Small farms — at least successful ones — can’t be stagnant. They need to evolve to meet the needs of their customer base, keep production profitable and grow with the farmer’s changing needs. One such farm, which has continually reassessed its farming model as the farm, the local food community and the family has grown, is Sandiwood Farm in Wolcott, VT. [Read more…]
LYNDONVILLE, VT — The Vermont Beef Producers Association got a tour of the new slaughterhouse and meat processing plant in Lyndonville on Aug. 9. Beef farmers from all over Vermont and some out-of-state farmers got a look at Northeast Kingdom Processing.
The company is owned by Scott Oeschger of Derby. Oeschger also owns Spring Hill Angus, and his farm manager is Bob Butterfield of Barton. That afternoon the beef producers took a tour of the farm. [Read more…]
Local and regional fairs with 4-H and FFA competitions help educate fair visitors about agriculture as well as build competitors’ skills, self-confidence and leadership skills. These competitors and audiences may become be our next generation of farmers and ranchers.
4-H fairs and competitions offer students feedback on their agricultural projects and a chance to compete against their peers. Students face their public speaking fears and hone their presentation skills. Many find financial incentive to improve their skills and knowledge. [Read more…]
COOPERSTOWN, NY — For a pair of millennials, 20-year-old Alicia Hager and her 30-year-old brother, Louis Hager III, have a surprising grasp of their family’s history and how it relates to their own future.
The Hagers hosted a group of hops growers, brewers, consultants and others interested in the beer and beverage industry on a tour of Hager Hops Farm outside Cooperstown on in August. The visit was the fourth and last stop during a field day sponsored by the Northeast Hops Alliance (NeHA) and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Madison County. [Read more…]
Liebe Coolidge of Plainfield, MA has been winning championships with her French Alpine goats for decades as a USDA class C inspected exhibitor. In addition to that, now she and her husband Douglas Premo travel with their business Traveling Hooves to schools, detention center, and fairs with their collection of French Alpine goats, miniature pigs and assorted donkeys to allow children a chance pet the animals. It is a championship of a different sort — forging ties, however brief — between children and animals they might otherwise never have met. [Read more…]
On July 25-27, the UConn Extension New London County 4-H Fair was held in North Stonington, CT. Dairy, beef and goats were the focus of the event, with an open class for working steers. 4-H Assistant Heidi Rechlin of Norwich, CT, was excited to be on-site during the three-day affair. A recent graduate of SUNY Cobleskill with an associate’s degree in agri-business, Heidi was well-prepared. Together, she and Program Coordinator Pamela Gray, of UConn Extension New London County 4-H, planned a remarkable weekend. [Read more…]
This year’s Ag Progress Days (APD), held Aug. 12-14 at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center in Rock Springs, PA, proved to be just as interesting, exciting and educational as always. Despite steady rainfall on Tuesday and brief showers early on Wednesday, “Government Day,” many of the more than 400 exhibitors found that this year’s rainy start didn’t deter farmers from taking advantage of these conditions to come explore the latest in technology and methods. Even with the rain, indoor exhibitors reported a steady stream of activity most of the day on Tuesday. [Read more…]
The classy show stallion in the riding ring was moving its legs at a furious pace, but its steps were so small that the horse itself was hardly moving forward. This is the “fino” gait, performed by show horses of the gaited breed Paso Fino.
The scene was Ag Progress Days in Pennsylvania, and the expert rider and trainer in the saddle was Rick Shaffer, of R&S Paso Finos, Somerset, PA.
“This is strictly for show horses and breeding horses,” he said. “You wouldn’t want a show Paso Fino to take you over a mountain. You wouldn’t get anywhere. It’s the gait of a show horse. But a Paso Fino will give you the smoothest possible ride.” [Read more…]