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1 SPRING 2012 SMALL FARM QUARTERLY Good Living and Good Farming Connecting People, Land, and Communities Feature Articles Tomato Therapy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 6 The Perfect Sheep Pasture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 16 Is Your Honey Green? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 17 Pricing Your Meat Cuts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 19 Supplement to Country Folks
2 Page 2 SMALL FARM QUARTERLY April 2, 2012 SMALL FARM QUARTERLY - SPRING 2012 TABLE OF CONTENTS SMALL FARM PROGRAM UPDATE SMALL FARM QUARTERLY Good Farming and Good Living Cornell Small Farms Program Update ........................................................Page 3 Connecting People, Land, and Communities BOOK NOOK Small Farm Quarterly is for farmers and farm families including spouses and Farm Memoirs, by Jill Swenson.....................................................................Page 4 children - who value the quality of life that smaller farms provide. COMMUNITY AND WORLD OUR GOALS ARE TO: Celebrate the Northeast regions smaller farms; Gleaning More of New Yorks Harvest, by Rebecca Schuelke Staehr............Page 5 Inspire and inform farm families and their supporters; Tomato Therapy, by Mason Donovan..................................................................Page 6 Help farmers share expertise and opinions with each other; Increase awareness of the benefits that small farms contribute to society FARM TECH and the environment. Using Online Surveys and Polls to Connect with Your Clients, Share important research, extension, and other resources. by Michelle Podolec........................................................................................Page 6 Small Farm Quarterly is produced by Lee Publications, Inc., and is distributed four times a year as a special section of Country Folks. Volume 10 publication dates: GRAZING January 9, April 2, July 2 and October 1, 2012. Grazing and the Good Life, by Meg Schader .............................................Page 7 EDITORIAL TEAM: HOME AND FAMILY Violet Stone, Cornell Small Farms Program Anu Rangarajan, Cornell Small Farms Program Managing Editor Editor in Chief 607-255-9227 607-255-1780 Spring Forward, by Ron MacLean...............................................................Page 15 Laura Biasillo, Broome County CCE New Farmers 607-584-5007 Jamila Walida Simon, NYS 4-H Youth Development Program Youth Pages 607-255-0287 LOCAL FOODS & MARKETING Sam Anderson Livestock 978-654-6745 Faces of our Food System: J. Kings, by Becca Jablonski........................Page 18 Gary Goff, Cornell Natural Resources Department Forest and Woodlot 607-255-2824 Martha Herbert Izzi, Vermont Farmer New England Correspondent 802-492-3346 Is Your Honey Green? by Dr. Buddy Marterre and Alice Varon ..................Page 17 Betsy Lamb, CCE Integrated Pest Management Program Horticulture 607-254-8800 Pricing Your Meat Cuts, John Thurgood, USDA-Natural Resources by Brian Moyer...............................................................................................Page 19 Conservation Service-Vermont Stewardship and Nature 802-865-7895 Nancy Glazier, Northwest NY Dairy, Livestock NEW FARMERS and Field Crops Team Grazing 315-536-5123 And the Survey Says! Beginning Farmer Critical Needs, Jill Swenson, Swenson Book Development Community and World 607-539-3278 Michelle Podolec, NE Beginning by Wes Hannah..............................................................................................Page 20 Farmer Project Coordinator Farm Technology 607-255-9911 Maines Original Duck Farm, by Gina Simmons and Ryan Wilson..............Page 8 FOR SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION CONTACT NON-DAIRY LIVESTOCK Tracy Crouse, Lee Publications, Inc., PO Box 121, Palatine Bridge, NY 13428 888-596-5329 [email protected] The Perfect Sheep Pasture, by Ulf Kintzel................................................Page 16 NORTHEAST SARE SPOTLIGHT FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION CONTACT: Jan Andrews, Lee Publications, Inc., 518-673-0110 or 800-218-5586, ext. 110 Using Foster Mother Hens to Raise Chicks on the Cheap, or [email protected] by Elizabeth Rosen......................................................................................... Page 9 SEND YOUR LETTERS AND STORIES TO: Cornell Small Farms Program RESOURCE SPOTLIGHTS 15A Plant Science Building, Cornell University , Ithaca, NY, 14853 Realizing the Potential of NY Grasslands, by Dan Welch .......................Page 12 607-255-9227 [email protected] About copyright: The material published in Small Farm Quarterly is not copyrighted unless otherwise noted. Beginning Farmers: Help Us Help You! ..... ..............................................Page 12 However, we ask that you please be sure to credit both the author and Small Farm Quarterly. STEWARDSHIP & NATURE Off the Ground: Conservation Program Promotes both Hay Yield SUPPORTING ORGANIZATIONS: and Bird Habitat, by Toby Alexander...........................................................Page 14 PHOTO ESSAY Cornell Small Farms Program www.smallfarms.cornell.edu 607-255-9227 Spring Peeping............................................................................................Page 19 www.cce.cornell.edu URBAN AGRICULTURE www.cals.cornell.edu Recirculating Farms: Growing Healthy, fresh food and a new local food, NYS 4-H Teen Program www.cce.cornell.edu/4h by Molly Davis...............................................................................................Page 13 607-255-0886 www.nrcs.usda.gov YOUTH PAGE 802-865-7895 Animals at Critter Care, by Aleena and Drianna Borowiec ............................Page 10 Composting at Camp!, by Kelsy Klaczyk and Mollie Mills..........................Page 10 ABOUT OUR ADS... All advertisements in Small Farm Quarterly are managed by Lee Publications. Cornells Small Curly Sue Grows Up, Goes to Camp, by Cara Shulman...........................Page 10 Farms Program, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and other Small Farm Quarterly sponsors and contrib- The Story Behind the Camp Names, by Keira McClelland .......................Page 11 utors do not endorse advertisers, their products or services. We receive no revenues from advertisers. To find out how your business or organization can advertise in Small Farm Quarterly, contact: Jan Cover photo: Ben Falk holding a harvest of brown, short-grain japonica Andrews, Lee Publications, 518-673-0110 or 800-218-5586, ext. 110, [email protected] rice from his farm in Moretown, VT. Photo by Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
3 April 2, 2012 SMALL FARM QUARTERLY Page 3 Cornelll Smalll Farms s Program m Update Announcing 2012 Small Farm overall farm viability. The goal is to be Small Farms Program to Host Small Farms Summit, an interactive meet- Grant Awards able to better inform small farmers about Dairy Field Days ing with an opportunity for all participants how to successfully conduct wholesale to take part in lively discussion, both Each year, the Cornell Small Farms sales and gather some benchmark data In an effort to bring visibility to the innova- locally, and across the state. 150 farmers Program awards grants of 3-5K to organi- about impacts of wholesale sales on tions of New York's small dairy producers, and supporters gathered at 5 locations zations in New York that present com- small farms. Promoting Workplace CSA the Cornell Small Farms Program is pro- around New York to evaluate emerging pelling projects that will serve and support in the Southern Adirondacks seeks to viding financial support to Cooperative opportunities and prioritize investments to small farms. This year, four proposals help work sites and community centers Extension Educators wishing to host enhance the viability of small farms. were selected. Bringing the sheep goat within the greater Glens Falls region small dairy field days during summer, Some of the new emerging issues from marketing website back home will focus investigate the feasibility of sponsoring a 2012. We plan to fund a total of six field the audience included: research and on modernizing and updating the popular CSA. Finally, Chenango Regional Video days in regions across the state on dairy extension around agroforestry, including marketing directory located at the address and Social Media Grazing Outreach farms milking under 100 head. Field silvopasturing, forest products and alley www.sheepgoatmarketing.info. The sec- Program will provide grazing farmers with days will take place between June 1st cropping; enhancing online communities ond project, Assessing Local Foods information on grazing best practices, and and September 20th and will highlight for farmers to exchange ideas, equipment, Distribution Systems: Farmer Experiences to serve as forums where grazing farmers innovative production or marketing strate- land; consumer education around small- and Models for Building Successful can share questions or successes with gies that represent new opportunities to scale locally produced food; Liasons/edu- Farmer-Distributor Relationships will other farmers or agricultural educators. enhance small dairy viability in NY. If you Well be publishing resources and findings cators to convey NYS Agriculture and interview farmers to identify what farmers are a dairy farmer or cooperative exten- from these projects as they become avail- Markets regulations to farmers. The need to do to comply with distributor pur- sion educator in NY and would like to par- chasing requirements, how it impacts able! ticipate, please contact us! Well be Small Farms Program will spend the next marketing practices, cost of marketing, announcing the field day schedule on our two months synthesizing results from the risk management, product pricing, and website in late spring, multi-site conference and be publishing a www.smallfarms.cornell.edu report in early June. It is our hope that the report will inform educators, We Want Small Farms Summit a Success! researchers, policy makers and communi- ty organizations the major areas in which On February 29th, we hosted our 3rd to invest support for small farms over the To Hear From You next 5 years. We welcome letters to the editor - Please write to us! Message from the Or send a question and well do our best to answer it. Were also looking for beautiful, interesting and/or Managing Editor funny small farm photos to print. Happy Spring! Looking out the window of the Cornell Small Write or email Violet Stone, Farms Program office here in Ithaca, NY, the cro- Cornell Small Farms Program, cuses and aconites have burst into bloom, and students are luxuriating in the warm, kind 15A Plant Science Building, breezes arriving earlier than usual. For many, the surprise descent of warm weather is a rea- Cornell University, son to celebrate, to roll up your sleeves, and dust Ithaca, NY 14853 off that lawn chair set from the basement and relocate it in the sun. But, volatile spring weather [email protected] can also bring anxiety over trees budding prema- Violet Stone turely or a sudden hard frost ruining a warm sea- son planting. No wonder everyone is talking How can I get Small Farm Quarterly? about the weather; it can make a fruitful crop, or a sparse one, and there is little we can do about it. Country Folks subscribers automatically receive SFQ four times a With so much risk involved, why do people farm? I encourage you to take a year at no extra cost. Country Folks is delivered weekly for $47 per year. look at Mason Donovans article, Tomato Therapy, where he explores spiritu- al reasons for why people are drawn to farming. Solace, beauty, solitude, and sense of purpose are among his findings. For additional perspectives, check SFQ-only subscribers receive just the 4 issues of Country Folks out Jill Swensons Book Nook column featuring Small Farm Memoirs. She that contain the SFQ insert for only $5 a year. describes one authors reasoning: It is discovering the wrenching pleasure of exhaustion from physical labor and that good food is the best reward Cooperative Extension Associations and other organizations Whether the warm Spring days are bringing you comfort, or bringing you uncertainty, I hope the growing season ahead turns out to be a fulfilling one. can offer their members a subscription to SFQ as a member benefit! As always, we would love to hear from you! Drop us a line anytime! Your organization collects the names, forwards them to Country Folks Subscriptions, and pays Country Folks just $2.50 for each subscriber. Sincerely, Violet Stone Country Folks mails out the copies. Bulk orders: You can order multiple copies of any issue for just 10 a copy! Minimum order is 50. Orders must be placed at Join the Cornell Small Farms Program on Facebook! least 4 weeks before the publication date You can now receive small farm news, events and much more on Facebook! This venue will help us to continue pro- To find out more, contact: Tracy Crouse viding great resources to the Northeast community without Country Folks Subscriptions cluttering your email inbox! Visit Cornell Small Farms P.O. Box 121, Palatine Bridge, NY 13428 Program on Facebook and click the Like button to see our 1-888-596-5329 email: [email protected]com resources pop up in your newsfeed.
4 Page 4 SMALL FARM QUARTERLY April 2, 2012 BOOK NOOK Farm Memoirs by Jill Swenson Georgia. Seeking a middle path between a literary account of what it a meatless lifestyle and the barbarism of is like to live intimately with There's nothing more enjoyable than factory food, Tim and Liz created Nature's animals who directly feed spending a spring afternoon indoors Harmony Farm. This is not a romance you. He reflects on the histo- reading a book while it rains outside or although it begins with this couple's pas- ry and literature of herding, while you wait for the mud to dry. sion for living in harmony with nature. explores the pastoral roots Memoirs export you to a different time Instead, it is a realistic account of the of so many aspects of and place and put the reader into the heartbreak of raising livestock. If you have Western culture, including shoes walked by the author. The genre of livestock, you will have dead stock. It's not poetry and literature, and memoir is very popular and there are for everyone to read, but those who care chronicles living by nature's basically two kinds: those about extraordi- about meat processing will find it a fair rules. This will be the book nary people who do ordinary things and account of the challenges and heart- that stays on my shelf and is those about ordinary people who do breaks. pulled down year after year extraordinary things. While some folks like to regain the words that so to read about the lives of celebrities, ath- Manny Howard lives in Brooklyn with his carefully explain why so letes, and politicians, and how they put wife, two children, and a dwindling num- many small farmers do what their pants on just like you and me. I ber of farm animals after he turned their they do. don't. 800-square foot backyard into the first Kristin Kimball is the author of The Dirty Life. farm in Flatbush in generations. My There's another memoir I I like memoirs that tell a story of personal Empire of Dirt (Scribner, 2010) is gonzo highly recommend along these literary lines that is not new. We Took to the As much as you transform the land by transformation and there have been so journalism in the form of memoir where farming, Kirstin Kimball wrote in The Dirty many good books in the past few years we learn too much about how sexy his Woods (1942) is a timeless account of liv- ing off the land. In her early thirties, in the Life, farming transforms you. Each of about homesteading and small scale wife is and how little real affinity he has these memoirs records this transforma- farming, but I also dug out a few old clas- for the animal kingdom. Finally, here's a 1930s, Louise Dickinson Rich took to the backwoods of Maine with her husband; tion in a way that honors the extraordi- sics for this review. city-dweller who understands the extraor- nary experience, expertise, and ethos of refugees from urban life during the Great dinary work of farmers largely through his ordinary small farm folks. Depression. They found their livelihood The new trend in small farm memoirs owned failed experiments. His intelligence and raised a family in the remote back- began in earnest when Storey Publishing, and good humor lay bare the economics Jill Swenson is a former farmer and the country settlement of Middle Dam, in the known for its how-to guidebooks for small involved in trying to raise a crop; he's president of Swenson Book Development, Rangeley area. Rich writes as though her animal farmers, released its first memoir been a guest on the Stephen Colbert LLC, based in Brooktondale, NY. She may life is an adventure story, full of humor, in 2008. Jenna Woginrich began as a big Report. be reached at [email protected] or and paints a portrait of a cherished city blogger who set out to build a more dream awakened into full life. 607-539-3278. self-sufficient lifestyle as an urban home- The Dirty Life is a love story. Single, thir- steader. Her first book, Made from ty-something writer working in New York Wessels Farm Wesplug Wessels Farm Wesplug Wessels Farm Wesplug Wessels Farm Wesplug Wessels Farm Wesplug Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a City, Kristin Kimball goes out on an Wessels Farm Wesplug Wessels Farm Wesplug Wessels Farm Wesplug Wessels Farms, Inc. Handmade Life, captured the exuberance assignment and falls head over heels. of a new generation who discovers This book is the story of the two love depression-era common sense. While she affairs that interrupted the trajectory of my blogged for the Huffington Post, Jenna life: one with farming-that dirty, concupis- shared her home with a flock of Scottish Blackface sheep, border collie, chickens, hive of bees, geese, rabbits, and some cent art-the other with a complicated and exasperating farmer. It is discovering the wrenching pleasure of exhaustion from Quality Plants: Grower to Grower pretty amiable neighbors. Her offbeat physical labor and that good food is the observations as she discovers traditional best reward when she finds the engage- Mum or Poinsettia Cuttings: farm skills make it an enjoyable read, ment she craved with this man, this small Quality Rooted Cuttings Started by our especially for someone who is not new to upstate New York community, and a country living. In BarnHeart (2011), Jenna beautiful piece of farm land. Experienced Growers. Woginrich returns with another memoir Plant-N-Ship: Pre-Planted Flats Available in Most about the state of longing for a farm of Hit by a Farm (Da Capo Press, 2006) is Common Tray Sizes. one's own. What she learns in dealing another farm memoir about a former city with small-town politics, cranky neighbors, girl. Catherine Friend lives in southeast- WESPLUG Plugs: and the loneliness that comes from run- ern Minnesota, where she and her part- No Minimum for Listed Varieties, 3 Tray Minimum ning a farm single-handedly, is to recog- ner, Melissa, raise sheep and cattle. The nize this longing as not for land but for liv- classic face of farming in Grant Wood's Custom ing a more authentic life. American Gothic was about to get a Limited Use of Growth Regulators - Our Plants Grow! facelift: two thirty-something women in bib Memoirs about the personal transforma- overalls holding pitchforks, (p. 6) Living Many Varieties to Choose From tions of becoming a farmer are not all off the land isn't quite the romantic idyll Local Grower - Delivered from Our Door to Your Door a Family Farm Since 1945 funny or romantic. Kurt Timmermesiter imagined by many urban homesteaders. was a bone-fide city dweller in Seattle At times hilarious and others sobering, it where he worked as a successful baker, chef, and restaurateur. Growing a Farmer: is the first of Friend's memoirs. Two Women, Fifty Sheep, and Enough Wool 94 Bull Road Otisville, NY 10963 How I Learned to Live Off the Land (W.W. to Save the Planet (Da Capo, 2011) Call Direct or Contact your Henry F. Michell, Richard D. Norton & Co. 2011) is a memoir about comes 15 years after Catherine and Smith, Fred C. Gloeckner, W.H. Milikowski or Griffin The Little Farm That Could with its dis- Melissa started sheep farming. They're Greenhouse Supply Salesperson. arming honesty as to the stumbles and tired. While it is one of the oldest profes- realities in making a small farm profitable. It's the story of someone who loved food sions, raising sheep doesn't get any easi- er. But sheep might be too valuable to as Call Today! 800-431-8353 or 845-386-5681 enough to learn how to raise it, not just the number of sheep in America has fall- prepare it. From practical advice on mak- en by 90 percent in the last 90 years. This ing your own apple cider vinegar, to is a fun story about wool and why small cheese-making, raising cows and slaugh- tering pigs, it's a foodie memoir. farms are important. www.wesselsfarms.com Brad Kessler, acclaimed novelist, lived in The Accidental Farmers (Harmony New York City but longed for life on land Bedding Plants ~ Hardy Chrysanthemums ~ Perennials Publishers, 2011) tells the story of Tim where he could raise his own food. Goat Song: A Seasonal Life, A Short History of ~ Poinsettias ~ Plugs ~ Summer Annuals ~ Plant-N-Ship and Liz Young who left their suburban life and became first-time farmers in rural Herding and the Art of Making Cheese is Wessels Farm Wesplug Wessels Farm Wesplug
5 April 2, 2012 SMALL FARM QUARTERLY Page 5 COMMUNITY AND WORLD Gleaning More of New York's Harvest By Rebecca Schuelke Staehr Cornell's gleaning project was launched in the summer low-income senior nutrition programs, and other of 2011, inspired by farmers who contacted Cornell hunger relief agencies. These efforts feed more than 3 A new collaboration among farmers, Cornell University about their interest in seeing an increase in donations million people annually, according to the Food Bank and New York's food banks aims to increase the of food from the farm. Recent projects and research Association of New York State. Food banks typically amount of gleaning, or food donated directly from tended to focus on the benefits of farm gleaning efforts receive food donations from grocery stores, food man- farms to the state's hungry. to the hungry, but often overlooked the benefits and ufacturers, wholesale brokers and distributors, and the risks, especially liability, for the farmer. Cornell government, with lesser quantities of food coming Gleaning is an ancient concept, thought to date to Old Cooperative Extension, the New York State Agricultural directly from individual and group efforts such as local Testament times, and carried through the medieval Experiment Station at Geneva, and the Cornell food drives. feudal system, when farmers and large landowners University Agricultural Experiment Station collaborated were encouraged or required by law to allow the poor on a research effort that reviewed gleaning efforts in Food bank directors said they are interested in New to gather crops in the field after the harvest. In con- New York State, including opportunities and obstacles. York farmers as sources of food for donation because temporary times, gleaning generally refers to volun- the food is locally grown, farmers are perceived to be teers collecting food from fields and donating the Among the top findings is that strong interest exists in community-minded, and New York lacks the volume of goods to food banks or pantries that serve the poor. expanding gleaning efforts. This interest comes from food processing and manufacturing facilities that are Food may be left behind because of mechanical har- many sectors: farmers, hunger relief agencies, agricul- sources of donations in other states. We have got to vesting losses, cosmetic blemishes to the produce, tural advocates, and others. A few major limiting fac- go to the source to get food donations. The more lack of markets for the crops, and other reasons, tors are: increasing knowledge about gleaning as an money that is invested in the product (as it moves including the desire to help others. Today, gleaning option, how to access gleaning programs, and suitable through the supply chain), the harder it is to get it also refers to food donations out of farmers' packing logistics for a successful gleaning effort. The logistical donated, said Peter Ricardo, director of special nutri- lines and storage houses. concerns include delivering food to those that need it tion projects for the Food Bank of Central New York. most in an economically viable manner, ensuring food New York farmers are no strangers to donating food. In safety, and preventing farmers from incurring additional The majority of food donated from New York farmers is 2010, New York farmers donated more than 5.6 million expense. The study also found that farmer liability, fruit and vegetables, but also includes dairy, eggs and pounds of food, according to New York Farm Bureau. I especially in allowing volunteer harvesters on private meat. Food bank directors said apples, onions, pota- would like this project to get bigger and bigger, said property, may be greater than many assumed. toes, and cabbage were the bulk of donated produce, Joan Smith, a dairy farmer from New Hartford, NY. along with lesser amounts of tomatoes, sweet corn, Smith recruited five neighboring dairy farms, in addi- The United States has long been known as a land of summer squash, winter squash, and other items. tion to her own, to donate beef to the Food Bank of plenty-and paradoxically, a nation where hunger con- Generally the produce that is donated has been har- Central New York. The food bank used grant funds to tinues to plague the population. The USDA estimated vested, but not sold. It may come right from the pack- pay the costs of processing and packaging the meat at in 2009 that 14.7 percent of the population, or 17.4 ing line or cold storage, said Joanne Dwyer, director a federally-licensed slaughterhouse, and to make million households, were food insecure, or were, at of the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York. deliveries to local food pantries. times, uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, enough food for all of the household members The Cornell-led gleaning effort plans to launch a pilot because they had insufficient money and other project this spring, to expand gleaning in New York resources for food. Nationally, 5.6 million households, State. The project hopes to develop guides to make it or 4.8 percent of the U.S. population, obtained emer- easier for farmers to donate food. gency food from food pantries one or more times dur- ing the year, according to 2009 government data. Rebecca Schuelke Staehr is coordinator of the Cornell Gleaning Project. She is also a vegetable and crop The eight regional food banks that comprise the Food farmer in New York's Finger Lakes region. Contact her Bank Association of New York State distribute food to at [email protected] 5,000 local food pantries, emergency food kitchens, How farmers can donate: To accept donations, food banks must have the ability to Farms with larger quantity donations, such as several field distribute or store food before the perish date. Picking up crates or more, may be able to arrange on-farm pickup by food at the farm requires adequate funds. a food bank truck. Some food banks have field crates available for farmers to use; in other cases, food banks To find your local food bank or food pantry, contact the may have funds to reimburse farmers for packaging costs. Food Bank Association of New York State, www.food- bankassocnys.org, or (518) 433-4505. Farms with smaller quantity donations may need to deliver food to a food bank, or local food pantry. Some pantries have volunteers who will pick up food at the farm. Maria Bacigalupo, member of the 4-H group "The Ariel Tavares, coordinator of the RECAP Food Pantry in Awesome Achievers," harvests apples at the Big Glean Middletown, NY in Pennings Orchard in Warwick, NY. Photo courtesy of Cornell Chronicle Photo courtesy of Cornell Chronicle
6 Page 6 SMALL FARM QUARTERLY April 2, 2012 COMMUNITY AND WORLD Tomato Therapy by Mason Donovan biggest changes to be his love of the land. generations, will tell you they feel the most Every major religion connects people to at peace when they are plowing the field There are so many reasons why we themselves and others by also connecting or planting seeds or harvesting. It is dur- decide to be farmers. Traditionally it has them to the earth. Charles noted how he ing these times away from the stand, been a profession passed down from one became a convert to nature. He was where one can find silence even amongst generation to the next. You were often someone who lived in cities his entire life. the roar of a tractor engine. expected to take on the stewardship of the The peace he achieved from life at the family land. Others took up farming as an monastery's country house was a fortu- When a question was recently posted on alternate revenue stream to the corporate nate fringe benefit. As a monk, he had six Facebook about why some take up gar- world as either a first or second career. prayer obligations a day, was host to a dening or farming, there was a commonal- However, it is not uncommon for the farm constant stream of visitors and cooked ity expressed in every answer. to wind up on the negative side of revenue every meal for the brothers and guests. by the end of the year. USDA's last cen- The seven days a week schedule created Nanda wrote of how she lost her will to sus showed the average net income of a a monastic life that paralleled the busy- live, but rediscovered it in seeds. Having small farm to be less than $7,000 per ness of what he left behind. Upon leaving an active hand in life gave her a new year. So why is it, that in today's con- the monastery to come to New sense of being. In another response, Solace at Blackwater Bluff Farm. sumer driven culture, so many are choos- Hampshire, his Spiritual Director said, If Allison spoke of her serious car accident Photo by Charles LaFond ing farming as a way of life? you really want a contemplative life, work which confined her to bed for two years. the land. Charles took this advice and Her husband built a raised bed behind You may have seen schools and churches The answer may be found more in the began to love farming outside the their apartment. She said, It gave me turning their once manicured hedges and black soil than in the green backs. For monastery walls. something to do that surrounded me with lawns into community learning gardens. such a question, I decided to approach life, beauty and a sense of purpose. Like Blackwater Bluff Farm, the monetary someone connected to the land and a His search led him to the Carlisle family return on investment is often realized as a much higher source. Charles LaFond, farm. It started in 1847 with 60 acres pri- The American Horticultural Therapy deficit, but the feeling of fulfillment is owner of Blackwater Bluff Farm in marily as a source of family sustenance. Association points to Dr. Benjamin Rush, a immeasurable. Though the taste of a Webster, NH, is a master potter and an Over the years, the land was subdivided signer of the Declaration of Independence warm rosy red Brandywine can draw a episcopal priest who serves as the out for family members. After several gen- and often noted as the Father of crowd, for some it may be the therapy in Reverend Canon for Congregational Life erations, the original lot sold to Charles American Psychiatry who reported how growing the tomatoes which really satiates in the Diocese of New Hampshire. was reduced to 2 acres with the home- garden settings held curative effects for our desire to farm. Seeking solace and reflection, he began stead. In collaboration with his neighbors, people with mental illness. There is no his way towards silence in a monastery. it is now brimming with chickens, bee question the calming feeling one receives Mason Donovan owns a hay farm in Monastic life secreted him away from the hives and an ever growing list of crops. when they leave the cacophony of visual Boscawen, NH and founded The Yard daily grind of noise which surround most The farm provides far more than table and audio noise of the city behind them to Project organization to protect farmland, of our lives. fare. As Charles describes the real rea- plant, tend or harvest a plot. It is noted as promote sustainable organic practices and son to tend the land, it feeds a soul hun- a medicinal treatment for returning veter- assist local farmers. Visit Although Charles expected his connection gry for uninterrupted silence. ans since World War II. VA centers across www.TheYardProject.com for more info. with those around him to change, it was a the country have or are in the midst of He can be reached by email at pleasant surprise to discover one of the Even those who have been farming for planning therapeutic gardens. [email protected] Farm Tech Using Online Surveys and Polls to Connect with Your Clients by Michelle Podolec gather more in-depth opinions. Also try mixing multiple market effectively and grow your business. choice, ranking, and fill in the blank questions to help Surveys help you gauge what your customers think of break up the monotony of a long survey. your business, and give you the chance to learn more about what they want from you. Online polls can help Tips for a great survey you gather feedback quickly and easily from your cus- tomers. While not appropriate for every business or situ- Name your survey or poll. Names should be short and ation (sometimes paper surveys can get a better to the point - tell your customers right in the title what response rate), there are some great free online assess- you are trying to accomplish! ment tools available for farmers that can help grow your The longer and more complicated your survey, the business. more difficult it can be to coax customers to finish the survey. Incentives (prizes, coupons, or giveaways) can Here at the Cornell Small Farms Program office, we help draw interest and enthusiasm. often use free online surveys and poll software to gather Be sure to include an introduction telling people WHY quick feedback on the best times for meetings, exploring you need the information. You should also be sure to emerging issues, collecting audience demographics, and include your contact information including business seeking online course feedback. You may find polls and name, phone number, and a link to your website. Survey customers about the best day to drop off a surveys useful in many areas of your business whether Set a goal and a time your survey will run - knowing CSA share. you are a small farm, a non-profit, or a community coop- how many individuals you would like to reach with your erative. survey or poll can help you decide when your survey is 'done'. When you have received enough responses, be Surveys can range from very short (one or two ques- sure to close the poll or survey and review your results. tions) to more-in depth (twenty minutes long or more) Advertising your survey or poll depending on the type of information you want to gather. Designing online polls and surveys is a learning process You are finished building your survey at last. You've - each time our staff develops one of these tools we reviewed your survey or poll, made sure the questions learn more about the best ways to frame and present are framed in a way that will get you the information you our questions, and gain more experience in analyzing want, added your contact information and website link. our results. Now it's time to get that survey or poll out to your cus- tomers! Target your audience - knowing which cus- Developing a survey or poll that gets at the data you are tomers you want to reach with your survey or poll can seeking can be more complicated than it initially help you select the best method to reach them. Online appears. It can be very helpful to draft up a survey or services will create an automatic web address for you. poll and then have a friend review to make sure ques- Sharing that link can be done through signs, newsletters, tions are clear, concise, and you are framing the ques- emails, letters, postcards, order forms, and word of tion in a way that gets to the heart of the information you mouth. really want. A few quick tips we've found helpful: keep questions simple and don't use farm jargon unless you The more you use online web polls and surveys, the explain it in the questions, only ask one question at a more comfortable you and your customers will be with Ask simple poll questions to your customers right from time, and use open ended questions and essay boxes to them. These great free online tools can really help you your Facebook home page using the Question tool.
7 April 2, 2012 SMALL FARM QUARTERLY Page 7 GRAZING Grazing and the Good Life By Meg Schader our cows or not - it was a built in assump- tion that we would. In the beginning, we This article was one of four winning received assistance from our Soil & Water entries in a writing contest sponsored Conservation District in planting our pas- by the New York State Grazing Lands tures and designing our paddock system, Conservation Initiative (GLCI). GLCI is and our Grazing Lands Conservation led by a Steering Committee of farmers Initiative grazing specialist helped educate and agricultural professionals to pro- us about how to supplement with grain and mote the wise use of private grazing supplements. In 2010, the Natural lands, and is funded by the USDA- Resource Conservation Service helped us Natural Resources Conservation to improve our laneway systems, which has Service. made the walks to and from the pastures cleaner and more efficient. Our family starts the countdown to grazing season in January, because this is when Grazing cows harvest their own feed and we really notice the hay mow disappearing. spread their own manure. What a simple, Five years ago, we wrote Cows Out with a beautiful system it is! We merely bring them Sharpie on our milk house wall, and we in to harvest the rich, yellow milk they pro- note the date there every spring. Last year, duce from the vitamin rich grass. During the 2011, we had trouble settling on a date to grazing season, our cows are in the barn write down, because our cows were out less than an hour a day. Since we start and then back in again several times - chores around 5 every night, this means Mother Nature just didn't want to turn the that our family can actually finish up some- corner to spring. In the past, our Cows where before 7 p.m., which definitely Out date has landed around April 20, improves our quality of life. which is the day when the cows go out and stay out until winter. Tonight, our family can make it to a 7 p.m. community concert. Later in the week I will Life is good when the cows are out. Milking be able to attend a land planning meeting and barn chores take an hour less every at our town office, and next month, our son morning and every night, which means that will make it to his cousin's birthday party on we have time to tackle all of the other tasks time. These events help strengthen our on our list. Since the grazing season is community ties, which in turn grows the also the time of year when we make feed web of relationships that we rely on to sup- for the winter, our to-do list gets longer, so port our family farm. we really need the extra couple of hours a day that we gain by sending our cows out Grazing works for our family farm. It is to pasture. healthy for our cows, pleasant for us, and it creates a beautiful landscape for our cus- Although we take care to keep our cows tomers and neighbors to enjoy. Actually, my comfortable in the winter with a bedded favorite tasks on the farm are bringing the pack in our barn, our Jersey cows just cows into the barn in the morning, and seem happier when they are out on pas- walking them out to the pasture at night. ture. Correspondingly, we find it easier and Most of the time I do this work alone, but more pleasant to move fences than to it's even better when I have my husband, move hay in, and manure out of the barn. my son, and my dog along to help. Since we process all of our own milk on our farm and operate an on-farm store, having Meg Schader and her husband Bruce are the cows out on pasture is also good mar- the owners of Wake Robin Farm, a 175 keting. Our customers love seeing a herd of acre dairy specializing in milk, yogurt and happy brown cows on green grass. cheese based in Jordan, NY. To learn more about the farm, visit http://www.wakerobin- When we started our dairy, we didn't even farm.org think about whether we were going to graze For more information on the Grazing tance with planning or starting up a graz- Lands Conservation Initiative please con- ing system contact your local USDA-NRCS tact Karen Hoffman at 607-334-4632 x116 or county Soil and Water Conservation or [email protected] For assis- District. The cows enjoying their pasture! Photo by Meg Schader
8 Page 8 SMALL FARM QUARTERLY April 2, 2012 NEW FARMERS Maines Original Duck Farm by Gina Simmons and Ryan Wilson and kept in a variation of the currently popular chicken ers, the market proved to be welcoming and plans tractor. These tractors are eight by sixteen feet long include doubling both flocks this year after the previ- Ryan Wilson and Gina Simmons, owners of Common and are framed with rebar that has been cut, bent ous flocks finish their laying cycle and are culled. Wealth Farm, in Unity, Maine, were surprised with and welded together. The result is light- their level of first year success. Finding an instant weight and easily moved by two people. In total, the farm raised three-thousand niche market and being established as a family farm Chicken wire is zip-tied around the birds in the first year; two-thousand gave way to a lot of progress in a short amount of tractor. The roof is pitched and cov- meat ducks and the other thousand time. ered with tarp, one side fastened consisting of meat chickens, holi- down, the other secured with day geese and layers. Before starting Common Wealth Farm, Ryan Wilson bungee cords and able to be had worked for a number of vegetable farms. Having opened for maintenance. A ten At first, no one had really met chefs during deliveries, he began asking what foot long PVC pipe is used for heard of us and I had to call they thought was missing from Maines agriculture, watering. It is capped on one ten new restaurants a week just and duck was the most popular response. Gina side and elbowed on the other. to get steady wholesale orders. Simmons, Ryans partner, had also been working for About thirty holes are drilled Then, the phone calls for ducks vegetable farmers. Their mutual enthusiasm and a across its length. The current pas- started coming and we sold out vision for starting their own farming venture began to ture is sloped and the pipe is lev- every week for about twenty grow. Both in their twenties, they make up part of the eled on one side with adjustable weeks straight, Ryan recalls. The larger community of young people returning to Maine straps. Hoses are adjoined and run the market for duck exists primarily in to farm. length of the field, each tractor needing to Portland and the Midcoast, where they be hand watered. Birds are delivered to restaurants committed to The Wilson family was on board are fed once a day, in the sourcing their food locally. Ryan and Gina attended a and purchased the property in morning. farmers market twice a week in Camden and are con- the fall of 2010. Ryan had grad- sidering joining more. uated from Evergreen State The 2011 season utilized four- College with a degree in In total, the farm raised teen tractors, eight for meat For Common Wealth Farm, a first year of success Ecological Farm Design and three-thousand birds ducks and six for meat chick- means the business can grow, which means more Business Planning. His father, ens. A four acre plot close to infrastructure. For the 2012 season, projects on the Charles Wilson, had just retired in the first year; the house is currently accessi- To Do list include: building a walk-in cooler, creating a from thirty years as an engineer. Both at a crossroads, they real- two-thousand meat ble for tractors and they were moved twice a day, slowly mak- more efficient watering system that utilizes other water sources, building movable housing for the new layers ized the team they could make. ducks and the other ing their way down the field and and putting up a one-hundred foot greenhouse to Jackie, Ryans mother, was back up. The pasture is able to brood birds in.and it continues. They have applied thrilled to have the whole family thousand consisting of regenerate itself during its peri- for grants available through the Natural Resources together again and in a rural meat chickens, holiday od of rest. With eighty acres, Conservation Service. The NRCS addresses projects setting. Tim, Ryans brother, and fifty in fields, the plan is to that help to maintain ecological balance on the work- had always dreamed of farming. geese and layers. extend the pasture used for the ing farm. Tori, Tims twelve year old poultry tractors. Different solu- daughter, was skeptical but with tions for handling predation During their off season, Ryan and Gina spend their hundreds of new pets she problems are being discussed. Saturdays at the Portland Indoor Farmers Market with decided to stay. their handmade bread and bagels and eggs for sale. The family built a processing facility in the corner of Running a little bakery out of the home kitchen, they Starting out, Ryan and Gina quickly established a rela- the previously existing barn for under eight-thousand produce about forty loaves and ten dozen bagels for tionship with the Maine Organic Farmers and dollars. The facility is licensed to process up to twen- winter market. While not close to a vacation, the winter Gardeners Association, also in Unity, becoming ty-thousand birds annually, without an inspector pres- months provide much needed time to reflect back on Journey Persons in a program that provides mentor- ent, under exemption PL 40-492. While current pro- the first season and gear up for the second. ship and help getting established. With John duction is nowhere near this figure, the facility is more Barnstein of Maine-ly Poultry as a mentor, they taught than capable of handling the farms current production For more information, please contact Ryan Wilson at themselves the tools of the trade, both raising and and is economical when considering the three to five [email protected] (207) 568- processing dollar 9068. the birds. As slaughter to be expect- fee, per bird, ed, the pas- charged by tured poultry a USDA production licensed was devel- butcher. Day Old Chicks: oped Ryan and Broilers, Layers Cornish through Gina Turkeys, Ducks Cross Broilers & much trial processed Colored Broilers and error. birds three NEPPA Hatchery (7 Meat Varieties) days a week Jill & Ken Gies Extremely hearty & 660 Fordsbush Road perfect for free range All birds are and will Ft. Plain, NY 13339 Layer Chicks, Turkeys purchased increase to email: [email protected] Ducklings, Guineas, Much More as day old four in the Write or call for prices & availability (814) 539-7026 chicks and coming sea- 518-568-5322 www.myerspoultry.com arrive in the son. mail. They are kept in On top of brooders processing until able to poultry for withstand meat, both outdoor tem- ducks and peratures, at chickens Combine Salvage two weeks in favorable were kept as layers. K & J Surplus weather. Despite hav- 60 Dublin Rd. They are Day old ducklings basking in the heat lamp ing many Lansing, NY 14882 then moved Photo by: Gina Simmons other local to pasture egg produc- (607) 533-4850 (607) 279-6232
9 April 2, 2012 SMALL FARM QUARTERLY Page 9 Welcome to the Northeast SARE Spotlight! SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) offers grants to farmers, educators, universities and communities that are working to make agri- culture more sustainable - economically, environ- mentally, and socially. Learn about whether a SARE grant would be a good fit for you. Favorite weeds include chickweed and lambs- quarters. In order to have an organic farm you need good compost, Using Foster Mother and the easiest way to make good compost is to have live- stock. So the Piaschyks raise goats, sheep, chickens, Hens to Raise Chicks on geese, and guinea hens as well as fruit trees and a veg- etable garden. This variety of crops requires constant multi- the Cheap Chicks learn from their foster mother to eat slugs and tasking. As he speaks about the broody hen project, Drew checks the sunflowers for seed. They're just beginning to by Elisabeth Rosen other pests in the garden. flower, he says. Once the flowers produce seeds, Drew can feed them to his livestock. How do you raise chicks without investing in expensive hens raised the turkey poults as their own, she says. We brooder equipment? Drew Piaschyk found success with a happened to have some hens down for the count on their To raise chicks the standard way, you need a brooder set clever ruse: he snuck several hens' eggs away and put the own eggs and we thought, why not try to get the hens to up in a secure place, away from heavier animals, which chicks in their place, as if the eggs had hatched overnight. adopt a ready-made family instead of setting up equip- could trample the chicks, and vegetables, which the chicks The foster hens protected what they believed to be their ment? could devour. But making sure the chicks are secure can new broods, and the Piaschyks saved a vast amount of be very expensive and time-consuming. One day, a hen time and effort-not to mention money, since having the Both Piaschyks come from farm families. Although Drew decided to show up with a group of chicks on the front hens take care of the chicks meant they didn't need to pay didn't grow up on a farm, his family has been growing veg- lawn. Without a brooder or any kind of shelter set up, Drew for brooder equipment. etables in the Central New York area since the first had to improvise. He grabbed a metal cover from a broken Piaschyk came here from Poland in the early 1900s. The dishwasher and put it in an enclosed garden, where fences With the help of a SARE grant, they carried out a con- city of Utica took over Drew's grandfather's produce farm in shielded his vegetable plantings from hungry deer and rac- trolled study to see if this trick would work on a larger order to build low-income housing, making the family tem- coons. Not only did the chicks survive-they actually did scale. porarily farm-less until thirty years ago, when Drew and extremely well. Now, two enclosed gardens serve as home Sandy started Lamb's Quarters, a 94-acre organic farm in to many of the Piaschyks' baby chicks. Sandy Piaschyk, Drew's wife, credits her mother with the Plymouth, NY. Unlike Drew, Sandy didn't have to come far idea. I remembered my mother telling me a story where to get here--the road they live on was named after Sandy's An added benefit of using foster hens? Pest control. Like she placed fertile turkey eggs under broody hens and the grandfather and her family's farm is right next door to hers. most mothers in the animal kingdom, the hens teach their brood how to forage for food. Not only does this reduce the farmer's feed costs significantly, it also presents an oppor- tunity to get rid of infestations. One chick saw me turning up soil, Drew says, and pretty soon I had three chicks fol- lowing me around, learning to eat slugs and other pests their mother wasn't training them to eat. When two groups of chicks learned about the Japanese beetle infestation in the asparagus patch, Drew went out in the early morning when it was still cold and knocked the beetles onto the ground for the chicks' breakfast. The birds also seemed to enjoy weed sprouts. Their favorites were chickweed (Maybe that's why they call it chickweed, Drew quips) and lamb's quarters. Using foster hens to raise chicks saves the cost of Chicks do well with a shelter in an enclosed garden One reason the Piaschyks' SARE project was so success- brooder equipment. setting. ful may have been that they focused on a very simple idea that was easy to implement. If you're considering applying Upcoming SARE Grant Deadlines for a SARE Farmer grant, think specific rather than large- scale. The ideas I've seen funded are small, practical and Sustainable Community Grants - staff, consultants, nonprofits, state Grants are capped at $15,000. can be applied immediately, Drew says. And whether your Due late fall/early winter departments of agriculture, and oth- Learn more at: project is big or small, be able to explain your expected Sustainable Community Grants are ers working in the agricultural com- http://nesare.org/get/partnership/ results. Once you finish the project, you'll have to do out- for projects that strengthen the posi- munity who want to conduct on- reach, whether that means giving presentations, writing tion of sustainable agriculture as it farm demonstrations, research, mar- Farmers Grants - Due late fall/early articles, or reaching out directly to other farmers. affects community economic devel- keting, and other projects with farm- winter opment. Communities and commer- ers as cooperators. Partnership Farmer Grants are for commercial This article discusses SARE grant FNE08-645. To view the cial farmers must benefit from these Grants allow agricultural service producers who have an innovative final report, visit proposals, and the selection empha- providers to explore topics in sustain- idea they want to test using a field http://mysare.sare.org/mySARE/ProjectReport.aspx?do=vi sis is on model projects that others able production and marketing in trial, on-farm demonstration, or other ewProj&pn=FNE08-645 For more information, contact can replicate.We also look for proj- cooperation with client farmers. The technique. Farmer Grants let com- Drew Piaschyk at [email protected] ects that are likely to bring about goal is to build knowledge farmers mercial producers explore new ideas durable and positive institutional can use, encourage the understand- in production or marketing; reviewers Elisabeth Rosen was a summer intern with the Cornell change and for projects that benefit ing and widespread use of sustain- look for innovation, potential for Small Farms Program in 2011. more than one farm. Grants are able techniques, and strengthen improved sustainability and results capped at working partnerships between farm- that will be useful to other farmers. $15,000. Learn more at: ers and farm service providers. Projects should be technically sound SARE offers sustainable agriculture grants, bulletins, books, an online events calendar and many other http://nesare.org/get/sustainable- Projects must take place on farms or and explore ways to boost profits, resources. Learn more about the Northeast SARE community directly involve farm businesses. improve farm stewardship, or have a program by visiting www.nesare.org or by contacting Reviewers look for well-designed positive impact on the environment Northeast SARE 655 Spear Street University of Partnership Grants - Due late inquiries into how agriculture can or the farm community. Grants are Vermont, Burlington VT 05405 fall/early winter enhance the environment, improve capped at $15,000. Phone (802) 656-0471 Fax (802) 656 -0500 Partnership Grants are for agricultur- the quality of life, or be made more Learn more at: http://nesare.org/get/ E-mail: [email protected] al service providers extension profitable through good stewardship. farmers/
10 Page 10 SMALL FARM QUARTERLY April 2, 2012 Small Farm Quarterly More information about the Cornell Cooperative Extension Youth Page Many thanks to 4-H Youth Development the 4H campers program can be found at: who contributed to this issue. http://nys4h.cce.cornell.edu Get Connected! Curly Sue Grows Up, Goes to Camp Find your local Cooperative Extension office By Cara Shulman CT: UConn Cooperative If I had a dollar for every time someone Extension 860-486-9228 asked me how I got my camp name, not only would I be rich, but I would never ME: UME Cooperative stop laughing. My name, for two months Extension 800-287-0274 out of the year, is Curly Sue. For anyone who is familiar with the movie about two MA: UMass Cooperative homeless scammers with hearts of gold, Extension 413-545-4800 picture the girl who plays Curly Sue. Can you see her brown ringlets and brown NH: UNH Cooperative eyes? That's what I look like. Extension 603-862-1520 When I was nine, my parents sent me off NY: Cornell Cooperative to 4-H Camp Bristol Hills for a week. Extension 607-255-2237 Little did they know how much I would like camp. While I can't remember much PA: Penn State Cooperative from that week, I can remember bits and Extension 814-865-4028 pieces of it, like my cabin (North Star), my exact bunk, and my counselor (Squeegie). I remember how nice every- RI: URI Cooperative Extension one was and how easily I made friends, 401-874-2900 which was especially important my first VT: UVM Cooperative year. Squeegie named me Curly Sue for Curly Sue is now a camp counselor reasons unknown to me, but from that Extension summer I always introduced myself at you sing them with a huge group of kids 866-622-2990 camp as Curly Sue and the name stuck. who are all singing slightly out of tune at Beyond my love for the traditions and the the top of their lungs. It's traditional scenery is my love for the people who worry about the stresses of school and Camp is about tradition, the people who songs like Princess Pat or singing come to camp every year. Every year my future, I don't have to try hard to fit work there, and so much more. After 85 Taps every night before bed that really after my first year, my friend Amelia and I in and I don't have to worry about the years since camp first began, 4-H Camp add to the experience. would go together, and later our friend drama of high school. But most of all, Bristol Hills is still up and running. Every Emily joined in. I remember calling each camp is the place where I can be myself season brings new renovations, new staff, 4-H Camp Bristol Hills is located on a other on the phone prior to camp to with some of the people I love most in and new activities, but the traditions make road that practically no one has heard of make sure we would all be in the same the world. The experiences I've had at me look forward to camp every year. in a town that wouldn't be seen on a cabin and doing the same things, a con- camp will always be with me, and I know map, but that doesn't matter. In fact, for versation that would usually turn to do that someday my children and grandchil- For example, the first meal at camp is someone like me who lives in town, you remember? about the previous sum- dren will hear stories about me when I pizza, which always seems to make camp is the perfect getaway. Not only is mer. I remember our kooky traditions, was their age. camp a little easier to adjust to. On the camp close by, but the scenery is amaz- inside jokes and just sitting outside the first night after we've all played a game ing; the sunsets are perfect Kodak cabins on a bench and talking. When I was little, I dreamed of becoming (generally Capture the Flag), we all head moments, and the fog on the hills in the a camp counselor. I have been able to up to the campfire to sing songs, perform morning is eerie and mysterious. Lying in Being at camp allowed me to become live that dream in recent years. To me, it skits, etc. Even for camp regulars, like the grass just looking up at the stars is independent of my parents (but not too isn't about doing the outlandish things in me, the camp songs never get old. And not something I get to do at home, and it independent), and it allowed me to grow life, it's about the memories you make. while you can sing camp songs all year, is those moments at camp that I just from a little girl to a young woman. Camp they're never quite the same as when want to savor. is the one place where I don't have to Composting Animals at Critter Care By Aleena and Drianna Borowiec at Camp! In Critter Care we take care of many different animals. There are By Kelsey Klaczyk and Mollie Mills sheep, chickens, snakes, bunnies, turtles, and rats. Different from what you might have heard, rats make great pets! The other ani- Composting is a cool idea for helping the mals have different qualities about them too. Did you know that environment! Composting is when you corn snakes can see up to a mile away? Or that male turtles have take used or rotting plants (fruits and round shells and the females have flat shells underneath? How vegetables) and put them in a bucket or about chickens having two stomachs? We learn all these things in pile. The plants will decompose into soil the Critter Care class. It teaches us to be responsible. We come in that is very good for gardens. I think it is every day for routine feedings and we learn about what animals awesome that we started a compost pile eat. We even get to handle them! When we hold the corn snake, at camp because of our garden and so we have to support his whole body or he will coil up around us. there won't be fruit peels all over! So, if Don't be afraid, he's only curious. So when you come to 4-H all of us at camp start putting food and Camp Bristol Hills, remember to sign up for Critter Care! plants into the compost pile, we're one Critter Care Turtle step closer to a healthier earth!
11 April 2, 2012 SMALL FARM QUARTERLY Page 11 The Story Behind Camp Names By Keira McClelland In-Training or during Staff toothpaste. The kitchen assis- Handsome. Muppet and Smurf Training Week. I chatted with tant who stays in our cabin is are named after how they talk. A tradition at 4-H Camp is for some of the counselors to find called Smiley. She got her Clueless told me When I was counselors to have funny nick- out how they got their camp name because I always smile 15 and I was walking by names while at camp. name. and I love drawing smiley Gleason Lodge (camp's infir- Counselors are given their faces. A female counselor got mary), I looked down, and then nicknames based on some- My cabin counselor was Cozi. her camp name Handsome walked right into a tree! She thing that happened to them Cozi got her name because because another counselor wasn't the only one that walked Bonding at Camp when they were a Counselor- she used Cortizone cream for would always say to her, Hey into a tree, Knock did also! Bench told me she almost fell off a bench in front of the whole camp! Shuga said I wanted it to be similar to my friend Spice's nameso we are Shuga and Spice. Our camp counselors are awesome! They make camp so much fun. I hope to become a camp counselor some day and have a really cool name. 4-H Educators Note: 4-H Camp Bristol Hills employees approximately 65 staff each summer. Young adults may start working at camp as a Kitchen Assistant (16 years of age), followed by becoming a Jr. Counselor (17 years old), Sr. Counselor (18 years old), Class Specialist (18-21 years old), and Program Director (18-21 years old). Staff are trained and guided by adult senior staff that focuses on devel- oping employment compe- tencies such as personal & supportive relationships, supervision & leadership, problem solving & decision making, planning & organiz- ing, critical thinking, and communication. 4-H Camp is typically the first employ- ment experience for over half of our staff. After an intensive one-week training program, these young adults are responsible for assigned campers while under close supervision and daily guid- ance from senior staff. Based on the results of end- of-the-season written sur- veys, the camp work experi- ence helped develop valu- able workforce skills. 97% of counselors indicated that their camp experience helped developed their com- munication, human relation- ship, and problem solving skills. 94% of counselors indicated that their leader- ship skills improved because of their camp experience. One camp counselor stated, I've learned a ton about myself as a leader and a teacher. Camp helped direct me toward my future profes- sion. To learn more about 4-H Camp Bristol Hills visit: http://www.4-hcampbristol- hills.org/
12 Page 12 SMALL FARM QUARTERLY April 2, 2012 RESOURCE SPOTLIGHT Realizing the Potential of NY Grasslands Report recommends taking action opportunity to integrate management dairy farmers face a lack of familiarity to realize the potential of under- intensive grazing into at least some of economic benchmarks, which in turn utilized grasslands as a farming portion of any livestock production sys- cause some lenders to shy away from resource that will spur rural eco- tem. A wide range of livestock opera- extending credit to these businesses. nomic development, grow the tions can be supported on under-uti- Additionally, there are specific knowl- regional food supply, and enhance lized grasslands in New York. Some of edge and production challenges for environmental outcomes for all the potential livestock enterprises could each type of farm that need to be citizens of New York State include niche and conventional beef addressed through research, educa- production and marketing, dairy cattle, tion, and extension. By Dan Welch sheep, goats, and exotic species. Other opportunities for grasslands include The Grasslands Utilization Work Team pasturing of poultry and hogs. Another There are over 3 million acres of grass- recommends taking actions in use of this land could be the production lands in New York State that are not research, education, extension, and of stored forages for pasture supple- currently being used for agricultural mentation and winter feeding. New live- policy to realize the potential of our production. This presents an opportuni- stock production operations on these grasslands as a farming resource that ty for the state to encourage economic lands build on existing infrastructure will spur rural economic development, development on these lands that will and knowledge in Upstate New York. grow the regional food supply, and lead to job creation, enhance regional enhance environmental outcomes for and local food security, and contribute all citizens of New York State. As rural Several barriers exist to the increases demographics shift, farmers need to be to sustainable agriculture enterprises. encouraging the sustainable use of this utilization of grasslands for livestock prepared to take advantage of land that Beef and dairy cattle farms return resource. The product of this effort is production. One of these barriers is could potentially be grazed. There is $2.40 of every $1.00 in sales to their the report; Green Grass, Green Jobs: farmers' limited access to these under- local communities in purchases, taxes, the opportunity for landowner educa- Increasing Livestock Production on utilized grasslands and capital to devel- and payroll. In addition, promoting agri- tion about grazing leases as well as Underutilized Grasslands in NYS. It is op agricultural enterprises. In some culture as a viable use for grasslands the potential for other types of farming hoped that this report will be a parts of the state, land has become reduces development pressure and operations to integrate a grazing enter- resource for extension educators in prohibitively expensive, and in other lessens the impact residential develop- prise into their current farms. planning programs, that policy makers parts competing uses such as develop- ment can have on communities. will consider the recommendations ment, conservation programs, energy crops, and minerals prevent establish- The Grasslands Utilization Work Team For the last several years a team of made by the team, and that farmers ment of grass-based agriculture. For would like to acknowledge the support farmers, Cornell Cooperative Extension can use the information to influence those interested in starting a grazing of the Cornell Small Farms Program Educators, Cornell faculty, USDA institution and agencies to make dairy, credit may not be available due and the USDA Natural Resources Natural Resources Conservation changes that will support grassland uti- to the perception that such a dairy farm Conservation Service in completing the Service staff, and staff from other non- lization in New York. cannot be profitable. On the other report. Copies of the report are avail- profit agencies has been working on a hand, livestock farmers other than able at www.smallfarms.cornell.edu report that outlines the current state of While there are several options for uti- the grassland resource in New York, lizing grasslands, livestock production and provides recommendation for is the focus of this report. There is the Photo Essay Spring Peeping Welcome to our new photo essay feature! For 2012, well be bringing you seasonal images from the Whole Systems Design Research Farm in the Mad River Valley region of Vermont. The farm is a demonstration site to test out regenerative food, fuel, and shelter systems that operate on current solar energy. To learn more about the farm and Whole Systems Design, visit http://www.wholesystemsdesign.com Enjoy the new life peeping up in your field or barn as another farming season takes shape! Featured in the photo are Cornish Cross chicks, one - two weeks old. Photo by Ben Falk
13 April 2, 2012 SMALL FARM QUARTERLY Page 13 URBAN AGRICULTURE Re-circulating Farms: Growing healthy, fresh food and a new local food culture By Molly Davis unused rooftops, including in Boston, to build re-circulating crowd. farms that operate all year long. Facing an average nightly low of 21 degrees, most City Roots also hosts field trips Boston-area farmers throw their hands up in January and Were looking to create a zero-carbon footprint in a for school children. McClam take a break. But with re-circulating farms which can closed-loop ecosystem that produces local, fresh, chemi- says the re-circulating farm grow plants (hydroponics), fish (aquaculture), or a combi- cal-free food in the cities, said Sky Vegetables CEO helps to teach biology lessons. nation of both (aquaponics) a farmer can continue gen- Robert Fireman. The filtration of the water erating revenue throughout the worst conditions that winter through the plants and fish is brings. Until this year, the roughly three year-old company has modeled on the biological focused on research, but their farm in Amherst, MA, cycles in a natural watershed. They can be located virtually anywhere, said Marianne already supplies fresh produce to restaurants around the Cufone, Executive Director of the Re-circulating Farms city. This year, the company will build its first two rooftop Its very educational and Coalition. And to me, that is one of the most notable farms for outside clients. didactic to people that come things. They can be in an urban environment, a rural envi- and view it, said McClam. ronment, a hot climate, cold climate, indoors, outdoors... The company is an ideal partner for supermarkets or restaurants looking to provide ultra-fresh, organic food to A Good Fit for Small Spaces Mini zipgrow tower in Re-circulating farms use continuously cleaned, recycled their customers. The Sky Vegetables system keeps crops In suburban Orlando, Florida, operation at Aquaponic water in place of soil to grow food in a contained system. warm in part by utilizing waste heat from the buildings farmer Sahib Punjabi has Lynx in Mount Dora, FL That, Cufone says, can allow the farms to operate without HVAC system. developed several models of Photo by Aleece Landis chemicals or antibiotics and be located right in the com- miniature re-circulating farms munities that will eat the food. Farmers can minimize Were trying to utilize all of the effects of the sun and all of to fit in small, underused spaces, such as storage rooms transportation costs and fuel by serving a local market, the waste products associated with a standard building, and patios. In only 18 square feet, Punjabis Zero Lot making fresh healthy food, produced in an eco-friendly said Fireman. The farms use about a tenth of the water Backyard Aquaponic System combines a variety of plant manner, more affordable. And, because the farm doesnt and a sixth of the nutrients as a conventional farm with a beds with a 55-gallon fish tank. connect to a watershed for either irrigation or run-off, the similar yield. The system does not use any herbicides, He aims to build a totally self-sufficient system that can be risk of releasing pollution or non-native species is virtually pesticides, or fertilizers. Operators enjoy immunity from deployed anywhere, from developing-world villages to U.S. zero. crop failures caused by droughts, frost, floods, storms, and neighborhoods. pests. Growing New Revenue Streams This was a far superior way to grow it locally, grow it natu- The founders of Sky Vegetables see some potential for But, he warns, its a lot of work. rally, without having to resort to harmful pesticides and fer- major market growth. The company looks for clients with tilizers and such, because if I did, my fish would die, said It will require engagement of the community, people that Punjabi. Goldfish require less oxygen than many food fish, work within the greenhouse, to produce a lot of food in a but still supply enough fertilizer to nourish lettuces, herbs, small amount of space. and vegetables. Punjabi uses a variety of bedding materi- als. Raising awareness Building a re-circulating system has raised the profile of The whole idea is that the plants absorb nutrients from Eric McClam and his fathers largely traditional soil-based the water so that pure water goes back to the fish tanks, farm in South Carolina. said Punjabi. Its been a very good marketing thing, something people A single 50-watt pump circulates the water through pipes. are very interested in and want to come and see, said Valves control the inflow into the beds. Punjabi empha- McClam. sizes the importance of maintaining the water chemistry, especially the pH and the nitrogen cycle. Colorado Aquaponics at Growhaus, Denver, CO And marketing is key for City Roots, not only because the Photo by Tawnya Sawyer harvest is sold partially on-site, but also because McClam A New Movement strives to build community in Columbia. He has hosted The early adopters of re-circulating farm technology are hundreds of volunteers and fun-seekers at their 3-acre attracted to the systems for a variety of reasons and urban farm, and the re-circulating system helps attract the have developed a wide variety of strategies. Cufone says shed like the Coalition to act as a unified voice for these farmers, helping to represent them in policy debates, raise awareness and support for the farms and coordinate research. Because as varied as their operations are, the farmers are all searching for a better way to feed the world. Re-circulating farms offer a way to grow healthy, fresh, local food in an environmentally friendly way. This is an alternative approach for growing that can help rebuild a healthy, sustainable food culture in the U.S. Cufone said. For more information on re-circulating farms, please con- tact Marianne Cufone, Executive Director of the Re-circu- lating Farms Coalition, at (813) 785-8386 or [email protected] latingfarms.org. Follow @recircfarms on Twitter, and like Re-circulatingFarms Coalition on Facebook. Rt. 20, Sharon Springs, NY (800) 887-1872 or (518) 284-2346 1175 Hoosick St. Troy, NY (518) 279-9709 Sahibs Aquaponic Produce Farm in Winter Park, FL
14 Page 14 SMALL FARM QUARTERLY April 2, 2012 Stewardship and Nature Off the Ground: Conservation Program Promotes both Hay Yield and Bird Habitat In our last two Stewardship and Nature columns, the National Audubon Society described the partnership they have had with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and landowners to facilitate the manage- ment of wildlife habitat to promote avian species (birds). In this article Toby Alexander explains the process used to develop an agronomic practice and financial incentive for the benefit of grassland birds and farmers in Vermont. -John Example of enrolled hay-alfalfa field. Thurgood, column editor the NRCS with an idea. You can't manage for wildlife on inten- sively managed agricultural land. That Noah and Allan worked with Vermont is what skeptics would say. But part- NRCS Biologist Toby Alexander to ners in Vermont concerned with con- develop a management plan that would servation of declining grassland song- continue to support agriculture but birds had an idea. And, they proved the would also provide breeding opportuni- skeptics wrong. ties for grassland birds in a unique and innovative way. Historically, hayland Starting in 2002, University of Vermont management for grassland birds has (UVM) research on grassland bird sur- been to delay all mowing until after the vival and nesting on hayfields in the breeding season. This is great for birds Champlain Valley of Vermont began to but provides limited potential for keep- show an interesting pattern to the ing agricultural land very productive. researchers. True to accepted knowl- Since these birds are so tied to grass edge, intensively hayed fields (3 or based agriculture in much of their more cuts a summer) basically provid- range, managers need better tools to ed no breeding success to species be able to work with farmers in a work- such as bobolinks and savannah spar- ing landscape. The management pro- rows. Breeding success is indicated by posed and implemented in Vermont numbers of fledglings (young birds allowed active agriculture to continue, leaving the nest) produced per female with three cuts of hay a year, while per year. The researchers, then PhD increasing breeding success from 0 candidate Noah Perlut and Professor fledglings to 2.8 fledglings per female Dr. Allan Strong, found a distinct pat- per year. This level of breeding success tern through their breeding timelines is nearly as high as if the field were set where the bulk of the nesting of these aside during the entire summer. birds took place in Late May through early to mid July. They decided to go to The management is relatively simple. The farmer can continue to get their See Off the Ground page 15 Bobolink nestlings in a field enrolled in Adult savannah sparrow. the program since 2008.
15 April 2, 2012 SMALL FARM QUARTERLY Page 15 HOME AND FAMILY Spring Forward By Ron MacLean 13, 1993. Regardless of the weather con- arrival of warmer temperatures and the to deal with during the month of April ditions, Daylight Savings Time starts on longer, sunnier days causes a renewed every year without wet feet. In the Northeast, usually Spring is a ren- the 11th of March and Spring officially energy level that has been hibernating aissance after a long, cold, snowy sea- starts on the 20th. Spring Forward ! since late autumn. The melting snow pack in March and son. This past winter, however, never early April is sometimes referred to as really arrived. On February 2, 2012, the For the garden and flower aficionados in As Spring transitions from unpredictable poor farmers fertilizer because day Punxsutawney Phil predicted 6 more our part of the country, Spring is reflected weather in March, snow quite often dis- snowflakes pick up nitrogen on their fall weeks of winter, there was little or no by the blooming of forsythia, crocuses, appears by the end of April. April to earth and release it during the melting snow cover in much of the Northeast. daffodils and later red bud, lilac, flowering Showers Bring May Flowers is a rhyme process. It would seem that gradual snow crab and dogwood trees. However, for dating back to 1557 when Thomas Tusser melt, aided by gentle, periodic showers Spring arrives in March followed by her those folks who work the soil and are created a collection of writings called A and moderating temperatures would be sisters, April and May, close behind. anxious to get out-of-doors, springtime is Hundred Good Points of Husbandry. The most beneficial to growers. After all, the March is usually an extreme transitional an opportunity to shed some of those April Husbandry was the short poem: ground has to be somewhat drier to allow month. Some of the Northeasts more sig- heavy and cumbersome warm clothes Sweet April showers, Do spring May flow- fields to be worked in preparation for nificant storms occur in this month. The and get down a layer or two. Farmers and ers. Even long ago, folks had to endure planting. Late planting, late crops. Super Storm of the Century plowed gardeners start itching to get out and pre- the rain in April in order to reap the blos- through much of the U.S. on March 12- pare the fields or beds for planting. The soming of flowers in May and crops in When all is said and done, most vegeta- summer. bles and crops are planted or sowed well after the melting snow pack in March, the Small Farm Quarterly is Many of you are familiar with, and maybe showers in April, the warming tempera- wear, those black knee-high boots that tures of May, in June. I say Spring farmers have worn for decades to keep Forward! Recruiting! dry. Today they come in various colors and are called different names like muck Ron Mac Lean grew up in a small village boots, chore boots and yes, work boots. in Central New York. He is now retired Some think they were created to muck and lives in the Finger Lakes Region, We are looking for several new members to join the out stalls and stanchions. I think they where he looks forward each year to fre- were really invented to help anyone work- quently enjoying fresh spring asparagus Small Farm Quarterly Editorial Team, and we are ing outside to be able to just get through harvested by a local produce farmer. always looking for new writers and photographers. all of the precipitation and mud they had We are especially looking for editors and writers from outside of New York State, so that we can Starting a Farm? Visit our Northeast Beginning Farmers Project online resource center! Enter improve our coverage of New England and the New Farmer Hub to start drafting your business plan with the help of Pennsylvania small farm issues and innovators. All tutorials and interactive worksheets. Find answers to common questions, SFQ editors and writers are volunteers. If you're browse the Guide to Farming, and check out the latest beginning farmer interested, please contact Violet Stone at 607-255- online courses. You can browse our events calendar, subscribe to our month- ly e-news, follow our blog, or visit us on Facebook and Twitter, all from the 9227 or [email protected] homepage of the new site: at http://nebeginningfarmers.org Off the Ground from page 14 2007. Since then Vermont NRCS has enrolled about practice in 2013. first cut of hay in mid to late May. They then will delay 1,300 acres of hayland under this management. The the second cut 25 days longer than normal which management regime has been evaluated and proven The study was funded in part by the NRCS equates to 65 full days. After delaying the second cut, to be a success on enrolled fields through continued Agricultural Wildlife Conservation Center with a they can continue to make additional cuts on their research and monitoring by UVM. The success of this resulting Wildlife Insight #88 titled Management own schedule through summer and fall. By providing management is due to the researchers taking a prac- Considerations for Grassland Birds in Northeastern a little more time during the peak of the breeding sea- tical approach and working collaboratively with the Haylands and Pasturelands. The findings from this son, grassland birds receive a significant improve- NRCS to create a practice that both supports agricul- study have been published in numerous peer ment in breeding success. UVM and NRCS designed ture and a declining suite of species. reviewed scientific journals with a specific article on an incentive based practice that would set a schedule this NRCS funded management in the Journal of for the first two hay harvests and compensate the If you would like to implement the Grassland Bird Wildlife Management, A Model for Integrating Wildlife farmer for the loss in value of the second cut of hay. Management practice on your farm, please contact Science and Agri-environmental Policy in the your local NRCS office. For a directory please see: Conservation of Declining Species. Finally, an article The practice was first offered through the www.nrcs.usda.gov. Due to an unforeseen set of cir- on the study and this management was published in Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) in cumstances, VT NRCS was unable to offer this prac- December of 2009 in National Audubon magazine - tice in Vermont for 2012, but hopes to reinstate the Buying Time. Put Some Spring into your Spring Fencing Projects The Agri-Mark dairy cooperative works year-round for higher farm milk prices, 2033 Brothertown Road better markets and effective dairy Deansboro, NY 13328 Phone: (315) 841-4910 legislation on behalf of our Northeast Fax: (314) 841-4649 dairy farm families. 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16 Page 16 SMALL FARM QUARTERLY April 2, 2012 Non-Dairy Livestock The Perfect Sheep Pasture By Ulf Kintzel GRASS at all by sheep. The Barolex tall fescue I Sheep like timothy and do tend to graze it seeded did not meet my expectations. While The perfect is the enemy of the good. short-too short. In addition, it doesn't grow it does grow and yields a fair amount of Voltaire much after the spring flush. However, in this grass, the sheep don't much care for it. The area it is the cheapest grass seed that is intake is so reduced that I would worry about In a sheep farming operation that relies on available and timothy allows itself to be frost- overall intake if that were the only kind of grazing alone without feeding any grain, the seeded. It is an easy and cheap filler when grass the sheep would have available. pasture is of utmost importance. If the your budget is tight. demand is such that the lambs should be fin- My strip of meadow fescue was sown ished in a time as short as possible, the Bluegrass has been around for a long time where it stays in part wet longer in the pressure is high. I am in that situation. I finish and I never mind having it in my pasture. spring. According to the description of the Sheep like it, it makes a dense sward, and it grass, meadow fescue doesn't mind wet feet. Tall fescue yields well but is not much my lambs between 3 and 6 months with the average being 4 to 5 months. The target is persistent, even in less than ideal condi- That turned out to be true. This grass is well liked. weight is 80 to 90 lbs. live weight or 40 to 45 tions. The downside is the lack of yield and it liked by the sheep. However, it doesn't yield to keep plenty of red clover around? I think lbs. hanging weight. That requires that the is prone to drought. The Ginger bluegrass I much and it heads out early. Although I have so, although I don't think that this reseeding lambs are getting pushed almost every day seeded does grow a little higher and more nothing to say against the grass, I don't see process will amount to as thick a stand that I to eat as much as possible. erect and yields a little more. I like to have it much benefit of adding this grass to a pas- achieved after frost-seeding a couple of in a mix with other grasses, but as a pure ture mix other than wanting some diversity. I fields. In fact, red clover was an excellent Several factors such as climate, soil, and stand it just doesn't yield enough. It is nice to have some volunteer meadow fescue. They economical choice to instantly beef up low amount of input (fertilizer) influence what kind have right around the barn where the pas- like that just as well. yielding fields. of grasses and legumes should be selected. ture experiences more traffic and some I am in upstate New York, thus I use only abuse at times. On a side note: Bluegrass is LEGUMES Many publications advise to not graze red cool-season grass species. I have mainly the most common grazing grass in Germany Clovers have the advantage of fixating nitro- clover while sheep are being bred. Red where there is usually not much of a summer gen from the air. It is said that a percentage clover contains an estrogen-like substance. slump in growth. of clover higher than 30 percent in the pas- Studies suggest that this phytoestrogen low- ture mix takes care of the needed nitrogen ers the conception rate. I have pastured lots The native orchard grass (since orchard for that pasture. I prefer 50 to 70 percent of red clover during breeding season and grass never is native, but may have volun- clover in my pasture. Other than the ability of have found no negative effect, or the effect is teered to come into the pasture I keep put- causing bloat, I see no downside to having insignificant. In East Germany, where I come ting it in quotation marks; many people refer lots of clover. from, we pastured sheep frequently for to the volunteering kind as being native) is months on pure stands of red clover. I recall one of the highest yielding grass species. It is But what about bloating and possibly losing a field trial that found no significant effects of also quite drought resistant. Sheep eat it and sheep? Since grazing has become popular, I red clover on the conception rate of sheep. tend to not graze it too short. Whatever the find much advice in various publications on sheep don't eat during the growing season how to prevent bloat. Much of it seems to The white clover that volunteers at my farm can always be grazed in the fall and winter. have derived from dairy cows and does not is the low growing and low yielding kind, The biggest downside of native orchard work for sheep. Here is what I suggest: The often referred to as Dutch white clover. grass is that it heads out extremely early and single most important advice is to never let However, it is a welcome volunteer. Alice, immediately loses all palatability. However, the sheep go hungry before rotating them Ladino, Kopu 2, and Huia New Zealand Ryegrass (left) and orchard grass (right) once the seed stems are bush-hogged, it into the next pasture cell. Hungry sheep will yield significantly different under the white clovers are much higher yielding. So yields well throughout the rest of the summer eat fast and hastily and have lots of room in far, my experience with Ladino white clover same low-input conditions. and fall and stays quite palatable. the rumen for gas to develop. Sheep that are was a bad one back in the 90s. An excellent not so hungry will eat slower and there is stand vanished after two years. Honeoye silt loam soil. Additionally, I have The late-heading Baraula is so far the clear simply not enough room in the rumen to some Lansing silt loam and some Lima silt winner at my farm. It heads out 2+ weeks allow the development of enough gas to kill I tried Alice white clover with much greater loam soil. These soils are all limestone later than native orchard grass. Even after it the sheep. Aside from that, don't offer too big success. Alice seems to be very aggressive derived, which means the need to lime is lim- has headed out, it has far more palatable a cell, as that increases the likelihood of and is very competitive. In 2009 I frost-seed- ited. I will consider some applications of lime leaves than native orchard grass. It yields bloat. You will still lose a sheep or two but ed Kopu 2 and separately Huia New Zealand in the future in certain areas of my farm but very well without much input and it stockpiles they had to go anyway - they were prone to white clover on many acres at about 2 have not yet felt the need to do so. The only well. I am very pleased with it. bloat. What won't work is feeding hay before pounds per acre. White clover establishes far input I have chosen so far is the hay that I letting them into the pasture with clover. It slower than red clover and has no significant am buying, which I feed mainly in the pasture also won't work to let the dew dry off before impact until its second year. Now I can see during the winter. I do not buy any commer- letting them in. And don't try treating a how well a stand was established with such cial or any other fertilizer. sheep when you see some bloat developing. little seed. Of course, white clover is not as In your attempt to rescue the sheep, you are high yielding as red clover. However, white When I bought this farm about four years likely to kill it because its heart rate will be clover has several advantages that other ago, half of it was hayfields that hadn't been elevated. Take it from me, I killed enough clovers or legumes don't have. Firstly, it does- reseeded or fertilized in several years. They sheep with bloat before I reached these con- n't lignify when the temperatures get above are predominately timothy, native orchard clusions. I understand I side-drifted a little, 90 degrees. Secondly, its energy versus pro- grass, bluegrass, and some fescue. The but I want you to lose the fear of tein content is balanced. Furthermore, white clovers that are growing here are red clover, clovers/legumes if you had any. clover can be very persistent. Lastly, it does Alsike clover, and Dutch white clover. A good not lose palatability no matter how mature chunk of the land was hayfields that hadn't Although I have the name White Clover in the stand is. In short, it is great to have white been used in several years and needed to my farm name, its red cousin is currently just clover in the pasture with no downside to be bush-hogged to rid them of weeds and as widespread on my farm. There is a lot of it....well, unless you fear the afore-mentioned brush. A 14-acre parcel was a pumpkin field red clover that volunteers. The hayfields that bloat. at the time of purchase, and I decided to Orchard grass and (Huia) white clover didn't yield much red clover the first year it make my own test plot. First, I seeded the are desirable species in a sheep pasture. was converted into pasture showed much I also frost-seeded Ladino white clover in a grass in pure stands. The grasses I planted more red clover in subsequent years. I newly acquired 20-acre parcel. I chose that were Baraula orchard grass, BG 34 peren- Much has been said and written about how assume that the increased amount of day- one despite my previous bad experience nial ryegrass, Barolex tall fescue, Bartura wonderful perennial ryegrass can be. I am light that now reached the ground helped simply to try yet another variety of white meadow fescue, Ginger bluegrass and, sure this holds true when it receives a good germinate the existing seeds. Red clover clover. Since it is the first year of its establish- since I ran out of seed and the neighbor sells amount of fertilizer, especially nitrogen. On does not lose much palatability as it matures, ment, the jury is still out on this one. it, Climax timothy. I used the following my farm I consider the BG 34 perennial rye- it doesn't get trampled down easily, and it legumes to inter-seed them with all the grass grass a failure. It never grows tall and never does stockpile quite well and long, especially I had some stands of Alsike clover develop- stands: Kura clover, Alice white clover, and yields much. It is slow to recover. Sheep do if there is some snow cover. And did I men- ing. Alsike clover is in size somewhere in Viking bird's-foot trefoil. In the past 4 years I like it and are likely to eat it too short in a tion that sheep love to eat it? between Dutch white clover and red clover. have frost-seeded local red clover, Kopu 2 very short time, while they leave stands of Sheep like it. The big advantage of Alsike white clover, and Huia New Zealand white other grass alone. Thus, managing the rota- It is said that one of red clover's disadvan- clover is that it grows well on slightly acidic clover in the existing hayfields. tional schedule becomes more difficult. I am tages is its lack of persistence. In a grazing soils. In fact, it grows on our farm in the few not likely to seed ryegrass again. system like mine there will always be plenty spots where it stays wet long in the spring. Here are my experiences with the grasses of seed heads that can develop and the and legumes I find on my farm. The tall fescue that volunteered is not liked clover can reseed itself. Will this be enough See Sheep Pasture Page 19
17 April 2, 2012 SMALL FARM QUARTERLY Page 17 LOCAL FOODS AND MARKETING Is Your Honey Green? New Apiary Certification Program for Natural Beekeepers By Dr. Buddy Marterre and Alice Varon need the financial incentive and are just could be from a formal network like a ronmental challenges, it can be inspiring looking to be part of a local community county beekeepers association or from to join with others who choose to use We all know honey bee health is of beekeepers. For those who do have an informal network of natural beekeep- natural methods to heal and strengthen threatened by pesticides, mono- a financial incentive, apiary certi- ers in your area. the honey bee population. culture crops, in-hive chemi- fication has a lot to offer. It cal treatments, pests and helps market your natural Completing the application should take For more information on the Certified diseases, and colony col- honey by offering promo- 15-30 minutes. You'll be contacted by Naturally Grown program, visit www.nat- lapse disorder, among tional materials, attractive CNG within one to three weeks of sub- urallygrown.org. other things. One result sticker-labels, a profile of mitting your application. If it is accepted, has been a rise in natural your apiary on the CNG the following steps will complete your Dr. Buddy Marterre is an Eastern beekeeping, regarded by website, and the prestige of certification: Apicultural Society (EAS) Master many as the surest way to affiliating with a well- Beekeeper, North Carolina State support the health of honey respected national program. 1. Sign and return a one-page declara- Beekeepers Association Master bees. tion. This indicates you understand the Beekeeper, Past Vice President and cur- The CNG apiary standards offer standards and won't market as CNG any rent Membership Secretary NCSBA. He Beekeepers may wonder, is there a way guidance on how to manage your non-certified hive products. has taught bee school to over 450 stu- to convey the value of your natural meth- colonies without exposure to synthetic 2. Send a financial contribution. CNG dents since 2004. ods and gain a premium for your honey? chemical treatments. They not only recommends contributions of $75 - $200 Is organic certification an option? Until define what is required and prohibited to but it's up to each member to determine Alice Varon is Executive Director of recently, the answer to these questions remain certified, but also give recom- the exact amount. Certified Naturally Grown. She started was no for most beekeepers. mendations on best practices. They are 3. Arrange your apiary inspections. Two keeping bees in 2010 and is a member strict but doable. A comprehensive list of inspections per season are required and of the Ulster County Beekeepers We, the authors of this paper (Buddy allowed and prohibited substances is should be carried out by beekeepers that Association. Contact her at [email protected] and Alice), were very frustrated by this included in the certification guidelines, you know. rallygrown.org. situation. A few years ago we joined available on the website and also pub- 4. Inspect another CNG api- forces - and with the help of expert bee- lished as a booklet: Handbook for ary (if there is one in your keepers from across the country - draft- Natural Beekeeping, available at area). This is the work ed standards for 'Certified Naturally www.naturallygrown.org/store. requirement, and it can be a Grown's' apiary certification program. great benefit, as it provides For those moving away from synthetic an on-site opportunity for The primary purpose of CNG's apiary treatments, a transition table lays out the learning. program is to encourage beekeeping time frame and steps needed to achieve practices that will support the health and full certification. CNG's apiary certifica- Once you are fully certified, welfare of honey bees in America. The tion is tailored for beekeepers with you will receive a certificate program does this by: 1) providing between 3 and 300 hives - ideal for hob- in the mail. You may use the detailed guidance on best practices; 2) byists and sideliners. Certified Naturally Grown strengthening the natural beekeeping name and logo, and pur- community through local networks of Details on how to get certified are on the chase labels and other pro- mutually-supportive natural beekeepers; CNG website www.naturallygrown.org. In motional materials. You'll and 3) creating a financial incentive for keeping with CNG's grassroots model, have an apiary profile on the natural beekeeping through certification. you'll find a little twist: before applying, CNG website, which you you'll need to identify at least two other can customize with descrip- Some participating beekeepers don't members of your local network. These tive text and photos. But it might be that the great value of the CNG apiary program, and the reason many beekeepers have cho- sen to participate, lies in the learning opportunities and sense of camaraderie that it Beekeepers enrolled in the Certified Naturally fosters and strengthens Grown program among natural beekeepers. Photo by Alice Varon In the face of daunting envi- Call today for your installation: Winter time may be a good time to turn your cows out for a day of renovating. Call today to pick your installation date - 717-442-8850
18 Page 18 SMALL FARM QUARTERLY April 2, 2012 LOCAL FOODS AND MARKETING Faces of our Food System: J. Kings Get to know a local food distributor in our 2012 feature series By Becca Jablonski peppers, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, anywhere once they go through this level chefs would show up and take a look at and lettuce, are sourced primarily from of certification. the products. What we found is that yes, This article is the second in a series the east coast. The only time that we some chefs came, but so did regular cus- highlighting distributors of New York don't get product from the east coast is Q: Have you seen an increased tomers. So after the first few weeks, we State farm-grown products. For our when there is a weather event. The local demand for locally-grown products in got our act together and got a register. It second spotlight, I spoke to Joel products coming from Long Island are recent years? has grown steadily each year and we Panagakos, the Executive Vice really our main source of those products. A: The demand has been increasing dra- keep it open to the public. I should men- President for Produce at J. Kings, About 70-80% of the products I men- matically for the last 5-6 years. It is on tion that J. Kings runs the market. We located in Holtsville, New York, on tioned come from Long Island during the the front burner of everyone's thought purchase all product from producers in Long Island. J. Kings has been in summer months. process. In my opinion, it is what will advance, so it isn't farmers who are business since 1974. They have over In addition, we work with apple growers save the produce industry in NYS. physically at the market. But this gives us 400 employees, and a 125,000+ square in the Hudson Valley and the Western a nice opportunity to help small produc- foot warehouse. I wanted to feature J. part of the state. We also purchase Q: How have you responded to this ers find additional markets so they can Kings because they have the desire squash, onions, potatoes, and cabbage demand? expand to the next level. For example, we and ability to support all kinds of NYS from Western NYS. We can get NYS A: Well, luckily, we had these relation- work with a producer who makes fantas- growers. From purchasing small-scale apples from Sept-June (growers have ships with farmers established. There are tic goat cheese. We purchase her prod- locally-grown products to sell at their made huge advances in terms of their limitations based on the acreage in pro- uct and sell it retail at the farmers' mar- weekly farmers' market, to distributing ability to store products). We sell NYS duction. The farmers can lease more ket. A few chefs tried it, and though the products throughout the New York and apples to 85-90 schools in the Long land and try to plan accordingly. We hold price is high, they are now using it in LI Metro area school system, they can Island area, as well in the Connecticut a meeting with farmers right after the hol- their restaurants. This has enabled her to work with farmers as they scale-up, and West Chester school districts. We iday season (Christmas/New Years) and expand production. and provide appropriately sized out- can actually get potatoes from Long we give them predictions of what we lets from one level of production to Island through Feb. The schools are real- need for the summer. So we work togeth- Q: Are you looking for additional the next. ly demanding these locally-grown prod- er in the planning. For example, if we did- growers? ucts. n't have enough green peppers of a cer- A: We have multiple companies in addi- Q: How long has J. Kings been work- tain size last year, we work with a grower tion to the distribution company - for ing with farmers? Q: How many growers do you work to make sure they can meet our cus- example, we have a manufacturing com- A: Since 1989 - that's the date that we with? tomer's specifications and demands. Our pany that does slicing and dicing of fruits started the produce division within the A: We work with 22 independent Long customers have become much more and vegetables, we also have a meat company. In the company I ran before I Island farmers. We pick up product from specific about they want (for example, company that processes meat, and there started at J. Kings, I had developed rela- them 7 days/week in season and we size, color, packaging), so we can work is also a company called Green Apple tionships with a variety of Long Island deliver the product the day after we pick with growers to ensure these needs can Foods that provides a one stop shop for growers. It was customary in the summer it up. It is all based on purchase orders. be met at affordable prices. smaller retailers interested in purchasing to purchase local corn, tomatoes, etc. We ask growers a week in advance for locally-grown products. So, we are and I brought this practice with me to J. their best guess of the quantity that they Q: What are the challenges you face always interested in working with more Kings. What started off as small purchas- will have available. We do all pick ups working with NYS farmers? growers. Even if they aren't the right fit es really blossomed as time went on. and back hauls, and store everything at A: If we talk about the Long Island farm- for J. Kings distribution, they might be Originally, most of the purchases were our warehouse. As I mentioned, we also ers, the land is precious here and very able to provide product for us to sell at for sales to food service customers, and have relationships with growers in the expensive. It is also more difficult to put our farmers' market or through one of our not for retail. But recently, retail sales Hudson Valley (particularly apple grow- together a work force here. The costs of subsidiaries. have really increased - particularly with ers) and in Western New York too. farming are just higher than farming in Stop and Shop supermarkets. Stop and more rural areas. Customers do expect Q: If farmers are interested in partici- Shop begins their locally-grown program Q: Are all the producers you purchase to pay more for the product than they pating in the farmers' market who in April with asparagus and ends in from GAP (Good Ag Practices) certi- would out of NJ, and luckily as trans- should they contact? November with cauliflower and broccoli. fied? portation costs increase for West Coast A: If there are farmers' interested in There are about 50 Stop and Shop A: Yes. We are also one of the owners of product, we can keep costs fairly consis- being a source of supply for the farmers' stores participating, mostly on Long a company called Proact (America's tent between the Western US and LI market, they should contact me via email Island and in Queens. leading food service distribution system grown products. But land costs and labor and I will connect them to the right per- of fresh produce, a cooperative owned by really remain a challenge on Long Island. son/department. My email address is Q: How much of the produce that you 38 companies) and there is a greener [email protected] sell is grown by NYS farmers? fields initiative through that company to Q: When I visited this summer, I A: In season, products such as green help producers become nationally certi- noticed the farmers' market in your Becca Jablonski is a PhD student at fied. We started parking lot. When did you start the Cornell University conducting food sys- working with farmers' market and how successful tems research. She may be contacted at about 5 of our has it been? [email protected] Thanks to the follow- producers to A: We started the farmers' market about ing funders for their support of local food help them go 4-5 years ago with the intention of using distribution research: the Cornell Center through it as a showcase for our chefs about for a Sustainable Future, NESARE, and Proact's certifi- what would be available for their week- the Cornell Small Farms Program. cation process. end menus. We thought a handful of The growers are taking online classes, and then the auditor comes and checks them out. The certification really helps to elevate these producers to another level. These produc- Farmers' Market outside of J. Kings warehouse in Holtsville, NY. ers can sell Photo by J. King
19 April 2, 2012 SMALL FARM QUARTERLY Page 19 LOCAL FOODS AND MARKETING Pricing Your Meat Cuts by Brian Moyer cass weight.) into a carcass, the average percentage of yield for pork is 3. Add in your processing fees, trucking, etc., to the around 70 percent, beef 60 percent and lamb 50 percent. So, you're thinking about raising livestock for direct-to- hanging cost. Turning that carcass into individual cuts of meat; the aver- consumer sales. You've figured out what kind of livestock 4. Divide the total by 65% to get your cut-out cost age yield for bone-in cuts is 75-80 percent of carcass you want to raise, what kind of infrastructure you will need, (breaking the carcass down into individual cuts of meat). weight for pork, 65-70 percent for beef, and 70-75 percent soil tested your pastures, the works. One question 5. Divide your cut-out cost by the percentage mark- for lamb. Dr. Raines points out that aging and further pro- remains; how much should you charge your customers? up you desire to reach the retail value price you will ulti- cessing can decrease your final product weight. If your mately charge. butcher is hanging (aging) the carcass for two weeks, It doesn't matter if you are selling halves, quarters or Here's an example: there is moisture loss due to evaporation. If you are curing single cuts, you will first need to know your cost of produc- Cost of the live animal = $1.35 per pound hams and bacons from your pig, applying a heat process tion. What are your costs of raising that animal from day $1.35 divided by 58% = $2.33 to your meat cuts may also reduce your final yield. one until the day of slaughter? In any business endeavor, $2.33 plus $0.65 (per pound processing fee) = $2.98 keeping good records is essential to knowing if you are $2.98 divided by 65% = $4.58 Using these tools, you should be able to make a rough going to be profitable or not. Once you know your cost of This is the final cost of your animal becoming single estimate on the amount of product you will have for sale, production, there are some tools you can use to help you cuts of meat what your costs are, and what you will need to charge your determine what price you may want to attach to your fine, $4.58 divided by 75% = $6.11 customers to remain profitable. farm fresh product. A sale price of $6.11 per pound would give you a 25% return on your product. Brian Moyer is a Program Assistant with Pennsylvania Mike Debach of the Leona Meat Plant in Troy, As you can see, in every step of the process there is a State Extension in Lehigh County. He can be reached at Pennsylvania, has a nifty process you can use that will reduction to your final yield of finished product. So, your [email protected] or 610-391-9840. help you figure out your costs after processing so you can cost per pound will go up with every step from live animal determine your retail price. For this example, understand to cut and packaged product. The above example will give that the cost of production will vary depending on the you a rough estimate which can help you to remain prof- breed of the animal and production methods (i.e., grain- itable. Keep in mind, it is a rough estimate. A lot of vari- fed, grass-fed). According to Dr. John Comerford from ables can change these percentages. For example, how Penn State's Department of Dairy and Animal Science, the much fat was on the animal? What kind of cuts are you percentage used to determine the carcass weight varies requesting? Are you getting bone-in or boneless cuts? If depending on what kind of animal it is (beef, hog, lamb), you want boneless cuts, this will reduce the total pounds of what breed the animal is, and the method of production. product returned to you from your butcher. So, for this example, let's say we have a grass-fed, Angus steer that dresses out to a hanging carcass weight that is What kind of animal you are processing will also make a 58 percent of its live weight and your cost to get that ani- difference in the percentage of product you ultimately mal to slaughter weight is $1.35 per pound of live weight. receive. Dr. Christopher Raines, of Penn State's Department of Dairy and Animal Science, has a handy Determining the cost of your animal: sheet that describes the average percentage of yield in the 1. Start with your per pound cost of the live animal butchering process for pork, beef and lamb. You can down- (as mentioned before, your cost to raise that animal). load Dr. Raines' document at www.das.psu.edu/research- 2. Divide this amount by 58% to get your hanging extension/meat Hanging cuts of meat waiting at a slaughterhouse for cost. (That animal is now a carcass after it is slaugh- pick-up. tered. This determines your new cost per pound at car- Dr. Raines' document says when converting an animal Photo by Brian Moyer Sheep Pasture from Page 16 alfalfa that persisted a while longer and the white clover such as Alice, Kopu 2, or Huia sheep eat it right away when entering fresh New Zealand white clover should be the two The biggest downside is its lack of persist- pasture. dominant species in the mix. One could add ence. However, looking at seed catalogues, I some bluegrass as an additional grass noticed it is very cheap. I can see that it may I also have some sweet clover in the pas- species and red clover and bird's-foot trefoil be beneficial to frost-seed Alsike clover ture. Sheep like the immature plants as well. as additional legumes to the mix. when the budget is tight. Again a little side note for the curious minds: Sweet clover is called Stone Clover Generally speaking, in most cases I prefer Planting Kura clover was a $300 lesson. I (Steinklee) in German due to its ability to improving existing stands by frost-seeding have no stand of Kura clover after seeding it grow in areas that seem to have typical rather than plowing them up and reseeding 3 1/2 years ago - only a handful of plants, weeds that always will be there, such as them. It is far more cost and time effective. just enough to know how Kura clover looks. narrow-leaved plantain and dandelion. The thought of plowing something up and It sure is pretty. Given its price and the diffi- Sheep don't consider them weeds but find establishing the perfect sheep pasture is culty to establish it, compared to the price them delicious instead. Which leads me to tempting. However, rarely does it work out in and how easily white and red clovers can be something important: While some forages The tanning agent of bird's-foot trefoil real life the way I thought it out in my head. established, I doubt I will give Kura clover are clearly more advantageous than others, (yellow flower) inhibits reproduction of Having that said, I did exactly that on a 14- another try. one should not forget that sheep, just like us, stomach worms. acre rented parcel that had no hope of love variety. I suspect that the total intake is that this species may need. The cost is high improving and was also of very rough ter- Bird's-foot trefoil is a none-bloating higher when variety is offered versus a pure and the added benefit may be in no relation rain. I had it plowed and then reseeded it legume. Sheep like it in measures. It doesn't stand of a particular forage. However, I have to the added expense. Keep in mind, I am with my very own mixture that I consider to yield very much in comparison to clovers. no proof for this. In addition, various plants talking exclusively about sheep pasture, not be perfect. How much my wishes and reali- Other than being none-bloating and nitro- offer ingredients that others don't. Leaves dairy pasture. I'd choose what establishes ty overlap remains to be seen once the genfixating, it has the advantage that its tan- from trees or from plants with taproots have easily, yields a lot, and is liked by the sheep. stand is established and will be material for ning contents inhibit the growth of intestinal a higher content of zinc. Bird's-foot trefoil has an article yet to be written. worms such as the deadly barber pole a higher content of tanning agents. Narrow- As far as weeds are concerned that the worm. This is my only reason for seeding it. I leaved, or English, plantain is known to have sheep don't like, I have given up in my quest Ulf Kintzel owns and manages White Clover had interseeded trefoil in my 14-acre test antibiotics in it. Variety also seems to offer a of wanting to eliminate them. That can drive Sheep Farm plot. It took two to three years to establish broader spectrum of ingredients that may you crazy. Instead, I have noticed that strong (www.whitecloversheepfarm.com) in the stand. Now it is well established. help prevent diseases and deficiencies. stands of grass, especially orchard grass, Rushville, NY where he breeds grass-fed Meanwhile, I had a ten-acre parcel seeded and in addition bush-hogging the pasture White Dorper sheep. He offers breeding with a no-till drill and frosts seeded another These weeds as well as the native or vol- after the grass developed seed stems (main- stock and freezer lambs. He can be reached twenty acres. This too will be discussed in a unteer grasses and clovers are welcomed at ly to rejuvenate the stand), have such an at 585-554-3313 or by e-mail at [email protected] follow up article once the stands have been my farm. They cost me nothing and the mere impact on undesirable weeds like Canada cloversheepfarm.com. established. fact that they volunteer states how persistent and bull thistle that their stands become they are. In my opinion, it is an illusion to much weaker over time and thus manage- Copyright 2012 Ulf Kintzel. For permission to There was a fair amount of alfalfa present think you can get rid of them. It will be costly able. use either text or photographs please con- when I converted the hayfields at my farm to try and likely to be unsuccessful. It is in tact the author at [email protected] into pasture. I assumed that the alfalfa would my opinion also a mistake trying to get the I am often asked, What is the best pasture farm.com. This article originally appeared in not take the grazing long and it indeed didn't. best species of grass there is unless you mix for sheep? I think that a late-heading Farming Magazine, Fall 2010, and is reprint- I consider alfalfa a harvesting forage rather are willing to create the high-input conditions orchard grass and a persistent variety of ed with permission. than a pasturing forage. I do still have some
20 Page 20 SMALL FARM QUARTERLY April 2, 2012 NEW FARMERS And the Survey Says! Beginning Farmer Critical Needs By Wes Hannah age price is actually five to ten times higher than the national average. With nearly one-quarter of American farmers expected to retire in the next two decades indeed, the average Working Toward a Better Tomorrow age of a farmer in the U.S. hovers around fifty-seven With these results in mind, NYFC is hard at work organ- the need for an effective plan to encourage beginning izing for improvements in our laws to help nourish begin- farmers has never been more pressing. As with any ning farmers. The organization has been pushing on the entrepreneurship, farming has a number of major barri- federal level for a number of changes, many of which are ers to overcome: access to land and capital, access to included in the Beginning Farmer and Rancher healthcare, and the need for successful markets and Opportunity Act (BFROA). In terms of education, the business strategies. These obstacles, however, are mag- report shows a need for expanding trainings and educa- nified in the field of agriculture access to land (and tion through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher credit to purchase or lease land) is of the highest priority, Development Program and through continuing funding healthcare becomes especially important because of for the National Sustainable Agriculture Information farming's high injury rates, and the capital required can Service (ATTRA). Improving access to land and credit be prohibitively expensive and is needed up front. means building on the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), altering FSA requirements and creating Enter the National Young Farmers' Coalition (NYFC). The a micro-loan program more accessible to small-scale difficulties that young farmers face, juxtaposed with the producers, and offering tax credits and other incentive accelerating need for a new generation of farmers, programs to keep farmland affordable as it transitions to spurred the creation of NYFC, a non-profit with the goal The National Young Farmer Coalition organizes skill a younger generation. of organizing and advocating on behalf of young and shares such as this farm hack event held to share new beginning farmers. For the past two years, NYFC, head- engineering ideas. At the same time, states can improve apprenticeship quartered in upstate New York, has been building a Photo courtesy NYFC programs while making sure that they protect young grassroots base across the country. With that support, it workers and respect labor laws. States can also build tax has networked with state coalitions of young farmers, gram or through seasonal hiring, are the way that a large incentive programs for encouraging landowners to lease lobbied politicians for their backing for more supportive percentage of young farmers first get their hands dirty to beginning farmers, can consider improved health care agricultural bills, and organized technical skill-shares and and find their interest piqued. Those farmer-apprentice systems, and establish student loan forgiveness pro- sharing of innovative solutions to on-farm problems. relationships often continue as personal mentorships grams for full-time farmers (as is seen in other critical when the beginners move on to their own projects. Local professions such as doctors, teachers, and government Having encountered a lack of a complete analysis of the partnerships, such as Buy Local campaigns and direct employees). needs and obstacles of young farmers, NYFC worked for financial assistance, as well as CSA relationships, are most of the past year on a massive survey of young and especially useful, particularly since a large number of Finally, individuals and communities can take this survey beginning farmers the first survey of its kind and the young farmers are entering the field with an interest in to heart and work to support beginning farmers. Joining first to accurately pinpoint obstacles faced by those non-commodities production and thus need that local CSAs and farmers markets, as well as pushing schools entering the field. With over one thousand young farmers support in developing a market. and other institutions to source food locally, all will help surveyed, the report represents views of everyone, from to develop local agriculture and help beginners. Even apprentices to farm owners, ranging across 38 states. More sobering are the results of the survey showing just renting available land to beginning farmers can With this data, NYFC produced a seminal report, enti- beginning farmers' largest challenges. The most-cited become a win-win situation for the farmer and the tled, Building a Future with Farmers: Challenges Faced challenge, with nearly three-quarters of survey respon- landowner. by Young, American Farmers and a National Strategy to dents selecting it as highly important, is lack of capital. Help Them Succeed." Following that and intertwined with it is access to Lastly, the easiest and most direct way to help create a land. Further down the list are access to healthcare, positive future of American farming is to join the National Survey Results access to credit, and the need for business education. Young Farmers' Coalition. This non-profit is active in Focusing first on the positive, the survey found a number building that future and will continue to blossom with of programs to be invaluable in young farmers' develop- Access to capital is a problem that goes beyond trying to your support. Visit www.youngfarmers.org to read the ment. Apprenticeships were the highest ranked program, buy land. In meat and dairy production especially, cost of report and find out how to plug in! followed by local partnerships and then closely by CSAs. equipment and processing facilities can be an insur- Also high on the list were land-linking programs (which mountable barrier. When a beginner does finally come to Wesley Hannah is an Organizer with the National Young help to pair aspiring farmers with land-holders), non-prof- the point where they want to purchase their own proper- Farmers Coalition and a farmer at Second Wind Farm, a it training and education, and college-level agricultural ty and invest in permanent infrastructure, loan programs 40 member organic CSA in Gardiner, NY. He may be education. Apprenticeships, whether through the World- are not set up to adequately meet the demand. reached at [email protected] Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) pro- Commonly raised issues with government programs included: an inability to get small operating Worcester loans; overly strict experience require- ments for beginners; and loan limits on Creameries direct farm ownership loans. Perhaps because of these problems, 73 percent of those surveyed said they had to depend Do you know there is still one milk market that is on outside incomes in order to keep their family owned and would like to buy your milk? farms going obviously not a sustainable system for the future of American agricul- The following are benefits that could be yours. ture. Competitivee Market Qualityy Fieldd Service Premiums Since most of the survey respondents did Qualityy Premiums Caringg Service not come from farming backgrounds (and in fact only ten percent were working on Volumee Premiums Healthh Insurance the farms on which they grew up), land For more information please call. access is hugely important. Between the year 2000 and 2010, the price of an acre 607-397-8791 of farmland doubled (according to the USDA's National Agriculture Statistics Toll Free... Service) due to increasing development Mary Ellen and Austin Chadd, members of the NYFC, harvest 'Sugar 800-705-6455 and the ethanol production boom in the Midwest. In Northeastern states, the aver- Dumpling' squash at Green Spark Farm. Photo by Megan SwannLoad More