Students tour dairy farms

CN-MR-2-TRAVEL-DAY_5345by Emily Rice, University of New Hampshire

This past January I traveled with eight other of my classmates from the University of New Hampshire to Prince Edward Island, Canada with the New England Dairy Travel Course. Students from the University of Maine, the University of Connecticut, the University of Rhode Island, and the University of Massachusetts were also enrolled in this course. All 41 of us traveled together via bus that was supported by a very generous grant from Northeast Farm Credit’s AgEnhancement program. We met Jan. 4 at the University of New Hampshire’s Durham location at our Fairchild Dairy Farm. As UNH students, we gave a tour to the visiting colleges of our facility starting with our calf room. The calf room holds around 20 calves and is attached to the main barn where the lactating cows are held. The rough herd size is 90 cows, milking 75 of which 25 belong to our student-run CREAM herd. The somatic cell count for the CREAM herd is 71,000 cells/mL and the somatic cell count for the remainder of the milking herd is 54,000 cells/mL. They are milked in a double five herringbone parlor and are held in a tie stall. The heifer barn is located in close proximity to the main barn and the dry cows reside in a pack barn that gives them access to a field for grazing, weather permitting. [Read more…]

Sugaring season begins at Williams Farm Sugarhouse

CN-MR-2-Sugarhouse013by Laura Rodley

After a savage winter beset by Nor’easters and valiant storms, sugaring is underway. The Williams Farm family in Deerfield, MA has been sugaring since 1853. They started tapping in early March, with their first boiling on March 14.

“The season’s off to a slow start so far; we’re hoping to have a good month of March, maybe beginning of April. You never can tell,” said Kenneth Williams IV, best known as Chip, 5th generation, speaking at their Williams Farm Sugarhouse restaurant. It is two to three weeks later than usual, as traditionally, they start sugaring Feb. 20, if the weather allows. What they waited for was 40-degree days with 20-degree nights for the sap to run. [Read more…]

Veterans: Beginning farmer education

CN-MR-1-VETERANS_1849by Sanne Kure-Jensen

Agricultural training programs designed for veterans should include plenty of hands-on experiences for this high-energy group. Norm Conrad, Northeast Director of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) strongly suggests having extra materials on-hand as well as an extra group exercise or activity in the curriculum. Veterans are often more focused, productive and efficient than other workshop attendees. [Read more…]

Permaculture: strategies for diversification

by Katie Navarra

A lot of people are talking about permaculture, a system that relies on designing planting configurations to work more like an ecosystem. Until recently, the practice has largely been associated with the landscape industry. However, farms nationwide ranging from less than five acres in production to more than 100 acres in production are beginning to incorporate the principles of permaculture on their farms.

During the e-Organic webinar, Permaculture on Organic Farms, Rafter Ferguson along with Ron Revord and Kevin Wolz, all graduate students at the University of Illinois, Urban-Champaign campus, explained the basics of permaculture, offered information on how to incorporate the concept on farms and discussed opportunities and challenges associated with a permaculture design system. [Read more…]