Diversify your farm products; diversify your outlook of world events

CEW-MR-1-Diversity Kohl23by Pat Malin

LIVERPOOL, NY — What is happening to agriculture on the other side of the country and what is happening to agriculture on the other side of the world has to concern today’s farmers almost equally.

That recommendation was voiced by Dr. David Kohl, who presented the keynote speech on the value of diversification at the New York State Agricultural Society’s 183rd annual meeting and agricultural forum on Jan. 8 at the Holiday Inn outside Syracuse.

The professor emeritus of Agriculture and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech, Kohl insisted that diversification is not just a local activity. Only a day prior to coming to the Ag Society’s conference, Kohl presented his views and got feedback on world events at an agricultural producers expo in Canada. [Read more…]

Dr. Temple Grandin receives prestigious Farm Bureau award

C4-MR-2-Temple Grandin 3546by Sally Colby

At the American Farm Bureau’s 96th Annual Convention, Dr. Temple Grandin was presented with the Distinguished Service Award. Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University, addressed some of today’s most pressing issues in animal ag. She believes that one of the most important things that ag needs to do is have farmers directly communicating with people.

Grandin finds it frustrating that a lot of young people don’t know about the good things that have been done in agriculture. She cited a Purdue study that revealed that 31 percent of young people have never been on a farm, and 50 percent of people in the UK couldn’t connect pigs with bacon. She talked about her visit to The Pig Adventure at Fair Oaks Farm — a modern, open-door pig farm where visitors can see every aspect of production. Grandin asked employees at Fair Oaks what kinds of strange questions they’ve gotten from visitors viewing the pigs. The question Grandin couldn’t believe people asked was “are those actually pigs?” [Read more…]

The Tucker Technique and The Equine Dentistry School Online

CNM-MS-MR-3-HorseDentist2by Laura Rodley

Veterinarian Dr. Geoff Tucker developed his school, The Equine Dentistry School Online, after floating more than 60,000 horses’ teeth over three decades. The school, started September 2014 with a worldwide practical component, already has two graduates — a veterinarian in New York and a citizen of the Dominican Republic. “I became a veterinarian because I love horses,” Tucker said. He even overcame dyslexia to graduate from Cornell University. In 2014, he released his compelling third book, Since the Days of the Romans: My Journey of Discovering a Life of Horses. He is pictured with his horse, Oliver, on the cover. [Read more…]

Organic standards and rodent control

by Tamara Scully

A petition to allow exhaust gas to be used underground for rodent control in certified organic production has been submitted to the National Organic Standards Board. The NOSB will need to consider whether or not the gas is potentially toxic to humans, to soil microbes, non-borrowing animals, or natural rodent predators, as well as the availability and efficacy of alternative control methods. In October, 2014, the NOSB released its technical data report on exhaust gas.

Several prominent New York state farmers have been among those contributing to the discussion, via posts on the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA) ODairy list serve forum. The ODairy forum is a very active public forum, where many prominent members of the organic community across the nation comment on and discuss a variety of agriculturally relevant topics. [Read more…]

Avoiding the unexpected with the Affordable Care Act

by Bill and Mary Weaver

Adam Kantrovich, Farm Management Educator for MSU Extension, has heard “just about every notion known to mankind” on the topic of how to avoid having problems with the ACA. He has also studied the law carefully enough to be able to point out what sorts of things might get an employer in trouble.

For example, Kantrovich advises, don’t decide to divide your larger business into multiple smaller entities, solely for the purpose of getting around the ACA.

“If you develop a series of separate business entities, even with limited differences in ownership, they may still be considered a single ‘control group’ by the IRS. This would mean an owner is required to count all employees from all entities in determining their status as either a ‘Small’ or ‘Large’ employer under the ACA guidelines. [Read more…]