The New England Farmers Union (NEFU) was founded in 2006 as a chapter member of the National Farmers Union, an agricultural advocacy organization founded in 1906. With headquarters in Turners Falls, MA, it is a membership organization committed to enhancing the quality of life for family farmers, fishermen, nurserymen and their customers through educational opportunities, co-operative endeavors and civic engagement. The members engage New England elected officials and public agencies to implement and enforce laws and regulations that will strengthen and support New England agriculture and fisheries. Regional legislators look to NEFU for advice and counsel when deciding on how to vote on issues pertaining to the Union’s mission. [Read more…]
by Sanne Kure-Jensen
Rachel Armstrong led an informative webinar on the legal considerations regarding unpaid and compensated volunteers. “Ag. law is incredibly complex,” said Rachel Armstrong, lawyer and former grower. Farmers should carefully distinguish between a volunteer and employee. A volunteer must not displace a regularly paid employee doing similar work. The largest volunteer risk is injury. Volunteers often arrive unskilled or untrained in specific farm activities and may not use the same caution as experienced farmers. Armstrong recognizes that consumers everywhere value their connection to the land, wanting to reconnect with the land and with farmers who grow their food. Many farm customers happily volunteer for their favorite farmer. Farmers must manage risks in all aspects of farming. Risk of injury, liability or employment law violations is serious. Accident prevention keeps everyone safe. Armstrong recommended all farmers purchase a Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy for interns, employees, seasonal employees and other farm guests who volunteer for compensation. A commercial policy also ensures coverage for off-farm activities (CSA drop sites) value-added processing, agritoursim, transportation to markets and for distribution, if you sell anyone else’s products. Armstrong also recommends a Farm Liability Insurance (like homeowner’s liability policy). This protects the landowner in case of an accident on the farm property. This is separate from a CGL. Shop around and describe all aspects of your business to potential insurance agents. [Read more…]
With the spring growing season finally upon us, it’s time to consider warm-season forage crops. Forage soybeans are one option to consider. In the early part of the last century, soybeans were grown primarily for forage. Today, of course, they are grown mainly for the oil and protein value of their seed. But soybeans, high in protein and highly palatable, can be harvested for hay or silage. You can use seed varieties of soybeans as forage but you need to consider that some herbicides approved for use in soybeans as a seed crop are not allowed for soybeans as a forage crop. If you’re starting out planting soybeans as forage it makes sense to consider one of the many forage soybeans available on the market due to their greater yield potential. [Read more…]
“We have to manage soil nutrients and irrigation together, because the two are intertwined,” stated Dr. George Hochmuth, Professor at the University of Florida, whose research focuses on developing Best Management Practices for plant nutrient use to protect water quality. “A grower can do a visual demonstration of this simply by injecting blue dye into his irrigation system along one row. Turn on the irrigation and watch where the dye goes.” [Read more…]
The Honorable Russell Redding, PA Secretary of Agriculture was officially welcomed at the PA FFA Association 28th State Legislative Breakfast where he was the keynote speaker. His appearance at this gathering afforded Redding the opportunity to meet and greet lawmakers and farm association leaders, as well as executive vice presidents, many of whom he has worked with before. Five years ago, Redding served for a year as Ag Sec, filling out the term of Secretary Dennis Wolff, who wanted to return to farming and international agricultural genetics. After that year of service, Redding became Dean of Agriculture at Delaware Valley College. “The best thing was stepping back from the department, being tested by students on what it is that this industry can offer, where there are opportunities and bring that back,” he said, adding “It gave me a fresh perspective to look at the job as Secretary and the industry that I am so honored to represent.” [Read more…]
by Katie Navarra
Leanne Pundt, Extension Educator for University of Connecticut at the Litchfield County Extension Center, shared strategies for biologically controlling pests common to herb and vegetable bedding plants during the annual Bedding Plant/Nurseryman’s Education Day and Tradeshow.
A variety of “good” bugs can be used to control “bad” bugs in a greenhouse to limit the need for chemical pesticides and reduce crop loss. There are several types of pests that can be used as part of a biological control program. Learning about each beneficial pest and subspecies is critical to success. [Read more…]
by Elizabeth A. Tomlin
In a press conference with NY Farm Bureau President Dean Norton, farmers presented their concerns about the impact raising the minimum wage will have in agriculture.
Expecting farmers to pay more to employees will mean even less income for farmers and cause a greater disadvantage in competing with ag products being imported from other states where production costs are less.
“The choices become very dark and very serious for everyone that is milking cows and farming in New York,” said Sandie Prokop of Crossbrook Farm in Schoharie County. Crossbrook is a multi-generation dairy farm, milking 375 and is still recovering from the effects of tropical storms Irene and Lee, which left the farm stranded for 11 days and caused $500,000 in damage. [Read more…]
VERONA, NY — There’s no doubt the Future Farmers of America chapter at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill Central School is a student group.
It’s also highly successful, winning recognition as the best FFA chapter in the state four of the last six years, according to the club’s adviser and VVS agriculture teacher, Keith Schiebel.
It takes an actual visit to the school in Oneida County during its annual maple syrup weekend, to realize this is also a thriving business. [Read more…]