Kicking the proverbial can down the road

CM-MR-3-KICKING-CAN_03861by Steve Wagner

Pennsylvania “has a lot of open space,” said Governor Tom Wolf to a legislative lunch audience at the Harrisburg Hilton Hotel. Ten weeks into his term, this was his first agricultural exposure since becoming the commonwealth’s chief executive. “We have a unique geography,” the Governor added, reminding those in attendance that they are located smack-dab in the middle of the richest market possibly in the world. With several metropolitan markets like New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Washington D.C. in close proximity, the Governor said “There is no other place in the world that can say this, in the 1700s, Pennsylvania was the breadbasket of the colonies and that was no accident.” [Read more…]

Identifying mastitis

CEW-MR-2-MASTITIS01701by Steve Wagner

Mastitis is the most common disease affecting dairy cattle. “Preventing mastitis is certainly important but identifying it is equally important,” said Ernest Hovingh, DVM/PhD, a highly visible presence at ag gatherings, he averages about 100 presentations a year, often more. His original topic at the 2015 Lebanon Dairy & Crops Compliance Day was ‘Objectively Investigating Milk Quality Issues’, but mastitis took front and center. After identifying mastitis, he says, “it must be properly managed.” Hovingh opened with a Socratic questioning method, wanting to know from attendees if they could tell from varied slides “whether or not this cow has mastitis”; if not, what could it be? [Read more…]

Veterans: Beginning farmer education

CW-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.

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Promoting native bee pollinators in organic farming systems

by Katie Navarra

Honey bees are the most widely known pollinator species. However, recent research shows there are numerous pollinator species and that the more diverse the species the increased pollination benefits. “There are thousands of bee species, some are solitary, some nest in the ground, others in twigs and trees,” explained David Crowder, Assistant Professor of Entomology at Washington State University.

During an eOrganic webinar, Crowder and Elias Bloom, a Ph.D. student in Entomology working in Crowder’s lab, discussed the diversity of native bees in farming systems and the roles they may play in supplement or replacing honey bees for pollination services. [Read more…]

Stay safe when handling sheep

CM-MR-2-Stay-safe625by Sally Colby

It’s hard to imagine that sheep dotting a green pasture could cause any harm, but there are plenty of ways to become injured while working with sheep. It’s important to understand the basics of how and why sheep move the way they do to prevent injuries to both humans and animals. Any time a sheep is separated from its group is an opportunity for injury to the handler or the sheep.

[Read more…]