the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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new research identifies cold weather strategies to avoid respiratory illness in calves

 

As winter approaches, research funded by the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has identified cold weather strategies for attention by regional dairy calf managers.

“Winter weather poses a natural challenge to raising young animals. Respiratory illness in calves can negatively impact weight gain, age at their first calving, first lactation milk production, farm revenue and costs,” says project leader Kimberley Morrill, Ph.D., a regional Cornell Cooperative Extension dairy specialist, Canton, NY.
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biodynamic wildfire relief fund

credit: The Biodynamic Association

Following the devastation caused by the spread of massive wildfires in California over the past week it has become apparent that many of those within the biodynamic community have been directly affected. Among these is Frey Vineyards, a pioneer in Biodynamic® wine and dedicated supporter of the BDA. The vineyard has experienced significant losses due to the fires, as have many other farms and vineyards. Many more have been evacuated from their homes and are waiting anxiously as the fires continue to spread. In response the Biodynamic Association is considering setting up a recovery fund to enable donations to assist biodynamic farmers experiencing losses of animals, crops, homes, and infrastructure in the region. If you or someone you know in the biodynamic community is in need of financial support, please contact Karisa Centanni at karisa@biodynamics.com to help them better understand the needs of the biodynamic community and how they can mobilize support.

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save the date for the 23rd annual dairy sheep symposium in quebec

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The 23rd Annual Dairy Sheep Symposium is taking place from Nov 30th – Dec 2nd this year at the Estrimont Suites and Spas, Orford (near Sherbrooke), Quebec.  The title of this year’s symposium is “Profitability in Dairy Sheep Production”, and it will focus on genetics and nutrition of dairy sheep flocks.  Each year the Dairy Sheep Association of North America travels to a different North American location  for this event. Quebec is one of the perfect spots for an event like this to be held as it has a vibrant community of sheep-milk producers and artisan cheesemakers.  The 2017 symposium will feature discussions on the development of long-term breeding plans, using milk data, the diet of dairy sheep, and the nutrition of youngstock; producer and cheesemaker panels; and presentations from dairy sheep researchers in Canada and the Roquefort region of France.  There will also be visits to Quebec dairy sheep and cheesemaking operations — and don’t forget the banquet with dozens of DSANA members’ sheeps-milk cheeses!

For more information click HERE or contact the organisers directly.

Laurel Kieffer (DSANA President):  715-797-3909

Maria-Chantal Houde (2017 Symposium Chair):  819-578-7234

Bee Tolman: 315-760-2766 (Dairy Sheep Association member): 315-760-2766


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graziers wanted in NY

grazier, ny, greenhorns,

We’ve come across a cool program for aspiring dairy farmers! If you’ve been mulling over the various routes get into dairy perhaps this is worth looking into.

From the press release:

Cornell Small Dairy Support Specialist Fay Benson is recruiting participants for the New York edition of the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship Program, the groundbreaking, nationally-recognized apprenticeship program for the agricultu
ral industry.

Modeled after apprenticeship programs such as those for developing a highly skilled level of experience for new plumbers and electricians, the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship, or DGA, is recognized by the federal Department of Labor.

The two-year DGA requires 4,000 hours of instruction, including 277 hours of online classes, and on-the-job training on farms approved for good agricultural practices and safety measures. The federally-registered apprentices are paid on an established wage scale to work on an existing grazing dairy farm while they gain knowledge, skills, and early experience. The wage increases over time as skill level grows.

Those interested in becoming an apprentice or serving as a Dairy Master Grazier may apply online at www.dga-national.org; for assistance, contact Abbie Teeter at ajt248@cornell.edu, 607-391-2660 ext 412. Once registered, the apprentices and Dairy Master Graziers can search the entries across the 9-state region to initiate discussion of a possible apprenticeship opportunity.

To learn more about the New York Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship, contact Fay Benson at 607-391-2660, afb3@cornell.edu. Benson is project manager for the NY Organic Dairy Program, an educator with the Cornell University South Central NY Regional Team, coordinator of the NY Soil Health Trailer, and a member of the New York Crop Insurance Education Team.


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Police escalation in Standing Rock is threatening lives (please read)

standing-rock

From the Daily Kos:

POLICE ESCALATION IN STANDING ROCK IS THREATENING LIVES

Last night the Morton County Sheriff’s office put Standing Rock water protectors in grave danger. Hundreds were injured, including an elder who went into cardiac arrest and several people treated for rubber bullet injuries to the face. They used projectiles that ripped through people’s muscle tissue (warning: graphic photos).

Police fired water cannons at the protectors for at least six hours in below freezing temperatures, exposing them all to hypothermia. Medical professionals at the camp called for a cessation of this tactic because of the real threat that people could die. And Morton County law enforcement just kept drenching water protectors in water, tear gassing them, firing concussion grenades and using sonic weapons against them.

This is inhumane! They are willing to directly threaten people’s lives in order to protect profits for the oil industry. Enough is enough.

Call the Morton County Sheriff’s office and demand they end these life-threatening attacks on peaceful unarmed protectors immediately! Here is the number and a sample script:

Morton County Sheriff’s office number:
701-328-8118 & 701-667-3330

Hello, my name is ___________. I am horrified by the violence used by your officers against the Standing Rock water protectors last night. It is nothing short of torture to douse people in water, in below freezing temperatures, for hours. People could die from this inhumane escalation. Your officers are willing to risk killing peaceful protectors. It’s time to end these dangerous tactics and torture against the people at Standing Rock.

After your call, fill out this form to tell us how the call went. Tell us how Morton County is responding to concerns that they are risking people’s lives.

Morton County law enforcement is already claiming that they were putting out fires started by the protectors, but several livestream feeds, including the one we followed all last night, show that the fires were started by Morton County officers and their tear gas and concussion grenades. Do not let them get away with telling this lie!

Every level of government needs to hear from the people loud and clear that we will not stand for the torture of peacefully gathered water protectors, all in the name of oil money.

If you have more time, we need you to make two more phone calls–To the Army Corp of Engineers and the Department of Justice. Click this link to view the phone numbers and scripts for each agency, as well as report back on your calls.

These agencies have the power to stop all of this. We need to light up the phone lines of every official who is allowing law enforcement to torture people who are fighting to maintain clean drinking water and preserve their sacred sites. We cannot sit idly by while people are brutalized like this.

Keep fighting,
Irna Landrum, Daily Kos


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big data concedes: farmers should own their own data

corniculture(Photo courtesy of Pete Walton, taken at the National FFA Conference)

From NPR: Top agribusiness companies, including Monsanto, DuPont, John Deere and Dow, have moved into the information business, offering to help farmers collect that data and analyze it — for a price.

But some farmers are starting to worry about how that data will be used; whether, for instance, details of their operations will be open for all to see. Others wonder how the data companies will exploit their new-found ability to monitor what’s happening on vast tracts of farmland.

Those concerns led to the new “Privacy and Security Principles for Farm Data,” which were released this week. Click HERE to read more about this issue reported by NPR.


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a farm is fined $115,000 for using volunteers

For-profit farms that use volunteers are taking risks. The story is from California but much of the same legal basis exists in other states. Beware, farmers. Your interns or apprentices could cost you your farm…

Castro Valley, California

A small-time vintner’s use of volunteer workers has put him out of business after the state squeezed him like a late-summer grape for $115,000 in fines — and sent a chill through the wine industry.

The volunteers, some of them learning to make wine while helping out, were illegally unpaid laborers, and Westover Winery should have been paying them and paying worker taxes, the state Department of Industrial Relations said.

“I didn’t know it was illegal to use volunteers at a winery; it’s a common practice,” said winery owner Bill Smyth. Click HERE to read more…


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maine sail freight goes public!

We got some great press the weekend before last, and our website is up if you want more information: http://www.thegreenhorns.net/mainesailfreight/ sev

Meet: Severine von Tscharner Fleming of Sail Freight Maine
She wants to borrow your boat, but it’s all about farming.
by Mary Pols for the Portland Press Herald

Severine von Tscharner Fleming recently landed a spot (No. 23) on Food & Wine and Fortune magazines’ dual list of the most powerful women in food and drink. The honor came about in large part because of her work with the Greenhorns, a national organization to support new farmers, but the 33-year-old resident of Essex, New York, and frequent visitor to Maine has her hands in many projects. The latest is Maine Sail Freight, a plan to get Maine sailors and farmers to work together to ship goods down the coast to urban centers (Boston and New York, as well as points in between) in the old-fashioned way. Von Tscharner Fleming masterminded a similar project in Vermont in 2013, and now her vision is to harness the sustainability of wind power and the romance of the seas to spread the Maine brand in the prettiest possible way. We talked to the University of California-Berkeley graduate, who majored in conservation and agro-ecology, about seaweed, the troublesome future and how to pronounce that mouthful of a name of hers (the “t” is silent).

read the full article HERE


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maine’s mofga receives $1 million for farmer training

The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, A farming organization with a strong grassroots history, announced Wednesday that it received a gift of $1 million to help support and train new farmers, the largest financial donation in its history.

Officials from the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association said that they were thrilled with the gift from the New York City-based Partridge Foundation, which also pledged an additional $1 million to MOFGA if the Maine group can raise a matching amount over the next 18 months. All the monies are to be used for MOFGA’s new farmer programming.

To read more about this amazing news, click HERE!


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young farmers in the news

Organic agriculture attracts a new generation of farmers
by Ricardo Lopez for the LA Times
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By 9 a.m., Jack Motter had been planting peas for hours.

He pushed a two-wheeled contraption that deposited a seed every few inches along neat rows at Ellwood Canyon Farms, just outside Santa Barbara. As clouds gathered overhead, he picked up the pace to avoid losing days of work to the fall rain.

Timing can mean the difference between profit and loss for the 4-year-old farm.

Motter and his business partner, Jeff Kramer, are part of a growing crop of farmers — many of them young — choosing to produce food without pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. As consumers demand more fresh and local food grown with minimal environmental effects, a new generation has taken up organic farming.

The two Brawley, Calif., natives, both 30, have learned that small-scale agriculture is neither easy nor lucrative. Their days on the 15-acre farm start at dawn and end with exhaustion.

“There’s nothing romantic about it,” Kramer said. “It’s hard work and long hours for little pay.”

Agriculture officials are hoping more young people heed the call to till the land, whether organically or conventionally, as the average age of California farmers continues to climb. It hit 58 in 2012, up by nearly two years from 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s most recent census.

read the full text here & watch a great video that accompanies the piece.


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farm hack press

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Farm Hack
by Courtney White, originally published by The carbon pilgrim  | NOV 1, 2013

Welcome to the virtual coffee shop for agrarians!

Pull up a laptop and join the conversation. Do you have a farming issue on your mind, or maybe a tool design that you’d like to share, a crop problem that needs to be solved, a beginner’s question that needs to be answered, or an intriguing idea that needs to be floated? If you do, Farm Hack is the place to go.

It’s not the Bellyache Café, however. Leave all complaints, rants and political opinions at the door. Continue reading


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sail freight press!

Ceres arrives in NYC today!

Food Matters | Fifteen Tons of Groceries, Sailing Down the Hudsonvsfp logo

Now that urban rooftops are buzzing with beehives and C.S.A. deliveries are the new FreshDirect, where does the slow-food movement go next? One key issue confronting the locavore movement is transportation — the “to” in “farm to table.”

Before the Industrial Revolution, most food was regional by necessity, shipped via wind-powered boats. Urban waterfronts were vibrant centers of commerce and community. Seeking a more sustainable way to get his grain to market, the Vermont farmer Erik Andrus conceived the Vermont Sail Freight Project to find out if this model could work again today. In April, he raised more than $15,000 on Kickstarter to build a 39-foot-long plywood sail barge named Ceres (after the Roman goddess of agriculture). The Greenhorns, an Essex, N.Y.-based farmer advocacy group, and the Willowell Foundation, a nonprofit education organization, signed on as partners to raise additional funds, handle the project’s logistics and recruit farmers and volunteers.

“We’re at an inflection point,” said Severine von Tscharner Fleming, the founder of the Greenhorns. “Can we, as farmers, collaborate on a distribution system that matches our values and preserves the craft economy?” Continue reading


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in conversation with severine

In Conversation with Severine von Tscharner Fleming, a Young Farmer and Activistvon-tscharner-fleming_severine

I first met Severine von Tscharner Fleming when she was a student at UC Berkeley. Her bubbling, nay BOILING energy was a pleasant surprise for me. This wasn’t some idealistic naïve college student nonsense: Severine was already at that point a killer organizer, a thoughtful writer, and a principled investigator into all things farming. In working with and knowing her for the past 8 years, she’s only gotten better, and her work has successfully spread and become more and more effective. Severine’s list of projects is positively intimidating for people not used to such ambition, or trying to plot their own path into food/farming activism. My read is, if you have that ambition, and you can marshal it for good, and not be a jerk in the process, then go for it! And Severine should serve as an inspiration to all activists: young, farmy, or not.


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almanac press

Listen in!

almanac582013__large

Why are almanacs still produced today in spite of the web? Why are they so compelling? In this episode of In My Backyard, Lisa Bralts uses modern technology to research some answers. She also talks to a young woman working with many others to reclaim and redistribute old farming knowledge by publishing an analog farmers almanac… but with some current-day touches.