Grazing alternatives

by Tamara Scully

Pasture, which typically contains less than a half-dozen primary plant species, can be seeded and planted, and can be considered a type of crop land. Grazing management increases the harvest efficiency of the pasture. Rangeland, however, consists of native grass, shrub or savannah which is not typically fertilized or planted. It contains upwards of 100 species, and is managed via natural ecological events, such as fire or wildlife grazing.

Livestock can graze rangelands or pasture, but a rangeland system ‘may never recover’ from improper livestock management, while a pasture can undergo restoration. The risk of improper management, from a conservation standpoint, is much more significant on rangeland. Jess Jackson, Jr., of the Natural Resources Conservation Service emphasized the differences during a webinar presentation, Grazing System Designs for Non-traditional Livestock. [Read more…]

Two Pennsylvania producers win national beef Quality Assurance Awards

CM-MR-2-PA-producers-win2qby Steve Wagner

Two Pennsylvania producers recently received national Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) awards at the 2016 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) annual meeting in San Diego, CA. Frank Stoltzfus, Masonic Village Farm in Elizabethtown PA was honored with the checkoff’s annual Cow-Calf Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) award and Reid and Diane Hoover, Brook-Corner, LLC, Lebanon PA, received the Dairy Beef Quality Assurance (DBQA) award. The award program recognizes outstanding beef and dairy producers from across the country that incorporates BQA principles as part of their operation’s day-to-day activities. [Read more…]

Diversity in crops, production, marketing holds key to surviving in unpredictable times

by Pat Malin

LIVERPOOL, NY — Peter Martens could be described as an agricultural entrepreneur.

Owner of Peter Martens Farm in Dresden, NY, in the Finger Lakes region, the 30-year-old is a bit of an unconventional farmer with his penchant for “custom” farming and unusual crops. Even before he graduated from college, he was attracting attention for his techniques and new ideas.

Martens was among the speakers who participated in a panel discussion at the 184th meeting of the New York Agricultural Society and Agricultural Forum. [Read more…]

The new American farmer

CE-MR-1-American-Farmer471by Troy Bishopp

HAMILTON, NY — Students equipped with their smartphones and tablets packed a lecture room at Colgate University to learn about, of all things: The new American farmer. Dr. Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern, Assistant Professor of Food Studies from Syracuse University’s Falk College gave a perspective and presented research about Latino immigrant farmworkers striving to become farm owners. According to the USDA Ag Census, this is the largest population of new farmers entering agriculture.

In her lecture: “The New American Farmer: Agrarian Questions, Race, and Immigration”, the Cornell graduate explored the significance of farmworkers and other first-generation Latino immigrants to the United States aspiring to be small-scale farmers and their agrarian contributions in changing the food system landscape. Dr. Minkoff-Zern’s field exploration embodied her extensive experience with sustainable development and agricultural biodiversity projects abroad, combined with work on migrant health issues domestically after spending many years working on farms and with agriculture and food organizations in Guatemala, New York, Virginia and California. [Read more…]

Jonas brings the unexpected

CEW-MR-3-Roof-collapse7541by Sally Colby

Throughout winter storm Jonas, which dumped snow that would be measured by the foot, Christy Stermer had a plan to care for the 14 horses stabled at her TNC Equine Center in Dillsburg, PA. Christy’s instructor/trainer Mady Schubbe stayed with Christy for the weekend, and Christy’s son and a friend who plows snow would make sure there was access to the barn. Christy and Mady knew they were in for a lot of extra work, but no amount of planning could prepare them for what happened after the snow stopped falling.

“We got up Sunday morning, fed the horses and put some of the horses in the indoor to run around and stretch their legs because they were in all day Saturday,” said Christy. “We started cleaning stalls and plowing snow. I got the gate open to put more horses outside, and turned the mares outside and the boys in the indoor arena. I was standing outside the barn and I heard an enormous crack.” [Read more…]