Kept in the loop

CN-MR-2-LAUGHING-DOG-008by Laura Rodley

Spring has officially sprung but the snow is still two feet deep at Laughing Dog Farm in Gill, MA. Danny Botkin owns the nine-acre farm with his wife Divya Shinn, a registered nurse.  Danny started keeping goats in 1998 and up until a year ago, had a herd of 22. He started with a Nubian that birthed twins the first winter, bred them to different bucks over a decade, then back to Nubians in the last three years, resulting in a versatile, mixed-breed, jokingly called “Albopien”: Nubians, for richest milk; Boers, stockiest meat animal, Alpines, super hardy; Saanen, champion milk producer, stocky enough to “make good meat if we chose to butcher.” Each of the 130 goats born at the farm is beloved, receiving unique names from Hindu derivation to Disney characters.    [Read more…]

Connecticut’s Outstanding Young Farmer of 2015

CN-GO-AE-MR-2-CT FARMERby George Looby, DVM

Each year the Connecticut Agricultural Information Council chooses a young farmer as the State’s Outstanding Young Farmer. The Connecticut Agricultural Information Council is a non-profit coalition of state farming groups located in Storrs, CT which functions to evaluate, nominate and select recipients of selected agricultural awards presented annually at agricultural events held throughout the year. One of these is the Outstanding Young Farmer Award. Others awards include Ag. Journalism, the Century Farm award and selection of Connecticut Century Farms. To be considered for this award applicants must be between the ages of 21 and 40 and derive at least two-thirds of their income from farming. This award is presented at the State Capitol at the annual Ag Day event. [Read more…]

250 farmers unite to support West Charlton farm family

CEWN-MR-3-Farmers unite1GLENVILLE, NY — Glenville Town Justice Paul Davenport seemed a bit distracted as over 200 farmers and supporters filled his court room to show their solidarity for local farmer, Joshua Rockwood of West Wind Acres in West Charlton, NY.

The 36-year-old farmer who is facing 13 animal neglect charges pled not guilty to the charges in court Tuesday, March 24. According to court documents, authorities found sheep in an unheated barn with frozen water with animal feces mixed into the ice. The documents also stated 15 pigs had frozen, undrinkable water, and they were confined in a barn without food. In addition, three horses, around 30 cows and 10 pigs were without proper food or water, and goats did not have access to food. [Read more…]

Students tour dairy farms

CN-MR-2-TRAVEL-DAY_5345by Emily Rice, University of New Hampshire

This past January I traveled with eight other of my classmates from the University of New Hampshire to Prince Edward Island, Canada with the New England Dairy Travel Course. Students from the University of Maine, the University of Connecticut, the University of Rhode Island, and the University of Massachusetts were also enrolled in this course. All 41 of us traveled together via bus that was supported by a very generous grant from Northeast Farm Credit’s AgEnhancement program. We met Jan. 4 at the University of New Hampshire’s Durham location at our Fairchild Dairy Farm. As UNH students, we gave a tour to the visiting colleges of our facility starting with our calf room. The calf room holds around 20 calves and is attached to the main barn where the lactating cows are held. The rough herd size is 90 cows, milking 75 of which 25 belong to our student-run CREAM herd. The somatic cell count for the CREAM herd is 71,000 cells/mL and the somatic cell count for the remainder of the milking herd is 54,000 cells/mL. They are milked in a double five herringbone parlor and are held in a tie stall. The heifer barn is located in close proximity to the main barn and the dry cows reside in a pack barn that gives them access to a field for grazing, weather permitting. [Read more…]

Sugaring season begins at Williams Farm Sugarhouse

CN-MR-2-Sugarhouse013by Laura Rodley

After a savage winter beset by Nor’easters and valiant storms, sugaring is underway. The Williams Farm family in Deerfield, MA has been sugaring since 1853. They started tapping in early March, with their first boiling on March 14.

“The season’s off to a slow start so far; we’re hoping to have a good month of March, maybe beginning of April. You never can tell,” said Kenneth Williams IV, best known as Chip, 5th generation, speaking at their Williams Farm Sugarhouse restaurant. It is two to three weeks later than usual, as traditionally, they start sugaring Feb. 20, if the weather allows. What they waited for was 40-degree days with 20-degree nights for the sap to run. [Read more…]