The Big E celebrates Green Pastures

CN-MR-5-GreenPast6715by Lorraine Strenkowski

The New England Green Pastures Committee honored their 2014 Outstanding Dairy Farms at the Eastern States Exposition (The Big E) on Friday, Sept. 12. One farm from each New England state is chosen by committee and awarded each year for their pasture quality and forage management, production, herd/milk quality, financial stability and community involvement.

Each of the winners were asked to put together a 10 minute PowerPoint “tour” that introduced themselves, their farms and their farming techniques and specialties. Winners were also awarded an engraved silver pitcher and barn sign. [Read more…]

Markets for bioenergy crops

CEWM-MR-1-Bioenergy2by Tamara Scully

With the increased focus, over the past several years, on growing crops for the bioenergy sector, producers who opted to pursue this market may now be seeing crops, such as perennial grasses or woody crops, reach full maturity. But they may have yet to develop a reliable, stable market for these crops. Perennial grasses and woody biomass crops such as shrub willow, poplar or eucalyptus take several years to establish, and may require specific equipment for harvesting, leaving a farmer with a negative return on their investment if he hasn’t developed a viable market. [Read more…]

Washington County Fair protects livestock

CN-MR-1-WaCoFair1by Sanne Kure-Jensen

Contestants at the Washington County Fair bring livestock to these competitions confident that their animals’ health will be protected. Greg Breene of Breene Acres in West Greenwich, RI said, “State Veterinarian Dr. Scott Marshall is very thorough.” Even when competitors produce all required paperwork, Dr. Marshall personally inspected every animal. Like other competitors, Breene brought his dairy cows to the fairgrounds the day before the fair’s opening day.

Dairy Intermediate Showman winner, Maggie LaPrise of EMMA Acres in Exeter, RI said, “The Big E is the only event I have seen with more thorough vet checks.” [Read more…]

Farming through experience and education

CN-MR-3-Harris3103by Sally Colby

Jake Harris knew he wanted to farm, but he also knew that going to college would be an important part of his career planning.

Harris is a recent graduate of the University of New Hampshire (UNH), where he studied agriculture. “They have a nice program as far as dairy, horticulture and general agriculture,” he said. “The Thompson School of Applied Science has a hands-on program, so I could take a wide variety of classes in my major, which is integrated agriculture management. I could combine courses to have the kind of experience I wanted.”

Integrated Agricultural Management is a new field of study at UNH, and Harris is in the second graduating class of that major. The major addresses the diverse nature of New England farms, and is ideal for those who want to get into agriculture but don’t have a specific goal in mind. [Read more…]

The Fjord horses of Norway

CN-MS-2-FjordHorseby Bill and Mary Weaver

Fjord horses, originally from the mountains of western Norway, were the horses of choice for the Vikings. They are a sturdy and versatile breed.

Gina DeSantis of Let’s Dance Dressage showed two Fjord horses at Ag Progress Days as part of “The Equestrian Experience”: Gunter, her gelding, and Lily, her mare. “We bred them, and I raised them both from birth,” DeSantis explained. “Lily is Gunter’s aunt. She came from Gunter’s grandmother, who was imported from Norway.

“Lily’s father was a more refined type of Fjord. There’s a big difference between Lily and Gunter in bone structure. Gunter was a feisty colt, so he got gelded.” [Read more…]