State Agriculture Commissioner tour farms impacted by drought

ce-mr-44-3-drought-in-jefferson-1cState Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball on Sept. 6 joined Senator Pattie Ritchie, other state leaders, Farm Bureau President Dean Norton, members of the United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (USDA FSA), and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County to tour several farms in Jefferson and Oswego Counties impacted by this summer’s drought. The group visited three dairy farms and a Christmas tree farm to assess the drought damage in the region and better understand the outlook and plan for recovery. [Read more…]

Jones Family Farm

ce-mr-1-jones-family-farm1947by Daniel Baldwin

Peter, Suzie and the rest of the Jones family used to live in Massachusetts. But Peter and Suzie wanted to move to the country and become farmers.

“We wanted to get back to farming,” Suzie said. “It skipped a generation for both of us. My parents didn’t farm, his parents didn’t farm, but our grandparents did. It’s something we both felt the need to go back to.” [Read more…]

Agritourism ~ Can you get a five-star rating with your business?

cn-mr-agritourism-cs-copyby Elizabeth A. Tomlin

Autumn is the time of year many farms and orchards open their doors for farm tours, pick your own apples and pumpkins, farm days and other events.

A recent webinar provided by the University of California Small Farm Program in partnership with FarmsReach featured speakers Scottie Jones, Director of the U.S. Farm Stay Association, and Meghan Bishop-Sanderson of Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm, advising producers on how to get that coveted five-star rating. [Read more…]

Thomas Farms: More than just rutabagas

cn-go-33-3-thomas-farms-6490-copyby Kristen M. Castrataro

It is often the unexpected, unpredictable things in life that make all the difference. Such was the case for Thomas Farms in Corinth, Maine. In 2000, Frank Thomas found himself in the hospital with a staph infection. It was harvest time, and 300 acres of chip potatoes sat in the field. The family hired a replacement harvester who bruised the produce so badly that the chip company immediately cancelled the Thomas’ contract. [Read more…]

Eating alpaca

cw-mr-3-alpaca-meat-7433by Samantha Graves

Squicky. That’s the word that came to mind when I stared down an alpaca burger served to me by a farmer on a recent trip to Maine. Squicky embodies a feeling of disgust or repulsion, free from judgment over the rightness or wrongness of an act. For some, eating alpaca is like eating your favorite pet or muppet. But for a growing number of farmers in the United States, culling alpacas is not only about making their farm a sustainable enterprise; it’s about improving the quality of the animals raised in the United States. [Read more…]