Kyle Thayer raises champion Southdowns and Horned Dorsets at the Splendorview Farm in Cummington, MA. Occasionally he buys other stock. So when lambing time arrived this February he expected a lamb or two or from a recently purchased, already bred, mixed breed ewe. What he got late on Tuesday, Feb. 23 was a complete surprise — a set of quadruplets. Four black lambs with little tufts of white on their foreheads. And by Saturday Feb. 27, they were all still hardy and frolicking around like only lambs can. [Read more…]
New England Farm Weekly
Like a bombshell that falls on a city’s buildings, the one that is falling on Penn State’s Extension Services is just as destructive in its way as the one destroying buildings. Jobs will be lost, services ruined and/or done away with, and cultures, namely agriculture and horticulture, will suffer irreparable damage.
“After vetoing two previous budget proposals last year,” explained PA Farm Bureau President Rick Ebert, “the Governor decided to line-item veto the Legislature’s third proposal, in order to disperse some public funds to keep public schools and human services functioning. As a result of the line-item veto, funding for PSU Cooperative Extension and Research, along with other agricultural priorities, have been zeroed out of the existing state spending plan that was supposed to run from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. [Read more…]
The USDA recently announced that organic farmers are eligible to enroll land utilized as conservation buffers in the Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CCRP). Buffers include windbreaks, pollinator strips, riparian buffers, filter strips and field borders planted with native vegetation. Grass strips, wetlands restoration, and living snow fences are also eligible practices. These types of conservation practices promote biodiversity, encourage farmers not to grow crops on marginal lands, provide waterways and soils with protection from contaminants, and create wildlife habitat. [Read more…]
H2A workers are not an inexpensive source of labor. “The visa fee is $190 per worker, paid across the border, and you’ll need to budget about $250 per worker for transportation direct to your farm,” said Kerry Scott of MAS Labor, who specializes in the H2A program.
“Plan to reimburse your workers for their travel soon after they arrive,” added Scott, “They most likely will arrive stone broke, either because they are very poor, or because their money was taken from them.” [Read more…]
On Jan. 5, 2016, thirty-four students from four New England colleges participated in the New England Dairy Travel Course. For five days, students from the Universities of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, traveled throughout the state of Maine visiting dairy farms and learning about the dairy industry. [Read more…]
If you are having difficulty finding enough help for summer and fall farm work for this year, the H2A program is definitely an avenue to consider. Despite the paperwork, which an agent can assist you with, most farmers tend to be happy with the quality of the workers they receive through H2A. These workers are hoping to return next year so they are generally productive and looking to please their employer. [Read more…]
by Tamara Scully
Adequate ventilation can increase the health of dairy cows, no matter their life stage. Providing ventilation, via natural measures or enhanced with fans or tube systems, allows producers to mitigate negative environmental factors.
Ventilation enhances air quality by moving stagnant air — carrying disease-causing germs, gases, or unhealthy particles — away from animals. Circulating air can keep cows cool. [Read more…]
“It would certainly be ideal if growers could put an ad in the newspaper, accept applications, and hire American workers,” stated Kerry Scott of MAS Labor. Unfortunately, that approach isn’t working. For example, a grower/packer near Reno, NV needs 1725 seasonal laborers. Some of the work offered is in an air-conditioned packing shed, and even the fieldwork doesn’t involve actual “stoop labor.” Harvesting is done mechanically, with workers at the back of the harvesting machines. The grower also pays very well.
“The area around Reno, Nevada has the highest unemployment in Nevada, and most of the time, Nevada has the highest unemployment in the country,” Scott continued, speaking at the Mid Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Growers Convention recently. “The grower ran ‘Help Wanted’ ads in the local papers. They had zero applicants for these well-paying jobs!” [Read more…]