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…]

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…]