Herding helpers on the farm

CEW-MR-2-Herding dogs16by Sally Colby

Although many sheep farmers use herding dogs to work livestock, not all of them had sheep when they started.

Julie Williams, who lives in the Hudson Valley area, had herding dogs before she had sheep. Her first dog was a Kelpie named Lucy. “I trained her all the way through knowing how to do a shed,” said Williams, referring to the act of separating designated sheep from the flock. “I worked with Warren Mick, of Ultima, NY, and he’s really good at what he does. He had a Border Collie named Glen that I really liked, and I found out I could get a puppy sired by Glen — that’s how I got Dan.” Dan was Williams’ first Border Collie, and Joe, her second dog, is related to Dan. Williams started both Dan and Joe as young pups. [Read more…]

Close attention at calving time pays off

C4-MR-3-Close attention 1by Sally Colby

When there’s trouble during a calving, someone on the farm is usually willing and able to don an obstetric sleeve and help that cow safely deliver the calf. But the decision to assist a cow should be a part of careful observation skills and overall good cow sense. [Read more…]

Love it or leave it? Farmers debate hydrofracking at Farm Bureau Conference

CEW-MR-1-Love it or leave it253by Pat Malin

LIVERPOOL, NY —  Hydraulic fracturing. Also known as “hydrofracking,” it is one word guaranteed to stir up a hornet’s nest of comments.

Whether you live in an urban neighborhood or rural district in the northeastern U.S., you’re sure to have heard about fracking at town, city council and school board meetings, or attended scholarly lectures and viewed certain films and television shows. Upstate New York, in an area roughly from the western border with Canada, including the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier east to the capital district, is home to several large natural gas deposits.

Hydrofracking is the process of injecting liquids, water and chemicals at high pressure into the ground to fracture shale rock. In addition, the region’s proximity to Pennysylvania and Ohio, where fracking is a large-scale, and some say profitable industry, brings the topic to mind more often. [Read more…]

Median grazing: Crazy enough to work?

CEW-MR-1-Grazing mediansby Troy Bishopp, The Grass Whisperer

I’m pleased The New York Times released an op-ed piece titled, Keep Farmland for Farmers, poignantly written by Hudson Valley Farmers, Lindsey Lusher Shute and Benjamin Shute which chronicles the plight of finding land and making a go of it beyond the boroughs of New York City. In it they reveal that one-quarter of the land trusts that oversee conservation easements have seen protected land go out of production. Why? A non-farmer had bought it. [Read more…]