Love it or leave it? Farmers debate hydrofracking at Farm Bureau Conference

CEW-MR-1-Love it or leave it253by Pat Malin

LIVERPOOL, NY —  Hydraulic fracturing. Also known as “hydrofracking,” it is one word guaranteed to stir up a hornet’s nest of comments.

Whether you live in an urban neighborhood or rural district in the northeastern U.S., you’re sure to have heard about fracking at town, city council and school board meetings, or attended scholarly lectures and viewed certain films and television shows. Upstate New York, in an area roughly from the western border with Canada, including the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier east to the capital district, is home to several large natural gas deposits.

Hydrofracking is the process of injecting liquids, water and chemicals at high pressure into the ground to fracture shale rock. In addition, the region’s proximity to Pennysylvania and Ohio, where fracking is a large-scale, and some say profitable industry, brings the topic to mind more often. [Read more…]

Median grazing: Crazy enough to work?

CEW-MR-1-Grazing mediansby Troy Bishopp, The Grass Whisperer

I’m pleased The New York Times released an op-ed piece titled, Keep Farmland for Farmers, poignantly written by Hudson Valley Farmers, Lindsey Lusher Shute and Benjamin Shute which chronicles the plight of finding land and making a go of it beyond the boroughs of New York City. In it they reveal that one-quarter of the land trusts that oversee conservation easements have seen protected land go out of production. Why? A non-farmer had bought it. [Read more…]

Perfection: Belted Galloway, dairy sheep and cheese

CE-MR-2-Meadowood Farms1by Tamara Scully

Award winning Belted Galloway cattle and award-winning sheep’s milk cheese can be found on the same farm in Cazenovia, NY. But there’s no competition on the farm: both the sheep and cattle are thriving, providing milk, meat and superior genetics in a finely-tuned, integrated system. The farm, owned by Marc Shappell and Tom Anderson, is managed by Fiona Harrar and Seth Hanauer. [Read more…]

Year-round lambing with planned crossbreds

CN-MR-3-Year round 1by Sally Colby

It isn’t easy to supply large amounts of fresh lamb year-round, but North Star Sheep Farm is doing just that. With about 825 ewes on four farms and a carefully planned breeding schedule, North Star is providing lamb to Whole Foods and New England chefs.

“We were born into it and it’s part of our lives,” said Lisa Webster, explaining that she and her husband Phil are fourth and fifth generation sheep farmers. “The farm we live on has been continually in use for the past 300 years.” [Read more…]

Equine Affaire 2013

CN-MR-3-Equine Affaire 1by George Looby, DVM

For four days in November the center of the horse world in the northeast was located on the grounds of the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, MA. From Nov. 7-10 the horse and its equine cousins held center stage as thousands of spectators attended demonstrations and lectures, visited vendors, and spent an evening watching a coliseum show featuring the horse.

Health and wellness issues were covered by several traditional veterinary clinics. For those owners whose animals might be in need of longer post-surgical treatment, there were facilities offering physical therapy and rehabilitation. There were booths devoted to the whole range of ointments, salves and powders that might be used in the treatment of the usual run of nick, cuts and bruises that any horse owner might expect from his/her animal. [Read more…]