Kirby Dygert of K-D Livestock hosted a Club Lamb board sale at her farm in Elma, NY on April 13. Lambs born in the February and March were just the right size and age for the 4-H’ers and young showmen and show ladies for their upcoming shows and fairs this year. Continue reading
In 1992, surrounded by English Cotswold sheep, a city girl found her calling. Dr. Robyn Metcalfe did not grow up on a farm, but found her passion was preserving heritage livestock. She shared the story of her family’s efforts at Kelmscott Rare Animal Farm as part of the ongoing lecture series at Swiss Village Foundation in Newport, RI.
A few hundred years ago, farms across England raised Cotswold sheep for wool, Gloucestershire Old Spots pigs for meat and lard, Black Jersey Giant chickens for eggs and meat and Kerry cows for butter, cheese and milk. Before tractors, every farm had at least one English Shire horse for plowing, cultivation and transportation. These days, most farmers seek more efficient and cost-effective livestock, and many heritage breeds are nearing extinction. Continue reading
Maribeth Ritchie of Sangha Farm in Plainfield, MA makes goat cheese: chevre, feta, brie, St. Jerome, cheddar and Trappist, plus more. Feta sells so quickly she can’t keep it in stock at the Western Massachusetts stores where she and her husband, Derek Ritchie, deliver it.
In 2000, they raised and sold organic vegetables in Maine at their Sangha Farm, then relocated to Ashfield, MA, renting a 1670 house and land, growing organic vegetables under animal power — two oxen purchased at 48 hours old, Moses and Abraham. That was 2004. Continue reading
For farmers who’ve been watching wildlife activity on pastures or hayfields during the past 10 years, a decline in the number of grassland birds won’t come as much of a surprise. For those who’ve been watching for the past 40 years, the change is even more significant. Grassland birds — bobolinks, Savannah sparrows, Eastern meadowlarks and others — have suffered a decline of 75 percent over the last four decades. At that rate, they will soon be extinct. Unless something changes. Continue reading