Long View Farm receives Heritage Farm Award

2013-09-03T08:26:54+00:00September 3rd, 2013|New England Farm Weekly|

by Terry Lynn Colligan
When Albert Mosher, 85, a sixth generation farmer on his family’s Long View Farm in Gorham, Maine, talks about his long life in agriculture his love for the place is evident. In 1770, James Mosher, Albert’s many times great-grandfather, purchased 160 acres on the Presumpscot River and the farm has been continuously worked by the family ever since.
On Sunday July 28, Long View Farm was awarded its first Heritage Farm Award from the Cumberland County Farm Bureau in recognition of the Mosher’s dedication to successfully farming and maintaining the place as a family farm for the past 243 years.
Mr. Mosher had been asked to be this year’s parade marshal at the Gorham Founder’s Day Weekend Festival. (more…)

Spotlight on Farm Bureau Leader: Robert Morin, Horse Council chair

2013-08-23T08:09:20+00:00August 23rd, 2013|New England Farm Weekly|

CN-RP-1-Spotlight on 1Robert Morin of Waldoboro is the new Chair of the Maine Farm Bureau Horse Council as of winter 2013. Robert moved to Maine in 1973 from Rhode Island. He has always had a love for horses, as well as an interest in all types of agriculture. As a teen he worked at a stable with 75-125 horses, learning to care for and ride them. Robert spent a few years in the service and then in 1981 started his small homestead — Barrel Hill Farm. Over the years at different times his farm has been home to sheep, pigs, chickens, and varying sized gardens. Robert has also been a residential builder since 1981. He believes everyone at some point should do some kind of volunteer civic duty for their community. With this said Robert has done over fifteen years of public service for his town of Waldoboro. Currently Robert serves on the board for Waldoboro Business Association and on the board for the Economic growth committee. Robert also is an active board member for New England Livestock Expo. (more…)

Horns and calves — part of Biodynamic Dairy Herd at Hawthorne Valley Farm

2013-08-23T08:06:05+00:00August 23rd, 2013|New England Farm Weekly|

CN-MR-2-Horns and calves 2by Sanne Kure-Jensen
Steffen Schneider has been farming biodynamically for 30 years. Schneider’s practices include allowing mothers to rear their calves, careful breed selection with horns, daily rotational grazing with mixed forage, deliberate barn design and manure management with pigs. Everything on the farm strives for an ideal balance.
He shared his experience at the NOFA Summer Conference at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst in August.
Hawthorne Valley Farm
This 400-acre farm offers public educational workshops, summer camp and farm management programs celebrating the balance between agriculture and the natural environment.
This farm runs a herd of 130 animals and typically milk 50 to 60 cows. Animal manure is composted and recycled on pastures and vegetable fields. The farm’s diversified vegetable operation supports a 300-member CSA. The dairy and cheese-making operation’s by-product (whey) supports 40 pigs, which also offer manure management. Crop rotations include 30 to 40 acres of farm-raised wheat and other grains to support the on-farm bakery and local customers. All the straw is recycled on the farm as bedding, green manure or compost. (more…)

4-H kids and cows compete at Lamoille County Dairy Show

2013-08-16T08:54:21+00:00August 16th, 2013|New England Farm Weekly|

CN-RP-1-4-H kids and cows 1The focus of the day was on fun as 4-H’ers from four counties vied for ribbons and championships at the 4-H/Open Peewee Youth Dairy Show, July 27, at the annual Lamoille County Field Days in Johnson.
University of Vermont (UVM) Extension 4-H and the Green Mountain Moovers 4-H Club of Morrisville sponsored the event, which attracted participants from Caledonia, Franklin, Lamoille and Orleans Counties. Lora Smith-Goss of North Haverhill, NH, who has judged open and 4-H shows for 30 years, was the judge for both the fitting and showmanship and conformation classes.
The event included a peewee division for 4-H Cloverbuds, ages five to seven, to introduce them to the show ring and give them experience showing a dairy animal in competition. Entrants in this division received participation ribbons but were not ranked. They included Bo and Sam Callan, Enosburg Falls; and Gabriel, Haley, Morgan and Natalie Michaud, all of East Hardwick.
The show got underway with the fitting and showmanship classes where the 4-H’ers were judged on their poise as well as presentation and handling of their animal. For the conformation classes, arranged by age and breed of animal, judges looked at the physical structure, condition and appearance of the animal. (more…)

Can foliar diseases in forage grasses cause economic losses for livestock producers?

2013-08-16T08:50:29+00:00August 16th, 2013|New England Farm Weekly|

CN-MR-5-Can foliar disease 1by Daniel Hudson, UVM Extension Agronomist
Most garden enthusiasts are familiar with fungal diseases in fruit and vegetable crops. These diseases can induce a range of experiences from mild gardener irritation to complete crop loss. Late blight in tomatoes, powdery mildew in squash, leaf spot, phytophthora and pythium, just to name a few. The most frustrating diseases are those that spoil the quality of the product just before it is ready to harvest! The insidious fact about most plant pathogens is that their spores are everywhere. Given the right conditions, they can devastate a crop. While some species and varieties of plants have varying degrees of resistance to certain pathogens, no plant is entirely immune.
Fungal infection of fruit and vegetables can render a crop completely unmarketable, a fact that looms large in the minds of producers. In field crops and forages, however, fungal pathogens often do not prevent harvest or marketing, but often compromise yield and quality in ways that are not immediately evident. Until recently I had the impression that foliar disease on forages was not a ranking concern among livestock farmers or hay producers. This is why I was exceedingly surprised when I recently heard a farmer state that mid-summer grass diseases (foliar) are the most significant agronomic problem on his farm! (more…)

Sterling College hosts Governor’s Institute on Farms, Food and Your Future

2013-08-16T08:45:45+00:00August 16th, 2013|New England Farm Weekly|

CN-MR-2-Sterling College hosts 1by Bethany M. Dunbar
CRAFTSBURY COMMON, VT — Toby Marx-Dunn, a high school student from Jericho, was listening to National Public Radio one day, and it got him thinking about the food he eats. He decided he wanted to know more and get better, healthier food. This impulse led him to sign up for a brand new summer Governor’s Institute of Vermont — one called, Farms, Food and Your Future.
The impulse led him to a spot standing behind the back ends of a pair of large, patient work horses in a farm field at Sterling College in Craftsbury Common on July 31.
Marx-Dunn seems to be not alone in his impulse, judging by admissions numbers at Sterling. Last year the college — which teaches sustainable agriculture and food-related topics — had about 90 students. This fall the doors will open to a full class of 110. Tim Patterson, director of admission and financial aid, said the dorms are full. (more…)

Steady Lane Farm

2013-08-09T08:46:20+00:00August 9th, 2013|New England Farm Weekly|

CN-MR-3-Steady Lane 3by Laura Rodley
High on a slope in Ashfield, MA is a contented herd of grazing cattle guarded by an eight year old jenny who doesn’t like dogs. Even so, the jenny shares guardianship duties with a well-mannered one and a half year old black and white English Shepherd named Emma. Emma shares herding duties with her owner, Janet Clark. Janet and her husband Norbert Salz, best known as Nort, have raised predominantly organic, grass-fed beef on their 70 acre Steady Lane Farm since purchasing it in 2001.
Fed no hormones or animal byproducts, their beef cuts are leaner than conventional, containing more Omega-3 oils and beta carotene. They supply Ashfield’s Elmer’s Store restaurant with brisket. Customers include River Valley Market among many others. (more…)

Cow pie throwing contest at Eastern Rhode Island 4-H Fair

2013-08-09T08:41:07+00:00August 9th, 2013|New England Farm Weekly|

CN-MR-3-Cow pie throwing 1by Sanne Kure-Jensen
Glen Park in Portsmouth, RI hosted the Eastern RI 4-H Country Fair on the third weekend in July. Like so many 4-H Fairs, livestock and tractors were prominent. One fair contest featured livestock waste. Dried cow pies were used in a distance-throwing contest, instead of traditional balls or spears. Each contestant had two chances to throw a cow pie.
Mike Costa won the adult class in the Cow Pie Throwing Contest with his toss of 77’ 6”. Costa’s toss just barely beat the second place throw by Tyler Pimentel at 77’5”.
K. C. Bellavance’s 59’ cow pie throw won him first place in the children’s class, edging out Michael Aguiar’s second place toss.
Judging the contest was Amanda Leonardo from CAT Country radio’s morning show. The adult contest prize was $150. The children’s class prize was a $50 gift card to Barns & Noble. ‘A Traditional Sweep’ of Portsmouth, RI sponsored this event. (more…)

Locals attend Junior National Hereford Show

2013-08-09T08:31:10+00:00August 9th, 2013|Eastern Edition, Mid Atlantic, New England Farm Weekly, Western Edition|

CEW-MR-3-Jr National He#249by Rebecca Long Chaney
KANSAS CITY, MO — The “Show Me” state welcomed 660 junior Hereford exhibitors from 40 states with 1,100 head of cattle to the Junior National Hereford Expo (JNHE). The annual event is held every year in a different state to showcase the nation’s top Hereford cattle and junior members compete in 23 skill-based contests.
According to Amy Cowan, Director of Hereford Youth Activities and the Hereford Youth Foundation of America (HYFA), the JNHE is the premier event each year that Hereford families look forward too. “Scholarship and education is the mission statement of the Foundation,” she said. “We have two components — we offer $50,000 in scholarships and we hope to grow the foundation. The short-term goal is raising one million to continue offering scholarships. The long-term goal is raising five million so we can use the interest for scholarships and other junior Hereford activities.”
East Coast youth made an impression at the national show. There were three junior exhibitors from Connecticut, one from Maine, 10 from Maryland, three from New Hampshire, eight from New Jersey, five from New York, 15 from Pennsylvania and four from Virginia. They exhibited nearly 100 Herefords, several winning top honors.
Doug Howe of Wagontown, PA, was happy there was a great delegation of Hereford youth representing the East and Northeast. Howe’s family operates Deanajak Farm and Howe is the chairman of the 2014 Junior National Hereford Expo to be held July 5-12 at the Farm Show Building in Harrisburg, PA. (more…)

What’s driving agriculture in the year ahead?

2013-08-09T07:32:39+00:00August 9th, 2013|Eastern Edition, Mid Atlantic, New England Farm Weekly, Western Edition|

C4-MR-2-What's driving 2by Stephen Wagner
Mike Pearson is familiar to viewers of Weekly Journal of Rural America. Speaking on the topic titled above at the 135th Penn-Ag annual meeting, he acknowledges that one of his guiding principles is ‘Trust, But Verify!’
Before you know where you are going in the next marketing year, you have to know where you’ve been, Pearson says. “Obviously, the big issue, the driving force in all ag media in 2012 was the drought. It is still an issue this year. It’s one of those things that carries forward. Thanks to the drought last year we saw tremendous spikes in commodity prices. The drought was a compelling story for non-commercial folks to get into commodities.” Pearson cited the lack of a Farm Bill passing. Instead an extension was signed which means this conversation will be re-visited. Last year, interest rates hit new all-time lows, but farmland values climbed to record or near-record highs. (more…)

Southern Vermont Dairy Goat Show

2013-08-02T09:11:41+00:00August 2nd, 2013|New England Farm Weekly|

CN-MR-2-Southern Vermont 1by Melody Reynolds
Hundreds of dairy goats and goat enthusiasts gathered on June 22 for the Southern Vermont Dairy Goat Show. The show was held on Route 9 in Marlboro, VT. The picturesque spot in the mountains accommodated goat trailers from every New England state.
The setting for the event was the beautiful Knoll House property, purchased in 1951 with a generous gift from Mrs. Margarethe Paxton. Paxton’s dream was to offer a location for all goat enthusiasts to participate in dairy goat educational activities. The event accomplished just that.
The show continued into the afternoon allowing all breeds of dairy goats to compete.
The judge took time to give the less experienced goat showers a brief lesson. Children as young as two lead their prized animals around the ring with the assistance of an adult.
The show moved quickly to represent all the best breedings from around New England.
Breeders work all year for these few opportunities to see how well their breeding program stacks up against others. The goats file into the ring with their handlers dressed in whites. Under the direction of the judge the handlers walk, weave and set up their animals to their best advantage.
The judge, Peter Snyder from Cowlesville, NY, lined the goats up and explained to the breeders why he has chosen this lineup. Ribbons were handed out and premiums were paid. The information is documented for the ADGA (American Dairy Goat Association) to keep track of. (more…)

Orchard health workshop

2013-08-02T08:54:21+00:00August 2nd, 2013|New England Farm Weekly|

CN-MR-2-Orchard Health 2by George Looby, DVM
The beautiful campus of Connecticut College in New London, CT was the site for a workshop presented by the Connecticut Chapter of NOFA on orchard health viewed from the organic perspective. Michael Phillips, owner/manager of Lost Nation Orchard in northern New Hampshire, conducted an all-day session divided between a traditional lecture style presentation in the morning and then an on-site visit to the orchard at Hidden Brook Garden in Ledyard, CT in the afternoon. Michael is a long time advocate of organic management and is the author of The Apple Grower. In addition to being a hands-on orchardist, he is also an author addressing the benefits of the organic way to a healthier life.
The speaker made it very clear that certain basic principals apply when setting out to establish an organic orchard and these must be determined and adopted to before other more sophisticated measures are undertaken. First the soil pH should be in the 6.3 to 6.6 range. This is done in the context of the cation balance based on the CEC number for a given soil type. The CEC number is the cation exchange capacity of the soil. Thus, the higher the number, the more cations such as calcium and magnesium can be held in the area from which the sample was taken. Increasing the organic matter in the soil will increase the CEC number, making essential nutrients more available. The very minimum level of organic matter in the soil should be 3 percent. Phosphorus and potash readings on a CEC test should be at least 200 pounds of each per acre. (more…)