Farming Magazine - February, 2009


Ag News

Hicks Sales Now Distributing EcoDrum

Hicks Sales LLC of East Corinth, Vt., has announced it is the new EcoDrum distributor for New England. These mortality composting systems are designed for any size operation, to reduce the cost of composting and to be environmentally sound year-round.

An EcoDrum composting system.

New Expo in Watkins Glen for 2009

The Northeastern Loggers’ Association has announced plans to host a brand new expo at the Watkins Glen International Raceway in Watkins Glen, N.Y., April 3-4, 2009. This is in addition to the annual Bangor Expo on May 1-2, 2009, at Bass Park in Bangor, Maine. The Watkins Glen Expo will include both live and static exhibits with a large indoor display area. Logging, sawmilling, land clearing, trucking and other equipment and services important to the region’s forest products industry will be on display. Upwards of 150 exhibiting companies and 5,000 attendees are expected for this first-ever event. As with NELA’s other expos, preregistration will be free and available online through the association’s Expo Web site, Exhibitor information is also available at the Web site. For more information about exhibiting or attending, contact the Expo office at 315-369-3078 or e-mail

Kidding Season Mentors, Mentees Sought

The advice of an experienced, knowledgeable goat farmer can really help a new meat goat farmer through his or her first kidding season. The Cornell Department of Animal Science in cooperation with the Empire State Meat Goat Producers Association has put together a kidding season mentoring program for meat goat producers. It includes a loose-leaf notebook full of kidding facts and photos to make it easier for experienced farmers to take the time to mentor through a kidding season. The program is designed for a mentee, the new meat goat farmer, to visit a mentor’s farm two or three days or afternoons during the mentor’s kidding season with a couple of follow-up phone calls during the mentee’s own kidding season. The program is looking for six to eight mentoring teams in the Northeast, one new producer and one experienced producer per team, to participate in the program in 2009. Contact Tatiana Stanton at or 607-254-6024 if you are interested in participating.

N.Y. Farmers to Benefit from Health Insurance Grant

The New York State Health Foundation awarded Agri-Services Agency, a subsidiary of Dairylea Cooperative, Inc., a grant to educate and help farmers and agribusiness owners obtain health insurance coverage, including government options, in rural New York. The ultimate goal is to reduce the number of uninsured individuals in rural areas.

For more information, contact Agri-Services Agency at 866-297-7729 or visit

Choiniere Farm Receives 2008 Vt. Sustainable Farm Award

The Choiniere Family Farm in Highgate Center has won Vermont’s coveted Sustainable Farm Award for 2008. A multigenerational organic dairy farm, the Choiniere Farm is operated by Guy and Beth Choiniere and their parents. Like many dairies around the state, the farm has increased its financial viability in recent years by transitioning to organic milk and reducing expensive grain imports. The Choiniere family has completely eliminated off- farm protein purchases and reduced energy inputs by adopting many innovations to improve soil health and forage quality.

The farm is located on the steep banks of the Rock River, one of the most impaired watersheds in the state. The Choiniere’s have implemented many projects to aid in the river’s cleanup, including installing fencing to keep cows out of the river, enrolling the steep river banks into the Conservation Reserve Program, creating a nutrient management plan, and improving crop rotation to reduce erosion. The Choiniere’s are also committed to education: they attend many educational workshops, host field days at their farm and have worked with UVM undergraduates on applied projects.

Online Johne’s Disease Course Offered to Producers

Johne’s disease, a slow and progressive bacterial disease of a ruminant’s intestinal tract, can cause significant economic loss for producers whose animals have it. To help producers understand the disease and become acquainted with preventive measures, five species-specific producer-oriented online courses and a Spanish version of the dairy course have been developed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. The free online courses include Johne’s disease for dairy producers, beef producers, sheep producers, goat producers, and deer and elk producers as well as the Spanish course for dairy producers. The online courses, underwritten by a grant from USDA, cover the causes of Johne’s disease, how the disease spreads, how to prevent it from entering your herd or flock, how to test for it, and management practices to control infections. It is estimated that the course can be completed in less than 60 minutes.

To take the course, go to the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine Web site,, and click on “Courses”.