4-H & FFA competitions benefit students, livestock and communities

???????????????????????????????by Sanne Kure-Jensen

Local and regional fairs with 4-H and FFA competitions help educate fair visitors about agriculture as well as build competitors’ skills, self-confidence and leadership skills. These competitors and audiences may become be our next generation of farmers and ranchers.

4-H fairs and competitions offer students feedback on their agricultural projects and a chance to compete against their peers. Students face their public speaking fears and hone their presentation skills. Many find financial incentive to improve their skills and knowledge. [Read more…]

Traveling hooves on the move

CN-MR-2-Travelingby Laura Rodley

Liebe Coolidge of Plainfield, MA has been winning championships with her French Alpine goats for decades as a USDA class C inspected exhibitor. In addition to that, now she and her husband Douglas Premo travel with their business Traveling Hooves to schools, detention center, and fairs with their collection of French Alpine goats, miniature pigs and assorted donkeys to allow children a chance pet the animals. It is a championship of a different sort — forging ties, however brief — between children and animals they might otherwise never have met. [Read more…]

New London County 4-H Fair

CN-MR-3-NewLondon1by Lorraine Strenkowski

On July 25-27, the UConn Extension New London County 4-H Fair was held in North Stonington, CT. Dairy, beef and goats were the focus of the event, with an open class for working steers. 4-H Assistant Heidi Rechlin of Norwich, CT, was excited to be on-site during the three-day affair. A recent graduate of SUNY Cobleskill with an associate’s degree in agri-business, Heidi was well-prepared. Together, she and Program Coordinator Pamela Gray, of UConn Extension New London County 4-H, planned a remarkable weekend. [Read more…]

Potatoes and soil health

CN-MR-1-Potatoesby Tamara Scully

Soil health is increasingly being recognized as a key factor in plant health and yield, and is the key to successful non-chemical growing. When the soil structure is optimal and left intact, the soil microbial activity is thriving, and carbon is sequestered, the conditions are perfect for crop production. But what if you grow a crop that requires soil disturbances for planting and harvesting? How can soil health be optimized when the soil has to be disturbed? [Read more…]

A tour of the Pakulis Farm

CN-MR-4-Pakulisby George Looby, DVM

On July 24 the Windham County Food and Agriculture Council sponsored a tour of the Pakulis Farm in Brooklyn, CT. This tour was designed to give attendees the opportunity to observe firsthand some of the recent updates that have taken place on this operation.

Dawn Pindell, of the USDA Farm Service Agency, introduced the farm owners Sandy and Lou Brodeur, who presented an overview of the hay/vegetable farm. Hay growing, harvesting and sales are Lou’s responsibility, while the vegetable side of the business falls to Sandy. [Read more…]