Delivering cheese from a dynamic herd

CW-MR-2-Muranda Cheese50by Sally Colby
With high volatility in the agricultural industry, not everyone is willing to start farming from scratch. But that’s what Tom Murray and his wife Nancy did. They borrowed money for their Waterloo, NY farm and bought cattle they could afford. Although they weren’t able to obtain top-quality cows in the beginning, they eventually purchased High-Sights Cleitus Lulu, who became the dam of Muranda Oscar Lucinda — a cow that set the world record for milk production.
That was in 1991, and Murray says that it was Lulu who put Muranda Holsteins on the map. “She was one of a few registered Holsteins,” said Murray, adding that grade cows were purchased to fill the barn. “That triggered the start of our interest in genetic marketing and cow families, and it blossomed from there.”
The Murrays used revenue from early genetic marketing to purchase more cattle, aiming to acquire cattle with deep pedigrees. At a 1998 dispersal sale, the Murrays purchased Beachlawn L Lilly, who became the matron for a significant cow family. Lilly has produced numerous offspring by [Read more…]

Full-time mom, part-time farmer

CN-MR-3-Full time mom 3by Jane Primerano
If you’re heading north on Route 25 along the Connecticut River, you will pass through the hamlet of East Corinth. You may not notice, since the General Store is identical to other barn-red stores in the Upper Valley to the east of Vermont’s Green Mountains.
On Memorial Day weekend, making a right turn at the store took travelers to a tomato plant sale at Spring Chicken Farm and Knock on Wood Sawworks, the businesses of Betsy and Nick Zanstra.
Betsy starts the plants inside and in handmade frames but vegetables are not her primary interest as a farmer.
She did have a small CSA, but then, “I did a lot of soul-searching about the business,” she said, “the logistics of doing vegetables with a small child [Read more…]

Baffoni’s Poultry Farm

by Melody Reynolds
A true New England family farm, Baffoni’s Poultry is a third generation poultry farm. The family works long hours and days to provide the public with the freshest poultry and eggs possible.
Donald Baffoni has a passion for his birds. “The well kept coops and care that is given to the birds during their life at the farm results in a better quality meat,” he states.
Chicks arrive at the farm at just a day old. These soon-to-be laying hens are housed in a two story, well-lit heated barn. The chicks move freely about racing from one side to the other as if playing a game of tag. A long feeder in the center provides an all-day buffet.
When the birds have fully feathered out they are moved to another barn to continue growing. In only 21 weeks from hatching, the birds are full grown [Read more…]

White Coal Experimental Farm

CN TE-RP-3-White Coal 3by Joe Parzych
The experimental White Coal Farm was owned by the Turners Falls Company. This corporation was founded by Alvah Crocker, who also founded Turners Falls, a village in the town of Montague, MA. Crocker used the term “White Coal” in reference to cheap water power produced by the power canal by the Turners Falls Dam. It may also have referred to the pumping of irrigation water using the flow of water through a penstock to power a water ram.
Crocker saw opportunities at every turn. A shaker and a mover, he began working in a paper mill in Fitchburg as a young man, and soon bought the mill, eventually buying several others, as well. He became president of the Boston & Fitchburg Rail Road, was active in politics as both a representative and a senator at state and federal levels. He not only founded the Turners Falls Company in 1868, and the village of Turners Falls, [Read more…]

Grazing livestock

CeWN-MR-1-Grazingby Katie Navarra
Grazing livestock have the potential to maximize or exceed their daily intake requirements ultimately leading to increased production than if fed stored forages.
“Well-managed pastures are generally higher in quality than any other forage,” Karen Hoffman, Resource Conversationalist with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, said. Livestock allowed to graze consume the plant when it is in the vegetative stage of growth before it sends out a seed head.
“The plant will be lower in fiber, which means it is more easily digested by the animal, with the help of bacteria in the rumen of the animals that have one,” she added. Pastures also tend to be higher in protein and energy than other forages due to the stage of plant growth. Furthermore, [Read more…]