Lending a hand to youth in the sheep industry

CEW-MR-2-Clarkshire Farms7869by Sally Colby

Although living on a farm is an advantage for young people who are interested in activities such as 4-H and FFA, it’s harder for non-farm youngsters to participate — unless someone provides an opportunity.
John and Pat Clark have provided that opportunity for youth in their area. After raising their two daughters on their Mohawk, NY, farm, they help other youth who are interested in sheep. [Read more…]

Pacing toward a career

CW-COVERby Sally Colby
Many adults who are involved in the livestock industry can trace their career path back to time spent in agricultural activities such as 4-H and FFA. This is the case for Jennifer Schwab, of North Java, NY, where she and her family have a start-up purebred breeding stock operation specializing in Spotted hogs, or ‘Spots’.

“We’ve had pigs for 4-H since I was 10 years old,” said Schwab. “My brother Kevin and I raised two pigs each year for eight years. “They’re enjoyable to work with. They’re docile, more gentle than the others we’ve had, and they’re very protective moms.” Schwab says that that the first Spot they had was named grand champion at the New York State Fair, and that fueled her interest in the breed.

To promote their growing operation and to learn more about purebred seedstock pigs, Schwab and her family exhibit at numerous shows throughout the year. [Read more…]

University hosts panel discussion on GMOs in the food system

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAby Tamara Scully
The University of Maine at Machias recently held a panel discussion on genetically modified foods, as a part of its ongoing “Food and Community” series of events. Panelists for the discussion were: Maine organic farmer Jim Gerritsen, president of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association; John Jemison, water quality and soil specialist with University of Maine Cooperative Extension; Eric Jones, assistant professor of plant biology at University of Maine at Machias; and Andrei Alyokhin, professor and graduate coordinator with University of Maine’s School of Biology and Ecology. The panel briefly introduced their views on genetic engineering and its use in our food system, and then answered questions from the audience. [Read more…]

Carl Shaffer and the Borlaug hypothesis

CM-MR-1-Carl Shaffer 1by Steve Wagner
When Pennsylvania Farm Bureau President Carl Shaffer stepped to the podium for his annual press conference at the PFB annual meeting, he did not look like the proverbial happy camper. “One of the hottest items is our state funding of transportation,” he said. “I can’t tell you how disappointed we are with our legislators today. There’s no excuse for this. They’re sent there to do a job and one of them is to provide services for the public. We have 5,600 bridges in the state of Pennsylvania that are in need of repair. Of those, 250 are closed completely. [Read more…]

Custom innovation

CEW-MR-2-Custom Innovation769by Tamara Scully
The production area at Homestead Heritage farm is dominated by an odd-looking contraption, one which happens to be on the cutting edge of value-added products. Visitors may hear a whistle, which forewarns of the oncoming, loud  “bang,” signaling completion of the process, and the availability of a new value-added product. [Read more…]