The dozen or more attendees at Penn State Extension’s New Organic Vegetable Producers class — the second class in an ongoing series of five spring and four fall classes offered in the Lehigh Valley — were playing games. In this case, it was a game of “Insect Jeopardy,” designed to insure that they will know if crops are in jeopardy from insect attacks, what to do to prevent pest problems, and how to treat them. [Read more…]
by Mary C. Gruszka
Running a successful farm business relies not only on technical skills in the field, but increasingly on internet and computer skills, as well as promotion and marketing savvy.
To help farmers and farmers markets increase their web presence and skills to better promote their operations, the Farmers Market Federation of New York launched a new website development program. [Read more…]
By Mary C. Gruszka
Genetic engineering and genetically modified organisms can be controversial subjects. Growers often have to field questions about GMOs from concerned consumers, and it can be challenging to clearly explain what they are and how they differ from traditional cross-breeding.
So it was timely that the keynote speaker at the recent Empire State Producers Expo in Syracuse, Dr. Margaret Smith, Pant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University, presented a clear and concise overview of genetic engineering (GE), a comparison with traditional plan breeding, commonly grown GE crops, a review of scientific studies on the impact of GE crops and safety, and what to expect in the future. [Read more…]
For years the critical question of antibiotic resistant bacteria and it’s relationship to the health and welfare of the general population has been debated and discussed at a variety of levels. Now the question has reached the highest level of government prompting President Barak Obama to issue an Executive Order to thoroughly study the problem. This order would appear to signal a significant shift in the thinking of those who have long been involved in studying the problem. For decades the addition of antibiotics to animal feed has been an accepted practice defended by animal scientists as having little or no impact on the possibility of antibiotic resistance. [Read more…]
When Dan and Susan Gibson purchased a farm in Hudson, NY, it wasn’t their intent to operate it as a working farm.
“We weren’t farmers, said their son Keith Gibson. “We used it as a place to ride our four-wheelers.” The family started to attend livestock auctions, and eventually purchased cattle. “If you have five animals, it’s fun. If you have 10, it’s still fun. If you have 20, it’s work, and if there are 20, we figured we’d better make it 100 and do something with them.” [Read more…]