Researching best practices for grazing farms

CEWN-MR-1-Researching best pracby Tamara Scully

While grazing practitioners use a variety of management tools to care for their land and animals, it can be difficult to quantify exactly how much benefit different practices make. Juan Alvez, PhD., of the University of Vermont’s Center for Sustainable Agriculture, has launched a three-year research study designed to see what differences, if any, a variety of farm management practices actually do make.

Quantifying management practices

The basis of grazing systems is grass. The quality and quantity of forage available to the animals is enhanced by a variety of management techniques designed to build soil health. Alvez is studying approximately 20 practices, on three very different grass-based Vermont farms, to determine the impact they have on soil health. [Read more…]

Walk through milking

CN-MR-3-Walk through 2by Laura Rodley

Imagine a dairy farmer didn’t wake early to milk his cows at 3:30 a.m. or not have to return to milk again in the afternoon. Imagine cows getting milked when they want to, 24 hours a day, and if there is a problem with milking on the night shift, the herdsman receives a phone call at home alerting him to exactly what that problem is.

These advantages occur at Hill Lawn Farm LLC in Lee, MA, where the farm’s milker is neither milkman nor milkmaid, but a robot — two Lely Astronauts from Holland-based Lely company utilized since late September to milk the farm’s niche Jerseys. [Read more…]

New slaughterhouse and meat processing plant will open soon

CN-MR-1-New slaughterhouse 1by Bethany M. Dunbar

LYNDONVILLE, VT — The Northeast Kingdom will soon have a new slaughterhouse, butcher shop, retail local meat store, and meat processing plant in the industrial park in Lyndonville.

Scott Oeschger of Derby is the owner of Northeast Kingdom Processing. The general manager will be Denis Royer of Irasburg. Oeschger has bought Spring Hill Angus from Dan Maclure, and Bob Butterfield of Barton will be the general manager of the beef farm. [Read more…]

Marketing local meats — best practices

CN-MR-1-Marketing 1by Sanne Kure-Jensen

Do you have more meat in your farm freezer that you can sell? Do you have trouble reaching customers or getting the prices you should to keep your farm viable?

“Most farmers go into farming because they love farming, not because they love marketing,” said Matt LeRoux, an agricultural marketing specialist with Cornell’s Cooperative Extension. At a recent workshop offered by the Rhode Island Raised Livestock Association, he coached livestock farmers to offer messages that resonate with customers and grow product sales.
[Read more…]

Direct marketing pricing strategies that work for buyers and sellers

CEW-MR-1-PRICINGby Bill and Mary Weaver

“The core group of customers who will pay the most for your locally grown produce are those who value local food; want to support the local economy; are looking for the health benefits of buying local; and value their relationship with you, the grower,” according to Dr. Tim Woods. These customers care about value, but are not primarily price shoppers. [Read more…]