Red Gate Farm

CN-MR-3-Red Gate 2by Laura Rodley
Sometimes a farm’s buildings and land constitute its backbone, maintaining its taproot even while it no longer functions as a farm. A farm purchased in 1870 by the Williams family in Buckland, MA, with its landmark red barn, was actively farmed by the late Francis and Harry Williams until the 1960s. Changing hands several times, locals still called it Williams Farm.

The farm was exactly what Ben Murray, then a Northampton, MA resident, visualized and searched out for two years, as his vision of a perfect teaching farm. During those two years, he formed the non-profit Kistner Foundation Inc., named in honor of his grandmother, with four others making a Board of Directors: his father Ted Murray, Buckland residents Peter Kitchell and Melissa Letourneau, and Louise Smith of Montague. [Read more…]

Joe Courtney visits Woodstock

CN-MR-2-Joe Courtney 1by George Looby, DVM

At the invitation of the Woodstock, CT Agricultural Commission, Congressman Joe Courtney (D) Second Congressional District met with members of the Commission and interested citizens to give them an update on the status of the Farm Bill as it works its way through Congress. It is interesting to note that the congressman is the first congressman from Connecticut to serve on that committee since the early years of the last century. From a national perspective New England agriculture is not highly regarded as a viable entity by some of those serving at the higher levels of the USDA as well as those in the halls of Congress, so having a person like Joe Courtney as an advocate is an invaluable asset. [Read more…]

A new and beginning farmers workshop

CN-MR-1-Beginning farmers3by George Looby, DVM
Since its inception, the Agvocate Program in northeastern Connecticut has introduced many new concepts and innovations to assist the farmers located in the Quiet Corner. A program is now being developed to provide young farmers with several forms of assistance that will enable them to start businesses of their own. On Thursday Nov. 23, the Agvocate Program sponsored a workshop, hosted by Chairman John Guszkowski, designed to give the several participating towns some ideas as to how best to initiate such programs in their own communities.

[Read more…]

Keith Tuck increases profitability with managed grazing

CM-MR-2-Keith Tuck 1by Karl H. Kazaks
MONETA, VA — The forecast was predicting winter weather — a mix of rain, freezing rain, and snow.

Just a few years previously, Keith Tuck would have been girding himself to brave the weather, to go out and spend two hours feeding hay — each and every day until the weather passed, and then continuing each and every day until April, when the grass started to grow again.

This time, Tuck planned to move the temporary electric fence that allows him to strip-graze stockpiled forage (mostly fescue with some clover).

“I can move the fence in 30 minutes by myself,” Tuck said. His plan was to move the fence before the weather hit. [Read more…]

University hosts panel discussion on GMOs in the food system

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAby Tamara Scully
The University of Maine at Machias recently held a panel discussion on genetically modified foods, as a part of its ongoing “Food and Community” series of events. Panelists for the discussion were: Maine organic farmer Jim Gerritsen, president of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association; John Jemison, water quality and soil specialist with University of Maine Cooperative Extension; Eric Jones, assistant professor of plant biology at University of Maine at Machias; and Andrei Alyokhin, professor and graduate coordinator with University of Maine’s School of Biology and Ecology. The panel briefly introduced their views on genetic engineering and its use in our food system, and then answered questions from the audience. [Read more…]