Are you an ag advocate?

CEW-MR-1-Ag advocacy925One mother’s realization of how quickly families become removed from the farm
by Steven E Smith
“She is my inspiration,” stated Debbie Lyons-Blythe. Her “inspiration” is a young mother in the Midwest. Instead of being two or four generations removed from production agriculture, Shannon, who is actually an extended family member of Lyons-Blythe, is just a generation removed. “After discussing food purchases with her and realizing how torn she was when considering grocery purchases and whether or not to buy organic or other specialized food, I knew I needed to speak up for agriculture.”
Lyons-Blythe is a spunky, outgoing rancher from the Flint Hills of Kansas. As a speaker at the National Angus Conference, Lyons-Blythe explained to the audience how to become an agricultural advocate through social media. She is a blogger, a tweeter and a Facebooker. “Before you head for the exits, please realize that these technologies are not as intimidating as they may appear. The fastest growing demographic of users of Facebook today are women ages 55 to 60. This is just the beginning and it removes the challenges of time and costly expenses to reach out to people.” [Read more…]

OSHA compliance: What farm businesses need to know

by Katie Navarra
If an OSHA inspector arrived at your farm would you be ready for an inspection?
The number of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspections, particularly on dairy farms in New York, is expected to increase significantly in 2014.
During a webinar cosponsored by Farm Credit East, the Northeast Dairy Producers Association (NEDPA), New York Farm Bureau and Pro-Dairy, experts Dave Schwoerer, a safety specialist and owner of Innovative Safety Systems, and Charles B. Palmer, an attorney with Michael Best & Friedrich, LLP, offered advice to New York farm businesses, especially dairies for preparing for an OSHA inspection. [Read more…]

County princesses and the public’s disconnect with dairy

CWM-MR-3-County princesses 2by Steve Wagner
Sometimes writing up the Dairy Princess Coronation, which is a kind of milky nightcap to the All American Dairy Show that closes a week before, is like penning a theatrical review. There is much theater with princess contestants donning costumes and regaling speeches about the virtues of their chosen interest. There is pageantry with formal entrances and fewer formal exits. A keyboardist plays subtle milk cocktail segue music to ease the audience from one segment into another. The event closes with the inauguration of a state dairy princess and two alternates, a trio who will spend much of the remainder of this year and most of the next promoting dairy farming around the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. And of course, there are a plethora of awards and recognitions for contributions above and beyond the call of duty. [Read more…]

The corn is off – now what?

CEWM-MR-2-Corn is off 2by Sally Colby
It’s been an interesting season for growing corn. While some farmers are bringing in record yields, others are lamenting a season that was simply too wet and cool. Once the ground is bare, what’s next? Some fields in which silage corn was grown will be planted immediately with a winter cover crop, but it isn’t too early to consider what the field will be used for the following spring.
“Alternative cover crops offer opportunities to diversify crop rotation systems,” said Charlie White, Penn State extension associate in sustainable agriculture. “These cover crops are planted later in the season — late summer after small grain harvest.” Another option is to harvest a winter cover crop and allow a legume more time to fix nitrogen, or to have an earlier planting date for cover crops in the fall to get them well-established.
Less common species such as sorghum sudangrass, cowpeas and radish afford more diversity in a crop rotation. In many cases, seed for some of the alternative cover crops costs less so there’s a higher economic return on marginal land. These forage crops are often more heat and drought tolerant, so they’re suitable for ground where corn silage hasn’t done well. [Read more…]

Holistic management: land, people and profit

CEW-MR-2-Holistic manag#175by Tamara Scully
Holistic Management International is a 501c-3 nonprofit organization, based in New Mexico. HMI is focused on improving farm sustainability via a management training program which addresses environmental, economic, and social issues on the farm.
Recently, staff from the New Mexico office, along with several New York-based certified HMI educators and local grazing experts, gathered to lead three dozen participants on a workshop tour of Creekside Meadows Farm, in DeRuyter, NY.
Holistic Management planning
Erica Frenay, a certified HMI educator, farmer, and coordinator of the Cornell Small Farms Northeast Beginning Farmer Program, explained how Holistic Management can “create a foundation to set our farm up for success in the long-term.” [Read more…]