Vermont Governor officially opens maple sugar season at Slopeside Syrup

CN-MR-3-VT GOV-IMG_7610RICHMOND, VT — Gov. Peter Shumlin kicked off Vermont’s 2015 maple sugar season, officially tapping a tree at Slopeside Syrup, in Richmond. The Governor was joined by Vermont Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross and students from Richmond Elementary, who tap trees at Slopeside as part of their “farm to school” curriculum.

Slopeside Syrup is located on the grounds of Cochran’s Ski Area, a not-for-profit ski center founded in 1961 by Mickey and Ginny Cochran. The sugaring operation was established in 2011 by four of Mickey and Ginny’s grandchildren: Jim Cochran, Tim Kelley, and Roger and Douglas Brown. “For more than 50 years, Vermont’s young people have come to Cochran’s to learn how to ski,” said Gov. Shumlin. “Today, they are learning another essential Vermont skill…sugar-making!” [Read more…]

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…]