Kept in the loop

CN-MR-2-LAUGHING-DOG-008by Laura Rodley

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…]

Connecticut’s Outstanding Young Farmer of 2015

CN-GO-AE-MR-2-CT FARMERby George Looby, DVM

Each year the Connecticut Agricultural Information Council chooses a young farmer as the State’s Outstanding Young Farmer. The Connecticut Agricultural Information Council is a non-profit coalition of state farming groups located in Storrs, CT which functions to evaluate, nominate and select recipients of selected agricultural awards presented annually at agricultural events held throughout the year. One of these is the Outstanding Young Farmer Award. Others awards include Ag. Journalism, the Century Farm award and selection of Connecticut Century Farms. To be considered for this award applicants must be between the ages of 21 and 40 and derive at least two-thirds of their income from farming. This award is presented at the State Capitol at the annual Ag Day event. [Read more…]

Retail Farm Market School

CM-MR-3-RETAIL-FARM_0306by Steve Wagner

“Fruit and vegetable produce are living, breathing organisms,” says Penn State Extension Educator John Berry, adding, “We do not handle produce like a baby kitten; we are very rough with our produce.” Berry is largely responsible for the course he teaches, called Retail Farm Market School. The day-long seminar held at Yoder’s Farm Market in New Holland PA, offered insights to crisping and trimming, sanitation, food safety, food borne illness and handling produce. Attending this workshop were several people who were already in the business of farm marketing and were looking for ways to upgrade their operations; others came who were thinking about getting into it. [Read more…]

Bedded pack barn management one of many topics at VA’s 2015 area dairy conferences

CM-MR-2-VA-FARM-CON-1by Karl H. Kazaks

MARION, VA — Virginia Extension recently hosted its 2015 Area Dairy Conference at five locations around the Old Dominion: in Amelia, Dayton, Brandy Station, Rocky Mount and Marion. The program varied at each location, with topics addressed including management strategies to endure adverse scenarios, an update on Virginia Tech’s Kentland Farm, calf auto-feeder management, and an update on the Southeast Quality Milk Initiative. [Read more…]

Soil fertility: getting it right

by Tamara Scully

“Feed the soil to help feed the crops that you want to grow,” Neil Kinsey, soil fertility specialist, advised. “If you just put down what the plants need, you aren’t feeding the soil.”

Feeding the plants does not feed the soil. Growing plants remove essential elements from the soil. If those elements aren’t replaced, and aren’t in balance, then soil fertility is compromised, and crop health and yields will be impacted, Kinsey cautioned.

Just getting the pH right is not nearly enough. The result of the interactions of soil chemistry is pH, and a target pH can be achieved even when the chemistry is out of balance. But when the chemistry is unbalanced, important elements are not available to the plants. [Read more…]