Year-round grazing works for North Carolina beef producer

CM-MR-3-Year-round grazing 3by Sally Colby
On a Monday afternoon, V. Mac Baldwin and his wife Peggy are busy filling orders for their premium Charolais beef. They chop blocks of dry ice, line shipping boxes with Styrofoam and check customers’ orders. They select the appropriate cuts of beef, add sufficient dry ice to ensure proper temperature until the box reaches the customer, and fill the spaces with newspaper. After rechecking the order, they seal and weigh the package, then set it aside for pickup by UPS.
The Baldwins, of Yancyville, NC, didn’t start out raising Charolais cattle, but they’re convinced that their choice to switch to the breed was the right thing to do. “We have a good set of genetics, they’re great milkers and they do well on grass,” said Baldwin. “Our customers love the fact that they’re lean cattle — our ground beef is typically 90/10. The cattle grade low choice or high select, and we can do that on grass.” [Read more…]

Halifax County tobacco growers see fertilizer leaching thanks to copious rain

CM-MR-3-Halifax county 3by Karl H. Kazaks
SOUTHWEST HALIFAX COUNTY, VA — Roland Coleman is 67 years old and has been growing tobacco since he was a young boy.
Today he and his brother grow 15 acres of leaf near Alton.
This year, Coleman said, “It’s been kind of rough on us. We had a time.”
The rain came down all spring and summer. “When we were getting the land ready, it was wet,” Coleman said. “When we bedded — and we bedded in a hurry — it was wet. When we planted, it was half wet. When we started pulling, it was wet.”
The precipitation has had an impact on the Coleman’s crop. “We put fertilizer down but it washed off,” he said. He went back and added nitrogen but nonetheless their tobacco plants turned a “right smart yellow.” [Read more…]

Marketing matter at Wallbridge Angus

CEW-MR-2-Wallbridge Farm37A family commitment to sound Angus genetics and farm marketing

by Steven E Smith
Deep in the heart of Angus seed stock country, the Wallbridge Angus herd is going strong today. Known as a respected Angus herd within breeder circles for many years, today the Wallbridge herd is owned and managed by a young family that has taken added steps of bringing their products and customers together.
Wallbridge Angus started when the farm was established by George Wallbridge Perkins in 1950. The Perkins family developed a presence in the Angus breed through careful matings that yielded a internationally recognized results. The Perkins Wallbridge bred the 1968 International Grand Champion Female with Wallbridge Barbara 12 and the 1967 Royal Highland Champion Bull, Great Northern. Wallbridge cattle were recognized in the show ring by the time the family dispersed their herd in the 1981, save a small group of cattle. [Read more…]

Are you an ag advocate?

CEW-MR-1-Ag advocacy925One mother’s realization of how quickly families become removed from the farm
by Steven E Smith
“She is my inspiration,” stated Debbie Lyons-Blythe. Her “inspiration” is a young mother in the Midwest. Instead of being two or four generations removed from production agriculture, Shannon, who is actually an extended family member of Lyons-Blythe, is just a generation removed. “After discussing food purchases with her and realizing how torn she was when considering grocery purchases and whether or not to buy organic or other specialized food, I knew I needed to speak up for agriculture.”
Lyons-Blythe is a spunky, outgoing rancher from the Flint Hills of Kansas. As a speaker at the National Angus Conference, Lyons-Blythe explained to the audience how to become an agricultural advocate through social media. She is a blogger, a tweeter and a Facebooker. “Before you head for the exits, please realize that these technologies are not as intimidating as they may appear. The fastest growing demographic of users of Facebook today are women ages 55 to 60. This is just the beginning and it removes the challenges of time and costly expenses to reach out to people.” [Read more…]

OSHA compliance: What farm businesses need to know

by Katie Navarra
If an OSHA inspector arrived at your farm would you be ready for an inspection?
The number of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspections, particularly on dairy farms in New York, is expected to increase significantly in 2014.
During a webinar cosponsored by Farm Credit East, the Northeast Dairy Producers Association (NEDPA), New York Farm Bureau and Pro-Dairy, experts Dave Schwoerer, a safety specialist and owner of Innovative Safety Systems, and Charles B. Palmer, an attorney with Michael Best & Friedrich, LLP, offered advice to New York farm businesses, especially dairies for preparing for an OSHA inspection. [Read more…]