Growing a dairy farm from scratch

CN-MR-4-BrooksFarm1by Sally Colby

It isn’t every day that young people decide they want to farm, and for those who do, it’s tough to start with nothing but experience. Having a strong desire for a life in agriculture might help, but purchasing a farm can be a prohibitively expensive proposition.

Nathaniel Brooks, of Canaan, Maine, says he’s always wanted to be a dairy farmer, and through Maine Farmlink, a program of Maine Farmland Trust, his dream is becoming a reality.

“We started discussing it in early 2011,” said Brooks as he talked about his relationship with Mike and Betsy Holt, the farm owners who connected with Brooks through FarmLink. “The Holts wanted to give a young guy some help getting started.” Brooks added that he grew up just a few miles from the Holts, and they already knew him — a bonus for both sides. [Read more…]

Biosecurity is key to managing PEDv and SDCv

CN-2-PEDv1by Sally Colby

When PEDv, or porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, first made the news, industry officials were quick to act. However, since experts had almost no experience in dealing with the disease, there was a lot of groundwork to cover before organizations could provide sound information to producers.

PEDv was first identified in England in 2013, and spread throughout Europe and Asia before being confirmed in the Midwest in spring of 2013. Since then, the disease has been confirmed in 30 states. [Read more…]

Having trouble with invasives? Try goats as your extractor

CN-MR-3-TroubleWithInvasives2by Laura Rodley

Rosa Multiflora, European Buckthorn, honeysuckle, Japanese Barberry — invasives, all. And goats find them delicious.

A herd of 18 goats was introduced at Pine Cobble School, in Williamstown, MA, as part of their newly instated Goats in the Woods Project (GIW). The project is devoted to introducing meat goats into wooded areas to eat invasives as a source of forest management called agroforestry. Another goal is to help teach kids where food originates. [Read more…]

Poisonous plants: those that are and those that can become

CM-CN-MR-2-PoisonousPlantsby George Looby, DVM

Now the snow is gone, and most of us are waiting impatiently for spring to arrive. The first harbingers of the season have blossomed, but for every group of early bloomers there are a few plants that pose potential threats to livestock and pets. After a winter on dry forage and silage, the natural inclination of animals turned out to pasture is to seek out greenery. Unfortunately, all that is green is not healthy, nutritious or beneficial. [Read more…]

Controlled predators are crowd-pleasers

CM-MR-2-Controlled predators716by Sally Colby

The predator approaches his prey quickly, then slows down and calculates his next move. He crouches and waits until the prey settle down. The predator is patient, but is quick to act as soon there’s an opportunity for a capture. As the prey start to move, the predator moves too; in perfect harmony with the prey, and always ready to change plans in the blink of an eye. [Read more…]