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…]

Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance addresses key industry issues

ALBANY, NY — Over 200 members of the Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance attended two days of panel discussions, presentations and networking opportunities during the organization’s 2016 annual meeting and forum held Feb. 2 and 3 in Albany, NY.

The event kicked off with a trip to the New York State Capital where five groups of Alliance members met with 18 legislators, or their staff, to discuss their strong concerns about the proposed $15 New York minimum wage. The small group meetings provided Alliance members the opportunity advocate their positions and provide insight into the economic importance of northeast agricultural businesses. [Read more…]

Art Whitman honored at Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance annual meeting

CN-MR-1-NE-Agri-Whitman1qby Elizabeth A. Tomlin

Art Whitman of North Bennington, VT, was presented with the Distinguished Service Award by the Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance “for a lifetime of dedication and service to the agriculture industry” at the 2016 annual meeting and forum in Albany.

“Honesty”, “integrity”, and “a hard working individual,” who was very active in legislative issues and led his community and the agricultural industry, in service over his entire life, were comments used by his peers to describe Whitman. [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…]

Six hundred meals a day

CN-3-Six-hundred-meals-47217by Laura Rodley  

Over six hundred meals a day, three times a day, are served at Hampshire College while college is in session. Approximately 1,400 students attend the school.

To provide the food to feed them, the college has the Hampshire College Farm Center in Amherst, MA, a 100-acre working farm that also provides work-study jobs for the students to study farming. This is in keeping with the college’s goal to locally source 100 percent of the food served on campus.

“We sent eight beef to them this year, usually 15-20 pigs. We send 70 dozen eggs a week; we could do a lot more eggs, but in general eggs are not profitable,” said Pete Solis. He has been the Director of Livestock and Pasture Management for the past year and a half, having brought with him his experience working on his own farm in nearby Easthampton.   [Read more…]