Are robotic systems the solution?

2021-12-03T12:12:45-05:00December 3, 2021|Country Folks Article|

by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

As pervasive labor shortages plague farms, many farmers investigate automation as a means of decreasing their need for labor; however, could this provide a long-term, sustainable and environmentally sound solution? As part of the 2021 Grow-NY Summit hosted by the Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture at Cornell AgriTech, a panel of ag technology experts discussed aspects of robotics aiding farmers.

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The agroforestry option

2021-12-03T12:11:08-05:00December 3, 2021|Country Folks Article|

by Sally Colby

There’s an official definition for agroforestry, but Richard Straight, lead agroforester for USDA’s National Agroforestry Center, narrows it down to “the intentional combining of agriculture and working trees to create sustainable farming and ranching systems.” Agroforestry can also be described as a set of conservation practices that help provide benefits – provisions as well as protection – at the farm scale. Agroforestry practices focus on each farm and each situation.

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Horse Fun Day at Northwind Horse Farm

2021-12-03T12:05:14-05:00December 3, 2021|Country Folks Article|

Northwind Horse Farm in Wallkill, NY, was the place to be on Nov. 20. The Orange County 4-H Horse Program held a “Horse Fun Day” at the farm, with more than 150 boys and girls in attendance. Geared for ages 4 and up, the scores of children waiting on line to sign in could barely contain their excitement; squeals of “there’s horses inside!” and “I can’t wait to ride a horse!” punctuated the crisp, sunny morning, warming the hearts of the 4-H staff and volunteers who prepared for the popular event. Children were greeted by Rosie Budney, owner of Northwind Horse Farm; DeAnna Sardella, 4-H resource educator; and Carol McLaughlin, 4-H administrative assistant, and were given a “passport” to bring to each of the stations to have signed. Parents were advised to allow approximately 1.5 hours to complete the activities, but all were welcome to stay longer. A food truck manned by 4-H’ers and volunteers provided hot foods and beverages.

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Many topics raised at NH 2021 Farm Bureau meeting

2021-12-03T11:59:03-05:00December 3, 2021|Country Folks Article|

by Edith Tucker

MILFORD, NH – The New Hampshire Farm Bureau House of Delegates convened on the morning of Nov. 13, followed by an afternoon mental health presentation by Jessica Cabrera, M.Ed., managing director of member engagement for American Farm Bureau Federation, the screening of an agricultural video, the naming of the winners of a number of awards, a brief talk by NH Commissioner of Agriculture Shawn Jasper and a new NHFB president stepping in after six years.

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Back to business

2021-12-03T11:57:16-05:00December 3, 2021|Country Folks Article|

by Sally Colby

After conducting the business of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) virtually last year, several hundred members met in person for the 71st annual meeting in Hershey, PA.

One of the most important roles of all state Farm Bureaus is establishing policy on issues that affect agriculture and rural communities. The process begins with resolutions submitted by members at the county level, which are voted on by membership at the county’s annual meeting. Adopted resolutions become policies and advance to the state convention where they are discussed and voted on for inclusion in the next year’s policy book. Farm Bureau maintains close relationships with local and state government officials and advances adopted policies to ensure a strong voice for agriculture in both state and federal legislation.  (more…)

Fixing fences before snow falls

2021-12-03T11:53:45-05:00December 3, 2021|Country Folks Article|

by Courtney Llewellyn

While much of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic enjoyed a rather moderate autumn, winter – and all its frigidity and bluster – will be here soon. One of the many things farmers can do to prep now is check their fence lines. It’s much easier to be proactive in early December than it is to be reactive in early February (usually the coldest month of the year).  (more…)

While the sun shines

2021-11-23T21:20:20-05:00October 22, 2021|Country Folks Article, Western Edition|

by Sally Colby

“The secret to good hay is knowing what you have, knowing how to market it and learning the art of making it.”

That’s what Mike Stefan, of North Collins, NY, says about the skills involved in making consistently good hay. Stefan started to learn how to make hay while growing up on the family dairy farm. After high school, he studied to be a teacher, but wanted to farm even after the dairy herd was sold. “I didn’t want to lose the farm, so we thought hay would be a good option,” he said. “I could work that in with a teaching job.”

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Hampden County Beekeepers keeps apiculture buzzing

2021-11-23T20:44:09-05:00October 22, 2021|Country Folks Article, Mid Atlantic|

by Enrico Villamaino

For Jim Stefanik and Sharon Roulier, the Hampden County Beekeepers organization is very much a family affair.

A native of Agawam, MA, Jim has been keeping bees for over 25 years. His daughter, Sharon, grew up learning from Jim firsthand, and officially began beekeeping in her own right five years ago. The father-daughter team was on hand to represent the organization at the annual Eastern States Exposition (the Big E) in West Springfield, MA.

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A day at the Genesee Valley Hunt Races

2021-10-22T10:34:28-05:00October 22, 2021|Country Folks Article|

by Pauline E. Burnes, PLA

Dark overcast skies did not dampen the spirits of the incredible spectator turnout for the 92nd running of the National Steeplechase Association (NSA)-sanctioned Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. This event, also known as the Genesee Valley Hunt (GVH) Races and Fall Festival, takes place at the Seven Nations Farm just north of Geneseo, NY. The venue attracted approximately 35,000 spectators from the region.

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SUNY Cobleskill wows with WDE success

2021-11-23T19:53:04-05:00October 22, 2021|Country Folks Article, Eastern Edition, Western Edition|

by Emily Carey

World Dairy Expo is the premier place for all things dairy. The best of the best converge in Madison, WI, and this year, SUNY Cobleskill students were among the top in the Post-Secondary Dairy Judging Contest, placing third overall.

This year, the team of four students, coached by professor Carrie Edsall, practiced hard to compete successfully. The team was made up of Erin Curtis, Tesika Kilmer, Abigail Hatch and Emily Hatch.

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USDA releases info for producers interested in applying for CFAP

2020-05-14T12:43:31-05:00May 14, 2020|Country Folks Article, Eastern Edition, Mid Atlantic, New England Farm Weekly, Western Edition|

by Courtney Llewellyn

The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) hosted a short webinar on May 14 for farmers, ranchers and other producers interested in applying for direct payments through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). (more…)