Managing feed from the other end of the cow

CN-MN-MR-2-Managing-feed160by Sally Colby

There was a time when a dairy farmer’s biggest concern about manure was whether the gutter cleaner was functional, if the tractor might break down or if there was a spare hand to send to the field with a spreader full of manure. The chemistry of that manure was probably not at the top of the farmer’s mind.

Although farmers have been using manure to their advantage for centuries, increased knowledge about the impact of manure on the environment has led to science-based research and legislation that dictates how manure must be handled. [Read more…]

A local legend and her border collies

CN-MR-3-Colliesby Laura Rodley

Local legend Becky Peterson’s shadow doesn’t stay behind her or disappear at high noon. It runs in front of her, to her side, a little bit ahead. Sometimes she has four or five. Her shadows are pedigree border collies she raises at Orchard View Farm. They follow her wherever she goes, although not all at once. When needed, she can choose from five working dogs. [Read more…]

Successful urban farmers use intensive agriculture

CN-MR-1-Urban farmersby Sanne Kure-Jensen

There are many benefits to farming in urban areas. Most urban farmers enjoy being close to their markets and customers. They also spend less time and money transporting goods to customers than rural growers. Urban sites generally offer easy access to potable water. Most urban farmers have fewer wildlife problems than their rural counterparts. Urban environments also tend to be 6 – 8 degrees warmer than rural areas. This is partly due to the heat island effect of pavement and sidewalks. [Read more…]

Sparrow Soap and how it grew

CN-MR-3-GOATSOAP4by George Looby, DVM

Billy goats are the butt of many farm-related jokes, but without their services, many enterprises using goats and their by-products would quietly disappear from the scene. Bucks are usually relegated to the farthest corner of the farm, but here at Kingdom Kids Family Farm, they are housed in a barn (aptly named Man Cave), located directly behind the main barn. For those unfamiliar with goats, bucks emit a unique odor during the breeding season which most people rank somewhere between unacceptable to intolerable. This characteristic stands in stark contrast to the product produced by farm owner Michelle Lyon and her partner Sue Barry. Since 2011, they have been manufacturing cosmetic soap using goat milk as a critical ingredient. [Read more…]

Our Family Farms

CN-MR-3-FamilyFarm2by Laura Rodley

Our Family Farms is a co-owned cooperative, comprising four farms stretching from Leyden, at the northern edge of Massachusetts, to Shelburne, across 10 miles of fertile land. This land supports 400 cows, collectively of prize-winning stock, that produce high-quality hormone rBST-free milk. Its office is based in Greenfield, MA.

Warren Facey is the owner of Bree-Z-Knoll in Leyden, executive director of Massachusetts Association of Dairy Farmers and a 40-year Farm Bureau member. He is also on the Franklin County Board of Directors and a lifelong observer of farms. “In 1985 there was a big exodus. It’s been going on ever since,” he said. [Read more…]