Dealing with animal rights activists ~ Part 4

Part 4: Are employees performing their jobs properly?

by Sally Colby

Kay Johnson Smith, president and CEO of Animal Agriculture Alliance, says that good animal welfare begins with taking a good, hard look at your farm business.

“Take a look at animal care handling and if there are issues there,” said Smith. “Make sure equipment is in good working order and will help you perform routine animal care safely and humanely.” Smith suggests if a farmer is experiencing problems with equipment (or lack thereof) or in working with livestock, it’s worth seeking expert help. [Read more…]

Dealing with animal rights activists ~ Part 3

Part 3: how not to hire an activist plant

by Sally Colby

It’s no secret that animal activists are trying to access farms for the purpose of gaining video or photographs of animal abuse. Although cases of true abuse do exist, in many cases, the activist who makes his way onto a working farm is there to create the illusion of abuse through video or still photos. It’s important for farm employers to be cautious in hiring to protect themselves, their good name, and their animals.

“They’re very shrewd about getting hired,” said Kay Johnson-Smith, president and CEO of Animal Agriculture Alliance. “Many will say that they have farm experience, so when they tell you they have worked on farms, they have. They go from farm to farm or region to region around the country. If they worked on a farm in Nebraska today, six months from today, they’re going to show up trying to get hired on a farm in New York.” [Read more…]

Watch, ask and learn

CW-MR-3-Swine8024qby Sally Colby

As consumers learn more about modern agricultural production, they’re also asking questions about how livestock are raised. Many farmers have opened their doors to the non-ag public to show them what’s inside the barn and how daily operations take place, but the biosecurity that’s essential for swine and poultry operations disallows that.

Some consumers have an opportunity to see livestock, including swine and poultry, at fairs, but those animals aren’t in their normal setting and it’s hard for people to relate to the production side. The goal of an ag display is to show people where food comes from; that it doesn’t just show up on a grocery shelf, and that there are people devoted to taking care of these animals. But what’s the best way to accomplish that? [Read more…]

Conn. vegetable and small fruit growers conference

CN-MR-2-CT-vegetable-and11by George Looby

On Monday, Jan. 11, 2016 vegetable and small fruit growers from the state and beyond gathered at Maneeley’s Conference Center in South Windsor, CT for their annual conference. Mary Concklin from the UConn Extension Center acted as moderator for the morning session. Jatinder Aulakh, Weed Scientist from the CT. Agricultural Experiment Station welcomed the attendees to the conference. With 266 in the audience this annual conference was well attended again this year and were treated to a variety of topics. [Read more…]

The new farmers

CN-33-4-The-new-farmers41by Laura Rodley

Atherton Farm

Santa Claus had some flying competition in Buckland, MA in 2015. The wreaths that farmer Susan Atherton made by hand out of materials from her farm flew off the wreath stand faster than Santa Claus can fly across the sky.

“They fly right out of here. My friend made my display so you can see it from the road,” said Atherton, and customers pull right into her driveway, to be met first by her friendly large dog Oso.   As with all items offered by farmers, there is a lot of preparation involved. She started making the wreaths on November 1. Her personal favorite was the wreath that she decorated with variety of strawflowers grown in her garden.   Her natural wreath, which featured milkweed pods and milkweed fluff, was very popular. [Read more…]