Vermont finishes fourth in National 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl

CN-RP-1-VTfinishesBURLINGTON, VT — The Vermont 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl Team’s combined knowledge of dairy nutrition, herd health, breeding and genetics, calf raising, dairy marketing and other dairy-related topics resulted in a fourth-place finish in national competition.

The four-member team competed Nov. 7-8 at the 35th annual North American 4-H Invitational Dairy Quiz Bowl in Louisville, KY. The event, which attracted 14 teams from across the country, was held at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center.

Team members included Tara Collins, Fairlee; Maggie Kirby, East Montpelier; Ben Maille, Shelburne; and Andrew Seward, East Wallingford. The team was selected at the state dairy quiz bowl competition sponsored by University of Vermont (UVM) Extension earlier this year. The coaches were 4-H volunteers Sara Kirby, East Montpelier and Kaitlin Benoit, Montgomery Center. [Read more…]

Woodbury FFA members bring home the gold at national competition

CN-MR-3-Nonnewaug3The Woodbury FFA chapter located at Nonnewaug High School recently sent 52 students and graduates to the National FFA Convention in Louisville, KY. During the past school year, the Woodbury FFA members won first place in 11 different state FFA judging contests, an accomplishment that earned them the opportunity to represent the chapter and the state at the national competition. The Woodbury Chapter is the only chapter in the nation, out of more than 7,300 FFA chapters and 620,000 FFA members nationwide, to send 11 teams to national competition from one chapter in the same year.

The Woodbury FFA chapter came home from Kentucky with outstanding results against the nation’s most talented students and teams. [Read more…]

Open house at the New England Meat Packing Company

CN-MR-3-NewEngMeat3by George Looby

There are many operations in southern New England directly related to agriculture that need greater exposure to make their services better known to potential customers. With this in mind, the New England Meat Packing Company, in collaboration with the Connecticut Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D), held an open house on Nov. 13, 2014 to acquaint invited guests with the facility.

Specifically, the occasion was to announce that the operation now enjoys a USDA Certification for Processing to go along with its existing USDA Certification for Slaughtering. [Read more…]

Austin Brothers Valley Farm

CN-MR-3-Austin68xby Laura Rodley

The line “the cattle are lowing” from the Christmas song, “Away in a Manger,” comes to mind while listening to the cattle serenade their owner, Michael Austin, during feeding time at Austin Brothers Valley Farm in Belchertown, MA.

The friendly mix of purebred Simmentals, Black Angus, Limousins and Herefords are grass-fed on 50 acres of pasture and several hundred farm-harvested round bales in winter, plus corn and silage grown on another 35 acres. The farm has five barns, a storage shed and garage.

But the cattle do have to share. During October through Halloween, three and half acres of their cornfield becomes a family-friendly corn maze, which has delighted more than 1,000 adventurers for four years. Some people do get lost, Austin admits, but they find their way out. “I haven’t run anybody over in the field,” he joked. [Read more…]

Everyone is aging

CM-MR-1-Everyone aging 1cby Sally Colby

If your family has had difficult conversations about the ability of an older family member to continue farming safely, the first thing to remember is that everyone starts to age from the time they are born. As a group, farmers are the most rapidly aging workforce in the United States, with an average age of 58 years; compared to the average workforce age of 42.

The problem for farm families is that most farmers simply don’t stop farming.

“Farmers don’t retire,” said Deborah Reed, an ag nurse who specializes in gerontology. “A lot of the generic things that we see as remedies and solutions for the main workforce don’t resonate too well with people as they enter later mid-life. There’s no standard retirement age, no performance evaluation. Farmers say, ‘we work til we drop’ — they work because they like it.” [Read more…]