Kerwin Kunath tests silvopasture in southside Virginia

CM-MR-2-Kerwin Kunath 2by Karl H. Kazaks

DRAKES BRANCH, VA — Kerwin Kunath has kept cattle and grown and managed timber all his life. It was only three years ago, however, that he decided to combine the two endeavors and start practicing silvopasture.

Kunath — who raises registered Charolais as well as commercial Charolais-Angus crosses and Cheviots — started with an 18 acre stand of loblolly pines near his home here in Charlotte County.

The trees were about 27 years old and had just been thinned from about 200 trees per acre to 60 trees per acre, with most of the trees taken for chip-n-saw and a few for pulpwood. The original plantation of 600 trees had been thinned to 200 trees at age 20, with most of the harvest at that time going to pulpwood and a few to chip-n-saw. [Read more…]

NYFB delegates vote efficiently on strategic issues at statewide conference

CEW-MR-2-NYFB delegates247by Pat Malin

SYRACUSE, NY — If the U.S. Congress really wanted to get its act together, it should take a page from the New York State Farm Bureau playbook.

“This is true democracy at work,” Farm Bureau president Dean Norton commented as he chatted with fellow farmers from upstate New York during the Farm Bureau’s annual statewide conference, which was held at Holiday Inn in Liverpool, on Dec. 3-5.

Norton, a dairy farmer and livestock owner from Elba in western New York, gave his annual address on Dec. 4 to about 400 delegates from all 62 counties. “What makes our organization so strong comes from you,” he said. [Read more…]

Lending a hand to youth in the sheep industry

CEW-MR-2-Clarkshire Farms7869by Sally Colby

Although living on a farm is an advantage for young people who are interested in activities such as 4-H and FFA, it’s harder for non-farm youngsters to participate — unless someone provides an opportunity.
John and Pat Clark have provided that opportunity for youth in their area. After raising their two daughters on their Mohawk, NY, farm, they help other youth who are interested in sheep. [Read more…]

Pacing toward a career

CW-COVERby Sally Colby
Many adults who are involved in the livestock industry can trace their career path back to time spent in agricultural activities such as 4-H and FFA. This is the case for Jennifer Schwab, of North Java, NY, where she and her family have a start-up purebred breeding stock operation specializing in Spotted hogs, or ‘Spots’.

“We’ve had pigs for 4-H since I was 10 years old,” said Schwab. “My brother Kevin and I raised two pigs each year for eight years. “They’re enjoyable to work with. They’re docile, more gentle than the others we’ve had, and they’re very protective moms.” Schwab says that that the first Spot they had was named grand champion at the New York State Fair, and that fueled her interest in the breed.

To promote their growing operation and to learn more about purebred seedstock pigs, Schwab and her family exhibit at numerous shows throughout the year. [Read more…]

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…]