throughout the Mid-Atlantic remember about the winter of 2009-2010 for the abundance of snow that was visited upon the region. Most places received three to four times their average annual amount of snowfall. Once it fell the snow remained, with some localities reporting the longest period of consecutive snow cover since the early 1960s.

Mike Phillips remembers the winter for other reasons: that was when he was inspired to try grazing cattle on a multi-species cover crop.

As part of his efforts to improve the soil quality of his farm here in northeastern Rockingham County, he had planted a mix of grasses, legumes, and Brassica following a summer annual crop. [Read more…]

Corn and soybean growers have banner year

CEWM-MR-1-Corn and 1by Sally Colby

With nearly ideal growing conditions in many segments of the Mid-Atlantic region, 2013 was a record year for production. According to Dr. Greg Roth, Penn State Extension, Pennsylvania corn growers averaged an outstanding 237 bushels/acre.

At the Professional Crop Growers Conference held recently in Lancaster, PA, awards were given to growers who achieved top yields. Because the measurement of crop yields over a period of years is a better accurate indicator of overall performance than just one year’s yield, participants in the state’s Corn Club are recognized for three-year average performance. [Read more…]

Advanced learning and on-farm networking with NAFDMA

C4-MR-3-NAFDMA 3by Emily Enger

They’re farmers. They’re growers. They’re businesspeople. They’re entertainers. When your job includes doing everything, often the vocabulary at your disposal is limiting. So now, they’re writers, as well, having coined a new term to describe what they do.

“We’re trying to train ourselves to say ‘entrepeneurial farmers,’” explained NAFDMA’s Director of Membership and Resources Virginia Schwarzenbach.

These newly-dubbed ‘entrepeneurial farmers’ make up the membership of the North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association (NAFDMA), a 501(c)3 Membership Association reaching throughout the United States and Canada. And when these busy folks are in the so-called “off-season” — the petting farms and corn mazes are shut down and the orchard is under frost — they get together for a lengthy, indepth, six day annual convention. This year it was held Jan. 31-Feb. 5 in Kansas City, MO and was titled “Makin’ Hey in the Heartland.” [Read more…]