Year-round lambing with planned crossbreds

CN-MR-3-Year round 1by Sally Colby

It isn’t easy to supply large amounts of fresh lamb year-round, but North Star Sheep Farm is doing just that. With about 825 ewes on four farms and a carefully planned breeding schedule, North Star is providing lamb to Whole Foods and New England chefs.

“We were born into it and it’s part of our lives,” said Lisa Webster, explaining that she and her husband Phil are fourth and fifth generation sheep farmers. “The farm we live on has been continually in use for the past 300 years.” [Read more…]

Equine Affaire 2013

CN-MR-3-Equine Affaire 1by George Looby, DVM

For four days in November the center of the horse world in the northeast was located on the grounds of the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, MA. From Nov. 7-10 the horse and its equine cousins held center stage as thousands of spectators attended demonstrations and lectures, visited vendors, and spent an evening watching a coliseum show featuring the horse.

Health and wellness issues were covered by several traditional veterinary clinics. For those owners whose animals might be in need of longer post-surgical treatment, there were facilities offering physical therapy and rehabilitation. There were booths devoted to the whole range of ointments, salves and powders that might be used in the treatment of the usual run of nick, cuts and bruises that any horse owner might expect from his/her animal. [Read more…]

Red Gate Farm

CN-MR-3-Red Gate 2by Laura Rodley
Sometimes a farm’s buildings and land constitute its backbone, maintaining its taproot even while it no longer functions as a farm. A farm purchased in 1870 by the Williams family in Buckland, MA, with its landmark red barn, was actively farmed by the late Francis and Harry Williams until the 1960s. Changing hands several times, locals still called it Williams Farm.

The farm was exactly what Ben Murray, then a Northampton, MA resident, visualized and searched out for two years, as his vision of a perfect teaching farm. During those two years, he formed the non-profit Kistner Foundation Inc., named in honor of his grandmother, with four others making a Board of Directors: his father Ted Murray, Buckland residents Peter Kitchell and Melissa Letourneau, and Louise Smith of Montague. [Read more…]

Joe Courtney visits Woodstock

CN-MR-2-Joe Courtney 1by George Looby, DVM

At the invitation of the Woodstock, CT Agricultural Commission, Congressman Joe Courtney (D) Second Congressional District met with members of the Commission and interested citizens to give them an update on the status of the Farm Bill as it works its way through Congress. It is interesting to note that the congressman is the first congressman from Connecticut to serve on that committee since the early years of the last century. From a national perspective New England agriculture is not highly regarded as a viable entity by some of those serving at the higher levels of the USDA as well as those in the halls of Congress, so having a person like Joe Courtney as an advocate is an invaluable asset. [Read more…]

A new and beginning farmers workshop

CN-MR-1-Beginning farmers3by George Looby, DVM
Since its inception, the Agvocate Program in northeastern Connecticut has introduced many new concepts and innovations to assist the farmers located in the Quiet Corner. A program is now being developed to provide young farmers with several forms of assistance that will enable them to start businesses of their own. On Thursday Nov. 23, the Agvocate Program sponsored a workshop, hosted by Chairman John Guszkowski, designed to give the several participating towns some ideas as to how best to initiate such programs in their own communities.

[Read more…]