A new renaissance

CEW-MR-1-Soil renaissanceby Tamara Scully

Neil Conklin, President of Farm Foundation, NFP, introduced a new movement in today’s agriculture, one which is inclusive of all types of production systems, philosophies, farm sizes, and crops. It’s a movement with one key component — soil.

This movement is called the Soil Renaissance, and it is coming soon to a farm near you. According to Conklin, the movement began to take root after Klaas Martens, a New York state organic farmer, and Bill Buckner, formerly CEO of Bayer CropScience LP and now the President and CEO of the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, had a discussion about their passion for soil health. No matter that they had disparate backgrounds. They agreed that soil health is key to a sustainable agriculture, one which can feed the world as the population rapidly grows, climate changes cause havoc, the agricultural landbase decreases, and decimated soils can no longer support food production. [Read more…]

Can a haunted barn save the farm?

CW-MR-1-Haunted barn5by Sally Colby

In the early 20th century, most families who lived in urban areas had relatives who farmed, and those urbanites often spent at least part of the summer on the farm. If that counts as recreation, then agritainment isn’t new. At the time, it was no stretch to find city families visiting their farm relatives for weeks at a time, or perhaps leaving the children on the farm to visit grandparents or cousins. Urban family members developed an appreciation for the hard work that goes into food production, and probably returned to the city relieved that they didn’t have to live that life. [Read more…]

A woman jouster in Sherwood Forest

CN-MR-2-Jousterby Laura Rodley

In Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood stole from the rich to give to the poor. In Montague’s forest, he invited others to do his work and allowed them to feel rich by giving donations of food — part of their entrance fee at the fourth annual Mutton and Mead Medieval Festival — to be collected by the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts to feed the poor and hungry. Proceeds will also benefit Montague Common Hall repairs, Leverett-based Wingmasters Raptor Center, 4-H’ers manning the archery booth and local Girl Scouts. [Read more…]

Junior hereford exhibitors head East

CEW-MR-1-JrHerefordby Rebecca Long Chaney

HARRISBURG, PA — More than 600 junior exhibitors from 34 states across the country spent a week here for the VitaFerm Junior National Hereford Expo (JNHE).

“I honestly think it’s the best junior national I’ve been too,” said Andy Billing of Greendale, NJ, co-chair New Jersey. representative on the six-state joint host JNHE planning committee. “The Farm Show Complex was a great facility to host the event. It’s the first time for all the cattle to be in one barn. The complex is air conditioned and there was plenty of trailer parking.” [Read more…]

The little engine that could: Barstow’s Longview Farm

CN-MR-3-LittleEngine041by Laura Rodley

Cows have always been considered unusual due to their unique style of digestion: their stomach has four chambers. Now Barstow’s Longview Farm in Hadley, MA will be known for having a unique stomach of its own — a BGreen Energy’s Anaerobic Digester that converts manure and food scraps into fertilizer and enough electricity to power the entire farm, plus surrounding houses. The key word is sustainable.

Septimus Barstow started the farm in 1806. It is now managed by 6th generation David Barstow and his brother Steven, with 7th generation Steven Barstow II poised to take over. They raise 450 Holsteins, farm 400 acres and employ six people. Fifteen more people work at Barstow’s Dairy Store and Bakery. [Read more…]