2013 Herkimer County Family Day at the Farm attracts whole families

CE-MR-3-Herkimer Family4by Elizabeth A. Tomlin
There was something for everyone at the 4th annual Herkimer County Family Day at the Farm on Aug. 24.
Children of all ages participated in pedal tractor races, sack races, egg and spoon races, Hula-Hoop contests and tug-of-war contests. Farrier demonstrations, many different vendors, and a cow-milking contest drew large audiences and everyone was delighted to test the varieties of milk shakes for the milk shake contest.
The event, which was hosted by Raycliff Quarter Horse Farm’s Ray Hulten and Judy Mijares with help from the town of Manheim, Herkimer County Dairy Promotion, Herkimer County Farm Bureau and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Herkimer County, attracted a large crowd — even though it had been moved from October to August.
“We just had to get out of that cold wet weather,” said Hulten, who has been hosting the county event for the past four years.
The free family event attracts Amish as well as “English” and Hulten says he likes the idea of the two groups mingling and relaxing together. [Read more…]

Washington County Fair draws crowds

CN-MR-4-Washington county 1by Sanne Kure-Jensen
The Washington County Fair educates young people, builds their confidence and teaches leadership skills through the various 4-H, FFA, and Scout programs and competitions. Livestock competition classes included sheep, beef, dairy, goat, rabbit and poultry. A dog show was held on Sunday, Aug. 18.
Many successful livestock competitors go on to the Big E (Eastern States Exposition) held each September in West Springfield, MA. Learn more on this event at www.thebige.com/fair [Read more…]

Implementing forested buffers in a rotational grazing system

CM-MR-1-Forested buffers710by Tamara Scully
The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture recently hosted a field day, designed to introduce area farmers to the use of forested riparian buffers and other conservation practices. The event was held at Forks Farm Market in Orangeville, PA, an 85 acre diverse livestock farm, located in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Susan Beal, DVM, ag science advisor and interim farm based education coordinator for PASA, moderated the event, which featured pasture walks, slideshow presentations and group discussions.
Farmers John and Todd Hopkins have been grazing cows on their farm since 1985. After initially running as a cow/calf operation and selling to a sales barn, they realized that making a profit was going to require a change in business planning.
Today, they raise and direct market about 50 head of cattle, 60 hogs, 3500 chicken, several hundred turkey and lambs, all in pastured, rotational grazing systems, both on the home farm, on rented property, and in partnership with other area farmers. The beef and lamb are 100 percent grass-fed, the livestock is pastured year-round, the poultry is out in the fields, free-ranging in large paddocks, and all are moved frequently to fresh pasture, in an intensively managed grazing system which includes silvopasturing practices. [Read more…]

The Immigrant Farmer

CEW-MR-3-The Immigrant 1by Emily Enger

If you thought the romantic notion of traveling to America to herd cattle was dated to black and white John Wayne films, you would be wrong. At least, Robert Groom has lived in a way to defy such concern. True, he isn’t guiding cattle trains along the Rio Grande, but a slight European accent tells folks that for him, America remains the land of dreams.

Groom comes from a long line of tenant farmers, men who rented acreage and therefore made attachments with the industry and way of life more than the  location. Men unafraid of going new places to get what they wanted. “When my grandfather bought his farm in England, it was 30 miles from his home and everyone thought he was moving to the ends of the earth,” Groom laughs. “Then my father bought his farm in Scotland, which was 320 miles away and everyone, again, thought it was the ends of the earth.”

Apparently, the gene runs in the family. Groom settled in Upstate New York, 3,000 miles away from home. His sister bought a farm in New Zealand, 12,000 miles away. The running family motto, according to Groom, is: “Farming poorly on three continents and two hemispheres.” [Read more…]

Bee wellness

CEW-MR-2-Bee wellness970Submitted by Katie Navarra
Beekeeping is a challenging vocation; recognizing and diagnosing honeybee disease is important to maintaining healthy bee hives and beekeepers have a responsibility to understand basic bee biology as well as have the ability to recognize the diseases that can afflict honey bees.
For the second consecutive year, the NY Bee Wellness Workshops offered in conjunction with the Empire State Honey Producers Association (ESHPA.org) have offered intensive, two-day workshops covering basic beekeeping skills and hands-on demonstrations.
Led by a team of nine bee experts with the workshops are designed to explain how to identify and treat the diseases that most commonly afflict honey bees. Diseases such as varroa mites, a parasite; nosema — an intestinal fungal type disease and the American Foul Brood, which is a highly contagious spore forming disease, this is a reportable disease with no true cure, all threaten the wellbeing of honey bees.
The workshops are designed, “to teach beekeepers techniques in diagnosing, treating, and preventing honey bee diseases,” Pat Bono, Project Director, NY Bee Wellness Workshops.
The workshops are funded in part by USDA NIFA Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program grant with matching funds from the Empire State Honey Producers Association. The wellness workshops are part of a three year train-the-trainer project. [Read more…]