Training the Trainers, an Agvocate workshop

by George Looby, DVM
A program has been developed in northeastern Connecticut to encourage, foster and develop agricultural activities of all types. From its modest beginnings it has grown from a program with seven participating towns to over 14 and growing. The Agvocate Program evolved from a grant to the Town of Thompson five years ago and is now a well-defined program that is supportive of agriculture in many ways. The Agvocate Program has been defined as a grassroots program that empowers farmers, citizens and municipal decision makers to leverage partnerships, enact farm-friendly policies and regulations, provide tax incentives and revive the agricultural culture within towns. [Read more…]

Advanced learning and on-farm networking with NAFDMA

C4-MR-3-NAFDMA 3by Emily Enger

They’re farmers. They’re growers. They’re businesspeople. They’re entertainers. When your job includes doing everything, often the vocabulary at your disposal is limiting. So now, they’re writers, as well, having coined a new term to describe what they do.

“We’re trying to train ourselves to say ‘entrepeneurial farmers,’” explained NAFDMA’s Director of Membership and Resources Virginia Schwarzenbach.

These newly-dubbed ‘entrepeneurial farmers’ make up the membership of the North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association (NAFDMA), a 501(c)3 Membership Association reaching throughout the United States and Canada. And when these busy folks are in the so-called “off-season” — the petting farms and corn mazes are shut down and the orchard is under frost — they get together for a lengthy, indepth, six day annual convention. This year it was held Jan. 31-Feb. 5 in Kansas City, MO and was titled “Makin’ Hey in the Heartland.” [Read more…]

The 2nd Annual Northeast Silvopasture Conference inspires optimization

CEW-MR-2-Northeast silvopasture1by Troy Bishopp

LATHAM, NY — When Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources District Forester and Organic Farmer, Roy Brubaker presented the case for expanding silvopastures in the Northeast to a capacity crowd of farmers, foresters and agency professionals, he drew inspiration from Sir Alfred North Whitehead who said, “Nature doesn’t maximize, nature optimizes.” [Read more…]

Maine Agricultural Trades Show on farmers markets

by Terry Lynn Colligan
On Jan. 8, at the annual Maine Agricultural Trades show, Hanne Tierney of Cornerstone Farm in Palmyra, gave attendees an overview of her experiences being involved in four of Maine’s farmers markets.

Tierney said picking the markets that worked for their farm was, “a little like picking a tractor — little one, big one…” until she got the market that just worked well for their farm. [Read more…]

Farm Bill reforms please Upstate NY farmers and businesses

CEW-MR-1-Farm Bill Reforms1by Pat Malin

ONEIDA, NY — Stability. That one word was on everyone’s lips during a recent discussion of the 2014 Farm Bill.

Dairy and crop farmers and representatives from the New York Farm Bureau joined U.S. Representative Richard Hanna (R-22) at the HP Hood milk processing plant on Feb. 13 to weigh the impact of the new legislation on Central New York farmers, and they all agreed the five-year bill is an improvement over the previous versions.

“It brings consistency of supply on our end,” said Rick Kovarik, director of operations for the Hood plant, which packages 45 million gallons of milk annually. [Read more…]