Promoting native bee pollinators in organic farming systems

CM-MR-1-POLLINATORS_55591by Katie Navarra

Honey bees are the most widely known pollinator species. However, recent research shows there are numerous pollinator species and that the more diverse the species the increased pollination benefits. “There are thousands of bee species, some are solitary, some nest in the ground, others in twigs and trees,” explained David Crowder, Assistant Professor of Entomology at Washington State University. [Read more…]

Bruce Button receives Dilworth Award

CN-MR-1-Bruce-Button1During the recent Best of NAMA (National Agri-Marketing Association) awards banquet, held in Kansas City, MO, Bruce Button, Vice President and General Manager of Lee Publications, Palatine Bridge, NY, received the prestigious Dilworth Award.

The Dilworth Award for Innovation honors true originality in volunteer efforts by an individual or chapter. Bruce worked single-handedly for over five years to see that a student chapter was started at the State University of New York, Cobleskill. The student chapter has gotten off to a great start with his guidance. They attended their first NAMA convention, participating in the Student Marketing Competition. [Read more…]

Drainage affects manure management

CM-MN-MR-2-Drainage-affects50921by Sally Colby

No one has to tell a farmer that poorly drained soils are a problem throughout many regions of the United States, and can have significant negative impact on crop production.

“Poorly drained soils mean poor crops,” said Dr. Jeff Strock, University of Minnesota. “If we can get good drainage it can help remove excess water from the root zone of growing plants.” [Read more…]

Rotational grazing for maximum fertility and soil health

CEW-MR-2-ROTATIONAL-GRAZING_18312by Sanne Kure-Jensen

Farmers have understood for centuries that animal manure helps return vital nutrients to crop fields. Many farmers pull mechanical spreaders behind fossil fuel-burning tractors to move manure into fields, but at Polyface farm, livestock spread their own manure. Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley advocates rotational grazing; they blend livestock and pasture species to puzzle pests.

Well managed grazing concentrates livestock in one area for a short period and then move them on. At Polyface farm, portable electric fences contain grazing beef herds. Farmers move the fences and livestock daily. Salatin said his animals look forward to their fresh “salad bar” each morning. The cattle graze forage at a sustainable level. They trample their manure patties ensuring good soil contact and starting the decomposition process. [Read more…]

Animal aeration

CEW-MR-1-Animal-aeration12by Troy Bishopp

Have you ever had a dream so vivid it woke you from a sound sleep? Two weeks ago, it seems I fell prey to dreaming of green pastures, fence moves and frolicking cows. This joyful trance was rudely interrupted by a loud “MOO”. It was the kind of sound that suggests it’s a bit too real. This was not a dream, but what we affectionately call, “A class one farm emergency.”

As I bolted from the confines of a comfortable bed in unison with the “The cows are out” declaration, I saw several heifers munching on my wife’s shrubs under our window. Confusion, panic and anger swept over my demeanor as my wife, daughter and I tried to find some appropriate cow-catching attire at 4 a.m. My mind and heart raced as I propelled my sock-less feet into the cold rubber boots not thinking I was about to commit a fatal mistake. [Read more…]