The Honorable Russell Redding, PA Secretary of Agriculture was officially welcomed at the PA FFA Association 28th State Legislative Breakfast where he was the keynote speaker. His appearance at this gathering afforded Redding the opportunity to meet and greet lawmakers and farm association leaders, as well as executive vice presidents, many of whom he has worked with before. Five years ago, Redding served for a year as Ag Sec, filling out the term of Secretary Dennis Wolff, who wanted to return to farming and international agricultural genetics. After that year of service, Redding became Dean of Agriculture at Delaware Valley College. “The best thing was stepping back from the department, being tested by students on what it is that this industry can offer, where there are opportunities and bring that back,” he said, adding “It gave me a fresh perspective to look at the job as Secretary and the industry that I am so honored to represent.” [Read more…]
by Katie Navarra
Leanne Pundt, Extension Educator for University of Connecticut at the Litchfield County Extension Center, shared strategies for biologically controlling pests common to herb and vegetable bedding plants during the annual Bedding Plant/Nurseryman’s Education Day and Tradeshow.
A variety of “good” bugs can be used to control “bad” bugs in a greenhouse to limit the need for chemical pesticides and reduce crop loss. There are several types of pests that can be used as part of a biological control program. Learning about each beneficial pest and subspecies is critical to success. [Read more…]
by Elizabeth A. Tomlin
In a press conference with NY Farm Bureau President Dean Norton, farmers presented their concerns about the impact raising the minimum wage will have in agriculture.
Expecting farmers to pay more to employees will mean even less income for farmers and cause a greater disadvantage in competing with ag products being imported from other states where production costs are less.
“The choices become very dark and very serious for everyone that is milking cows and farming in New York,” said Sandie Prokop of Crossbrook Farm in Schoharie County. Crossbrook is a multi-generation dairy farm, milking 375 and is still recovering from the effects of tropical storms Irene and Lee, which left the farm stranded for 11 days and caused $500,000 in damage. [Read more…]
VERONA, NY — There’s no doubt the Future Farmers of America chapter at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill Central School is a student group.
It’s also highly successful, winning recognition as the best FFA chapter in the state four of the last six years, according to the club’s adviser and VVS agriculture teacher, Keith Schiebel.
It takes an actual visit to the school in Oneida County during its annual maple syrup weekend, to realize this is also a thriving business. [Read more…]
CLINTON, NY — Mark and Kristin Kimball of Essex Farm in northern New York think of themselves as more than farmers. They’re also educators, environmentalists, community activists, and mentors to the next generation of farmers. They have already succeeded in helping new farms become established, as they did with Matt Volz of Greyrock Farm in Cazenovia, NY.
Volz and his partner, Gillian Goldberg, showed up at the Kimballs’ lecture at Hamilton College with a Swiss calf to share one small aspect of farming with the students and the public. [Read more…]
Today’s conventional dairy farmer is more likely to use his land for producing grass, corn, soybeans and other feed crops for his cows than to use the land for grazing. Likewise, today’s dairy cow is more likely to consume its calories and meet nutritional needs from a total mixed ration (TMR) than from pasture grazing.
TMRs provide an efficient, nutritionally balanced and measured means of providing the dairy herd with food designed to meet their specific needs, thereby increasing milk output and components. A mixture of forages and grains, along with protein and mineral supplements, TMRs — when done properly — offer a homogenous feed supply with a known nutritional content. [Read more…]
RICHMOND, VT — Gov. Peter Shumlin kicked off Vermont’s 2015 maple sugar season, officially tapping a tree at Slopeside Syrup, in Richmond. The Governor was joined by Vermont Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross and students from Richmond Elementary, who tap trees at Slopeside as part of their “farm to school” curriculum.
Slopeside Syrup is located on the grounds of Cochran’s Ski Area, a not-for-profit ski center founded in 1961 by Mickey and Ginny Cochran. The sugaring operation was established in 2011 by four of Mickey and Ginny’s grandchildren: Jim Cochran, Tim Kelley, and Roger and Douglas Brown. “For more than 50 years, Vermont’s young people have come to Cochran’s to learn how to ski,” said Gov. Shumlin. “Today, they are learning another essential Vermont skill…sugar-making!” [Read more…]
Spring has officially sprung but the snow is still two feet deep at Laughing Dog Farm in Gill, MA. Danny Botkin owns the nine-acre farm with his wife Divya Shinn, a registered nurse. Danny started keeping goats in 1998 and up until a year ago, had a herd of 22. He started with a Nubian that birthed twins the first winter, bred them to different bucks over a decade, then back to Nubians in the last three years, resulting in a versatile, mixed-breed, jokingly called “Albopien”: Nubians, for richest milk; Boers, stockiest meat animal, Alpines, super hardy; Saanen, champion milk producer, stocky enough to “make good meat if we chose to butcher.” Each of the 130 goats born at the farm is beloved, receiving unique names from Hindu derivation to Disney characters. [Read more…]