Red Fire Farm and the secrets for success

CN-MR-3-SecretsRedFire1by Laura Rodley

The secrets for success for Red Fire Farm, which grows certified organic vegetables on two farms in Montague and Granby, MA, is perseverance and cultivating great workers — as well as great vegetables.

Farm owners Ryan and Sarah Voiland grow vegetables for four summer and five winter farmer’s markets, and sell wholesale to markets and restaurants such as Greenfields Market, Whole Foods Markets, Northampton’s Blue Heron, Greenfield’s People’s Pint and more than 1,600 CSA members — the majority Boston residents. [Read more…]

Nutrient boost can help prevent mastitis

CWMN-MR-1-UdderHealthby Bill and Mary Weaver

Mastitis costs. On the basis of both his own experience and studies, and an extensive review of recent research, Penn State Professor and Extension Veterinarian Dr. Robert VanSaun stated that one way to significantly reduce mastitis cases is to bump up the levels of several key nutrients in the dairy cow’s diet. VanSaun spoke on “Nutrition and Udder Health” at the recent Mastitis and Milk Quality Conference.

These key nutrients “beef up” the cows’ immune systems, and are particularly important at two points: at drying off and during the period from just before calving through the first several weeks into milk, when cows are more vulnerable to mastitis infections. [Read more…]

New Hampshire State 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl Contest

CN-RP-1-NHQuizThe New Hampshire 4-H Foundation recently sponsored the New Hampshire State 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl Contest, which took place in Walpole, NH. 4-H members from Grafton, Coos, Merrimack, Sullivan and Cheshire County participated in the event.

Twenty two senior members strived to earn a position on the State team, which will participate in the Quiz Bowls at Eastern States Exposition and the National Dairy Quiz Bowl in Louisville, KY in the fall. [Read more…]

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…]