Youth organizations highlighted at AFBF convention

2019-02-19T09:06:20+00:00February 19, 2019|Western Edition|

by Enrico Villamaino

Statistically speaking, the American farmer is getting old. According to the Census of Agriculture, released by the USDA, the age of the average American farmer is nearly 59 years old. This average has slowly been creeping upward for the past 20 years. If left unchecked, this trend could have serious consequences for farming in the future.

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Crop Comments: Weeding out unknowns

2019-02-19T08:53:07+00:00February 19, 2019|Western Edition|

One of the five labs that I work with provides small plastic-lined paper bags for their customers to put their soil samples in. The person submitting the soil for analysis fills out the field’s and farm’s specifics on one side of the bag. On another side of the bag there’s a sales pitch: “Test — don’t guess. A soil test is one’s best single guide in determining the strength of each link of the plant nutrient chain. The weak link sets the ceiling on crop link potential. A soil test identifies the weak link or links.” Making assumptions about the nutrient status of one’s soils — and forages, for that matter — is, gently stated, very high on the silly scale.

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The woodchip bioreactor

2019-02-19T09:13:39+00:00February 18, 2019|New England Farm Weekly, Western Edition|

by George Looby

The Midwest has long been the hotbed of innovative practices that can benefit not only agricultural practices but also other activities that benefit the general population. One of the issues in the Mississippi River Valley has been the excess of nitrates entering the watershed, upsetting the natural balance that existed before fertilization became as intensive as it is today.

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An update on the monitoring of antibiotic usage in food animals

2019-02-19T10:29:18+00:00February 18, 2019|New England Farm Weekly, Western Edition|

by George Looby

In the year that has passed since the use of antibiotics in food animals has been restricted to the treatment of those whose health needs required use, there has been ever-increasing support of the program. Early on the enforcement of regulations was left to the FDA, the enforcement agency, the livestock producers and their veterinarians. Over time it became apparent that organizations dependent on the purchase, distribution and sale of meat products had a vested interest in this program.

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Cover crops: Crucial to soils

2019-02-19T10:34:46+00:00February 18, 2019|Mid Atlantic, Western Edition|

by Tamara Scully

A day-long conference sponsored by the North Jersey Resource Conservation and Development, a non-profit focused on natural resource use in the agricultural sector, attracted a significant number of New Jersey farmers. Aside from NJRC&D presenters, however, the speakers were all from Pennsylvania. Penn State, Rodale Institute and several Pennsylvania farmers and Certified Crop Advisors provided attendees with an array of practical no-till and cover crop information.

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Molasses supplementation in grazing dairies

2019-02-19T11:07:07+00:00February 18, 2019|Eastern Edition, Mid Atlantic, New England Farm Weekly, Western Edition|

by Tamara Scully

About 10 years ago, a renewed interest in molasses supplementation occurred as certified organic corn became scarce and prices rose. Seeking to add energy to the diet, many farmers began experimenting with molasses. Some farmers were claiming fantastic results by substituting molasses at one-third of the rate they had been feeding corn meal.

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Clay supplements may bolster immune system and decrease aflatoxin in cows

2019-02-19T09:13:22+00:00February 18, 2019|Eastern Edition, Western Edition|

by Courtney Llewellyn

Aflatoxins are a family of three toxins produced by certain fungi that are found on agricultural crops such as corn, peanuts, cottonseed and tree nuts – and when cows consume contaminated feed, the toxins can severely affect their livers and be excreted in their milk. Farmers try to prevent their herds from eating anything that could cause this issue, and it turns out feeding them something else may help more than previously thought.

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The value of agriculture in Pennsylvania

2019-02-19T09:11:53+00:00February 18, 2019|Eastern Edition, Mid Atlantic, Western Edition|

by Stephen Wagner

With the introduction of 2019, thoughts about the title topic are inevitable, and questions about it even more so, and on many fronts. The answer to the question about what is the value of agriculture in Pennsylvania is “about 135 billion dollars,” according to PDA Deputy Secretary Greg Hostetter, who gave his assessment at the PennAg Poultry Council Annual Meat and Egg Meeting in December of last year. “It also provides 580,000 jobs.” Without rules and regulations where would Pennsylvania be?

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Alfalfa: Improving a key feed

2019-01-28T17:02:49+00:00January 28, 2019|Western Edition|

by Tamara Scully

Improving the quality of alfalfa has been the focus of plant breeders, and today’s highly digestible alfalfa varieties are offering dairy farmers a lot more feed value. Conventional as well as genetically modified breeding approaches have yielded new choices for farmers. What makes a good alfalfa? What should farmers know about selecting, growing and feeding different alfalfa varieties?

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Western New York Farm Show to be held Jan. 31-Feb. 2

2019-01-28T17:01:33+00:00January 28, 2019|Western Edition|

Western New York Farm Show to be held Jan. 31-Feb. 2

HAMBURG, NY — Bringing together the region’s farming community and the services necessary for daily operations is the goal of the 9th Annual Western New York Farm Show, Jan. 31-Feb. 2, at the Erie County Fairgrounds in Hamburg, NY. The exposition is sponsored by the Erie County Agricultural Society.

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