Five Point Farm

CN-MR-3-FivePoint67by Laura Rodley

There’s nothing more peaceful than a herd of cows contently chewing their cud. And there’s nothing better than having someone else take care of them while they are right out your doorstep. William Llewelyn, best known as Bill, grew up with cows. Five or six years ago, he sold his own cows and started renting out the barns. He and his wife Betsy own the farm as partners.

Brian Peila has filled the stalls with 300 Holsteins and Jerseys of his own and is a ready customer for the feed Bill sells.

Situated in Northfield, MA, Bill sells grain and hay and grows 340 acres of corn that is either sold by the ton or by a 50-pound bag as shell corn for heating purposes or as animal feed. [Read more…]

The Fifth Annual Fiber Festival of New England

CN-MR-3-Fiber1by George Looby

The Fiber Festival of New England is a joint effort of the New England Sheep and Wool Growers Association and the Eastern States Exposition. This year’s event featured a display of animals, fiber products, demonstrations and lectures in the Mallary Complex in West Springfield, MA.

It is amazing to watch craftspeople in action, using fiber produced on New England farms to carry out their many and varied businesses and hobbies. Those involved in fiber production would be at a definite disadvantage if there were not a local demand for their product. Conversely, without regional alpaca, llama, rabbit and sheep breeders supplying their needs, the quality of artisans’ products would be greatly compromised. [Read more…]

The basics of farm transitions

CN-MR-1-Farm-transitions3389by Emily Enger

Transitioning the farm is one of the hardest things a farmer does. The process is both intimidating and emotionally exhausting. Where do you start? Who do you contact? How do you talk about it with your family? These issues and more led the Land Stewardship Project in Minnesota to create the Farm Transitions Toolkit, a comprehensive, two year endeavor that now serves as a helpful, free resource to guide farmers through this tough process.

“People go through a farm transition once in their life,” said Karen Stettler, of the Land Stewardship Project. “So it’s not like you have previous experience to draw from. We’ve found that people have a lot of really good questions.” [Read more…]

Mapleline Farm

CN-MR-3-Mapleline129xby Laura Rodley

Two things yellow play a big part at Mapleline Farm: the sunshine that is harvested for electricity, and the high butterfat in milk from their 112 Jerseys, plus a few Ayrshires. Green plays a huge part, too — it is found in the fields the cows graze, and in the many jobs the farm provides.

“We have a bunch of heifers due to calve in December,” said Paul Kokoski, a fifth-generation farmer and milk processing plant manager of the Hadley, MA operation. By Jan. 1, they expect 130 milking cows. Prized for their high butter fat, Jerseys’ other non-fat solids, like protein, also rank higher than other breeds. Jerseys are the most efficient cow based on the amount of feed you put in for the amount of milk produced, he notes. [Read more…]

Saving Small Dairy Farms

CN-MR-1-small dairy01by Tamara Scully

Dairy farms are getting bigger. As the number of dairy farms decreases, along with the number of cows being milked nationwide, the total amount of milk being produced, increases. Not only are cows producing more milk each day, they are doing so on larger and larger farms.

According to the article “Milk Production Continues Shifting to Large-Scale Farms,” by James MacDonald and Doris Newton, published in the December 2014 issue of Amber Waves, the USDA’s Economic Research Service’s magazine focusing on ERS research, analysis and policy issues related to agriculture, food, the environment, and rural America, dairy farming consolidation has been pronounced since 1992. In an industry where the number of dairy farms has decreased by 60 percent in the past two decades, this market reduction makes the possibility of starting small and mid-sized farming operations more difficult. [Read more…]