Encouraging young people to take up “The Dirty Life”

CE-MR-1-Essex farm side1by Pat Malin

CLINTON, NY — Mark and Kristin Kimball of Essex Farm in northern New York think of themselves as more than farmers. They’re also educators, environmentalists, community activists, and mentors to the next generation of farmers. They have already succeeded in helping new farms become established, as they did with Matt Volz of Greyrock Farm in Cazenovia, NY.

Volz and his partner, Gillian Goldberg, showed up at the Kimballs’ lecture at Hamilton College with a Swiss calf to share one small aspect of farming with the students and the public. [Read more…]

Shaking milk up: going grass-fed

CW-MR-1-Shaking milk1Cby Tamara Scully

Today’s conventional dairy farmer is more likely to use his land for producing grass, corn, soybeans and other feed crops for his cows than to use the land for grazing. Likewise, today’s dairy cow is more likely to consume its calories and meet nutritional needs from a total mixed ration (TMR) than from pasture grazing.

TMRs provide an efficient, nutritionally balanced and measured means of providing the dairy herd with food designed to meet their specific needs, thereby increasing milk output and components. A mixture of forages and grains, along with protein and mineral supplements, TMRs — when done properly — offer a homogenous feed supply with a known nutritional content. [Read more…]

Vermont Governor officially opens maple sugar season at Slopeside Syrup

CN-MR-3-VT GOV-IMG_7610RICHMOND, VT — Gov. Peter Shumlin kicked off Vermont’s 2015 maple sugar season, officially tapping a tree at Slopeside Syrup, in Richmond. The Governor was joined by Vermont Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross and students from Richmond Elementary, who tap trees at Slopeside as part of their “farm to school” curriculum.

Slopeside Syrup is located on the grounds of Cochran’s Ski Area, a not-for-profit ski center founded in 1961 by Mickey and Ginny Cochran. The sugaring operation was established in 2011 by four of Mickey and Ginny’s grandchildren: Jim Cochran, Tim Kelley, and Roger and Douglas Brown. “For more than 50 years, Vermont’s young people have come to Cochran’s to learn how to ski,” said Gov. Shumlin. “Today, they are learning another essential Vermont skill…sugar-making!” [Read more…]

Kept in the loop

CN-MR-2-LAUGHING-DOG-008by Laura Rodley

Spring has officially sprung but the snow is still two feet deep at Laughing Dog Farm in Gill, MA. Danny Botkin owns the nine-acre farm with his wife Divya Shinn, a registered nurse.  Danny started keeping goats in 1998 and up until a year ago, had a herd of 22. He started with a Nubian that birthed twins the first winter, bred them to different bucks over a decade, then back to Nubians in the last three years, resulting in a versatile, mixed-breed, jokingly called “Albopien”: Nubians, for richest milk; Boers, stockiest meat animal, Alpines, super hardy; Saanen, champion milk producer, stocky enough to “make good meat if we chose to butcher.” Each of the 130 goats born at the farm is beloved, receiving unique names from Hindu derivation to Disney characters.    [Read more…]

Connecticut’s Outstanding Young Farmer of 2015

CN-GO-AE-MR-2-CT FARMERby George Looby, DVM

Each year the Connecticut Agricultural Information Council chooses a young farmer as the State’s Outstanding Young Farmer. The Connecticut Agricultural Information Council is a non-profit coalition of state farming groups located in Storrs, CT which functions to evaluate, nominate and select recipients of selected agricultural awards presented annually at agricultural events held throughout the year. One of these is the Outstanding Young Farmer Award. Others awards include Ag. Journalism, the Century Farm award and selection of Connecticut Century Farms. To be considered for this award applicants must be between the ages of 21 and 40 and derive at least two-thirds of their income from farming. This award is presented at the State Capitol at the annual Ag Day event. [Read more…]