Roy Nilson and American Cream draft horses

2021-09-14T14:05:22-05:00September 14, 2021|New England Farm Weekly|

by Laura Rodley

Roy Nilson was dodging rainstorms and Hurricane Henri to bring in the hay. The first-generation farmer has 10 to 15 acres of second cutting waiting down the road from his new home. He drives his train of three – tractor, baler and hay wagon – to the 60 acres of fields he currently hays. Conway is the furthest he travels now to bale hay from his Ashfield, MA, home. (more…)

Writing copy that converts

2021-09-28T10:02:13-05:00September 14, 2021|Eastern Edition, Mid Atlantic, New England Farm Weekly|

by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

When COVID-19 shut down the world, many businesses selling directly to customers, including those in agriculture, pivoted to selling online, even those that had not done so before. Many businesses have continued online sales in addition to those at their reopened brick-and-mortar salespoints. To help businesses offer better copy on their websites, Amanda Basse presented “How to Write Product Descriptions that Convert” as a recent webinar hosted by the Rhode Island Small Business Development Center. (more…)

Broilers paving the way at Mayday Farm

2021-09-14T13:11:11-05:00September 14, 2021|New England Farm Weekly|

by Sonja Heyck-Merlin

Haden Gooch and Katie Gualtieri closed on their 350-acre farm in Leeds, Maine, in May 2021, naming it Mayday Farm. It was a conventional dairy until the mid-1990s. The open land, about 100 acres, was leased to neighboring farmers until 2020 when Maine Farmland Trust purchased the property. Gooch and Gualtieri leased from MFT for a year as they worked to secure financing through the Farm Service Agency. The cornerstone of their farm business is pastured broilers, though the pair also recently signed a contract to supply organic milk to Stonyfield. (more…)

“Let it grow” – the Cover Crop Challenge

2021-09-14T13:07:41-05:00September 14, 2021|New England Farm Weekly|

by Emily Carey

On average, seven tons of soil per acre is lost each year to soil erosion, Jim Hyde, Connecticut state agronomist with USDA-NRCS, estimated. When valuing the soil components, nutritional value and future crop potential, that seven tons/acre loss is estimated to cost a minimum of $40/acre, and other studies estimate the loss to cost hundreds of dollars per acre. If your soil is not covered, you are losing money and giving away the soil you are expecting to grow crops. (more…)

Figuring out the digital transformation puzzle

2021-09-14T11:11:42-05:00September 14, 2021|Eastern Edition, Mid Atlantic, New England Farm Weekly, Western Edition|

by Enrico Villamaino

As a co-owner of a family farm operating in Illinois for nearly 150 years, Martha King is very aware of how profound technological advancements can change farm operations. “Obviously,” she said, “our farm has seen extraordinary changes over the past century and a half.” (more…)

Crop Comments: Keeping closer count on carbon

2021-08-31T09:11:00-05:00August 31, 2021|Eastern Edition, Mid Atlantic, New England Farm Weekly, Western Edition|

Appearing in a recent issue of the Guardian online newspaper was an article, “Planting Trees to Fight Climate Change Is Great. Then Again, So Is Eating,” written by Fiona Harvey. Harvey wrote that governments and businesses hoping to plant trees and restore forests in order to reach net-zero carbon emissions must sharply limit such efforts to avoid driving up food prices in the developing world, the charity Oxfam has warned. Oxfam is a confederation of 19 independent charitable organizations focusing on the alleviation of global poverty. Planting trees has been touted as one of the key ways of tackling the climate crisis, but the amount of land needed for such forests would be vast. Planting even a fraction of the area needed to offset global greenhouse gas emissions would usurp some of the land for crops needed to feed our planet’s growing population. (more…)

USPS’s Heritage Breeds commemorative stamps and Jody Jess

2021-08-26T16:01:27-05:00August 26, 2021|New England Farm Weekly|

by Laura Rodley

Jody Jess is a champion of heritage breeds. She has raised Kerry and Dexter cattle, heritage breeds that have a strongly documented Irish lineage, for 13 years. She is the secretary and registrar of the board of directors of the American Kerry Cattle Association (AKCA). She currently raises 22 Kerry cows and heifers at her Buckhill Homestead Farm in Westminster, MA, and eight Dexters, with one Dexter steer being raised for beef. She sells pork from her Gloucester Old Spots and honey from her eight hives. (more…)

Bovine Health: Make data-based decisions

2021-08-26T15:56:40-05:00August 26, 2021|New England Farm Weekly|

by Gabe Middleton, DVM, DABVP

The financial health of the dairy operation is at the front of producers’ minds. In all reality, it has probably always been that way; however, with rising feed costs and challenges to maintain a profitable operation, it is more important today than ever. Decisions should be made based on the dairy economy. This is easier than it sounds, as some decisions need to be made based on future projections of the dairy industry, not just today. Decisions should be made based on data instead of gut instinct whenever possible. Utilize a solid team of consultants to help analyze data and make the right decisions. (more…)

Hiring and keeping employees

2021-08-31T09:18:00-05:00August 26, 2021|Mid Atlantic, New England Farm Weekly, Western Edition|

by Sally Colby

Although finding good farm employees is an ongoing challenge for farm employers, finding new employees is tougher than ever.

“Farms are at a competitive disadvantage with businesses in town,” said Phil Durst, Michigan State University Extension. “They can offer more – higher wage rate, signing bonus, benefits and education.” (more…)

Pond management important for land management

2021-08-31T09:17:37-05:00August 26, 2021|Eastern Edition, Mid Atlantic, New England Farm Weekly, Western Edition|

by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Whether it waters stock, provides recreation or simply collects excess water, a pond graces many farms. Taking care of the pond can help keep in balance in the local ecosystem. Andrew Lazur, water quality specialist with the University of Maryland College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, presented “Basics of Pond Management” as a recent webinar hosted by the University of Maryland as part of the MidAtlantic Women in Agriculture webinar series. (more…)