Not your typical bovine

CN-MR-3-Not your 1by Laura Rodley

High in the hills of Hawley, MA sits Tregellys Fiber Farm, where Andrea Phillips of Cap Hill Tibetan Yak Farm in Little Compton, RI purchased her main yak bull Target as a calf, almost six years ago. She’s checked every year since to see if a female has been born. This year she hit the jackpot with a three week old thigh-high female whose grandmother is a Jersey.

Indeed, the Jersey behaved like a grandmother, protectively standing by the calf as she waited to be picked up. Her “dzomo” — half yak, half cow mother — waited behind the fence. No bellowing nor bleating arose; yaks only grunt, and that came later. [Read more…]

What makes a successful farmers market?

CN-MR-2-What makes 1by Sanne Kure-Jensen

Thriving farmers markets have loyal customers and great vendors. The customers spend money, return regularly and bring friends. Successful vendors bring great products, friendly smiles and the right pricing, week after week.

During a Farmers Market Manager Conference held in Rhode Island, a brainstorming session revealed contribution to a successful market and what may be holding it back. [Read more…]

Learning the hard way: Protect your business from theft

CMN-MR-1-Learning 1by Emily Enger

When Jason and Amy Ladd received a phone call from a young stranger who confessed his friend had stolen from their business, they were floored. The Ladd’s own Lucky Ladd Farms, a petting farm in Eagleville, TN. The alleged robber was their 19 year-old employee who, in the nature of the young and invincible, bragged about how she was skimming from the Ladds’ till and spent the stolen cash on flashy items like a Mustang convertible and multiple iPhones for her and her friends. Eventually, one of her friends was bothered enough to say something. [Read more…]

Will dairy margin insurance be for you?

CEWN-MR-1-Dairy Margin Insuranceby Steven E Smith

By Sept. 1, the U.S. dairy industry should have an entirely new USDA dairy policy in place. Once the new program rules of the Agricultural Act of 2014 are in place, gone will be decades old milk price support programs, the Dairy Exports Incentive Program and the limited MILC program. Without the weighty coexistence of the SNAP and other domestic food assistance, the 2014 Farm Bill, known as the “Farm Only Bill” includes the provision of federal margin insurance program for the U.S. Dairy industry in this era of global marketing expectations and a shift from disaster payments to risk management. [Read more…]

Fighting the scab battle

CEW-MR-2-SCAB 2by Sally Colby
Dr. Christina Cowger, who conducts scab research at the ARS laboratory in North Carolina, says scab is the trickiest and most intractable fungus that affects grains. But organizations are fighting back in the form of initiatives, informational websites and online tools for farmers.

“The U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative is funded by the USDA through our budget,” said Cowger. “It started when scab became a huge problem in the upper Midwest in the 1990s. There were devastating scab epidemics of wheat and barley, and it really changed the face of the local communities. Some local towns were shut down because people lost their farms.” [Read more…]