Mark Rashid discusses herd dynamics at Equine Affaire

CN-MR-3-HerdDynamics1585by Laura Rodley

Three bleachers bulged with spectators during internationally renowned horse trainer Mark Rashid’s talk, “Herd Dynamics: Understanding the Difference between Domestic and Feral Horses’ Behavior” at the 50th Equine Affaire, which was held in November in Springfield, MA.

Attendees were quiet, avidly paying attention as Rashid spoke, as though putting into action something he has noticed while studying feral herds. “[Horses] have to stay quiet. If they make noise, attract predators. There is one reason bands of wild horses are so quiet — preservation,” said Rashid, of Estes Park, CO, the author of seven horse-related books. [Read more…]

Flavor’s the ticket at Cold Spring Farm

CN-flavor_084by Laura Rodley  

Nestled in a cozy series of pastures graze Ayrshire cattle that belong to Tim and Doff Storrow of Cold Spring Farm. Tim has had repeat customers ordering his beef for over a decade. The reason is flavor. Everyone raves about the flavor, from his customers to head chef Jordan Scott at nearby Gill Tavern where Cold Spring Farm beef is served for dinner.

“He loves the beef,” said Tim, who has ordered his own beef for dinner at Gill Tavern too, on a night out, though, “Typically I’ll order something else,” for variety. [Read more…]

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…]