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…]

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…]