Farming Magazine - May, 2008


Ag News

New Efco Distributor

Emak USA recently signed R.D. Faulkner Corporation as their newest distributor of Efco power equipment. R.D. Faulkner is located in Brewer, Maine, and will be distributing to New England and Long Island, N.Y.

DFA Elects Officers

The Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) board of directors has re-elected Tom Camerlo, a dairy farmer from Florence, Colo., to his sixth term as chairman. Randy Mooney, of Rogersville, Mo., was re-elected first vice chairman and Tom Croner, of Berlin, Pa., was re-elected secretary/treasurer and chairman of the finance and budget committee. Four other board members were elected vice chairman, and each will chair one of DFA’s committees: Jerrel Heatwole of Greenwood, Del.; George Mertens of Sonoma, Calif.; Wayne Palla of Clovis, N.M.; and Bill Siebenborn of Trenton, Mo. Two corporate directors, Joyce Bupp of Seven Valleys, Pa., and Ed Schoen of Phelps, N.Y., were re-elected from the Northeast area council and will represent more than 1,500 farms in 10 states.

NYCAMH Increases ROPS Rebate Amount

The New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH) has increased the amount of the rebate available to New York farmers who retrofit their tractors with a rollover protection (ROPS) kit, from the maximum of $600 last year to $703 for 2008. This amount matches the average increase in cost of ROPS kits from manufacturers in the past year. The Northeast has the highest rollover fatality rates in the country. Studies have shown that the use of a rollbar in combination with a seatbelt could prevent virtually all tractor rollover deaths, yet half the tractors in New York State are unprotected. In the past year, NYCAMH’s ROPS program has facilitated the retrofitting of more than 350 tractors and, for many farmers, the price of retrofitting a tractor after rebate has been about $250. New York farmers interested in retrofitting a tractor should call 877-ROPS-R4U.

AGCO Celebrates Tractor

AGCO Corporation celebrated when the 20,000th Challenger track tractor, model MT835B, rolled off the line. The tractor was built at the AGCO manufacturing facility in Jackson, Minn., and marks a milestone for the tractors since being introduced in 1987. AGCO acquired the Challenger line from Caterpillar in 2002.

Organic Valley Forms Grower Pool

In an effort to provide market stability to both crop growers and livestock producers, Organic Valley Family of Farms is opening its membership to organic crop growers with the introduction of its grower pool. Growers joining the pool will receive a guaranteed floor price for their crops on a long-term contract basis and will be able to enroll all or portions of their crop acreage in the pool. Organic Valley will offer contracts for feed-grade grains, beans, oilseeds and hay beginning with the 2008-2010 cycle. Similar to the current dairy, meat and produce pools, the grower pool’s prices will reflect differences in the co-op’s 15 grower regions. Members will form their own executive committee to develop policy and pricing guidelines. After one production year, any member can add a year to the contract at a newly set floor price, or can opt out of the pool. The objective is to establish regional floor prices for crops that are profitable for growers yet still affordable for livestock producers. Farmers interested in joining the grower pool may contact CROPP Cooperative at 888-809-9297.

Tupper Sverduk and his award-winning bison bull.

Sverduk Named Bison Producer of the Year

Pennsylvania bison breeder Tupper Sverduk won producer of the year at the Eastern Bison Association’s 12th annual show and sale in Harrisburg. Sverduk sold a 1,410-pound bison bull that topped the sale at $5,000. This yearling bull was sired by one that Sverduk raised and sold as the champion bull in the association’s 2002 show and sale. Among Sverduk’s awards this year were reserve champion bull, first place yearling bull, first place two-year-old bred heifer, first place pair of aces and a silver trophy carcass.

Scholarships Available

College students who exhibited beef at Pennsylvania’s Keystone International Livestock Exposition (KILE) at least once since 2005 may be eligible for scholarships provided by the KILE beef committee. More than 200 junior beef exhibitors participate at KILE annually, and the scholarship was created to recognize their commitment to the agricultural industry and provide an additional benefit by helping them pay for college. 

Two educational scholarships are now available for junior beef exhib-itors, including one for $1,000 and one for $500. To qualify, applicants must have exhibited beef cattle in the junior beef show at KILE for at least one year since 2005. Applicants must be enrolled in a degree or certification program at a post-secondary educational institution. Awards will be based on academics, community leadership, agricultural activities and KILE in-volvement. Scholarship applications are available at or by contacting Jim Sharp at 717-787-2905. Completed applications must be postmarked by June 15.

Seedway Celebrates Anniversary

Seedway marks its 45th anniversary in 2008, celebrating continued growth and over four decades of seed and service to Northeast and Mid-Atlantic growers. Founded in 1963, Seedway markets farm, turf and vegetable seed to commercial growers, including specialty and organically produced seed. Headquartered in Hall, N.Y., the seed company maintains locations in Trumansburg and Mecklenburg, N.Y.; Shoreham, VT; Mifflinburg, Mechanicsburg, York, Emmaus and Elizabethtown, Pa.; and Lakeland, Fla. It is a subsidiary of GROWMARK, Inc. in Bloomington, Ill.

Young Joins EPA Advisory Committee

Douglas Young, a dairy producer from Union Springs, N.Y., has been named to a newly formed farm, ranch, and rural communities advisory committee for the EPA. John Lincoln, president of New York Farm Bureau, nominated Young to the committee that was formed to help the EPA strengthen relations with the agriculture community. Thirty members in all were named.

New Director at CISA

Philip Korman has been named executive director of Community Involved in Sustainable Agriculture (CISA). He succeeds Annie Cheatham, who left CISA in January after seeing the organization through eight years of growth. A resident of Northampton, Mass., Korman received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and his master’s degree in public health from the University of California at Berkeley. CISA, a non-profit organization based in South Deerfield, Mass., is comprised of farmers, consumers, and concerned citizens working together to sustain agriculture and the unique rural character of communities.

SARE Honors N.Y. Farm Couple

The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program has named Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens as the winners of the 2008 Patrick Madden Award. Named for the founding director of the SARE program, this award honors a farmer or a farm couple who exemplify the effective use of sustainable farming techniques, recognizing innovation, leadership, and good stewardship.

The Martenses have been farming organically in the Finger Lakes region of New York since 1991 and currently manage over 1,400 acres of organic cropland. While corn, soybeans, dry beans, and processing vegetables are their primary cash crops, they also grow small grains such as barley, spelt, wheat, buckwheat, and oats, which provide a diversified rotation to maintain soil health and manage weeds. Working with NRCS personnel, they have put in place an agricultural environmental management plan that uses strip cropping, tile drainage, waterways, and diversion ditches to help control erosion and improve water quality. In 1996 they started an organic feed business, and by 2001 this enterprise had grown sufficiently to justify purchasing a vacant local feed mill. This operation, Lakeview Organic Grain, now employs seven full-time employees and two truck drivers and supplies feed to over 300 organic livestock farmers in New York and Pennsylvania as well as seeds and supplies to farmers throughout the Northeast.

New York Jersey Breeder Wins Travel Award

Robin Denniston-Keller, of Bryon, N.Y., has received the North American 2008 International Young Jersey Breeders Educational Travel Award. The award is to attend the 18th International Conference of the World Jersey Cattle Bureau in the Island of Jersey. Denniston-Keller and her husband are milking 80 cows, averaging 20,440 pounds of milk, and have 20 bred bulls. She is president of the New York Jersey cattle club and vice president of the Genesee County of the New York Farm Bureau. 

The award is sponsored by the bureau and given to five young farmers from five regions: North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa and Oceania. Recipients will each present a paper at the 18th International Conference of the World Jersey Cattle Bureau on their Jersey herds, visiting herds in the Island of Jersey, and making new friends in the international Jersey world.

Kiefer Joins ACI

Agri-Cover, Inc. (ACI) has expanded its sales team with the addition of Russ Kiefer. In his new role as national sales manager for ACI’s Ag division, Kiefer is responsible for growing accounts in the U.S. market. He brings six years of experience building dealer networks in the U.S. and international markets and over 20 years of sales and marketing experience.