Category Archives: Farm & Ranch

Health department issues chick warning

BURLINGTON — The Vermont Health Department is investigating an infant salmonella case after child came in contact with a chick.
The health department says the child’s illness was caused by the same strain of salmonella discovered in the chicks that were recently purchased from a local feed store.
The health department says dozens of people in several states have also been infected with the same strain of salmonella.
Vermont officials are working with other state health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Department of Agriculture to find the source of the baby poultry infection and stop the outbreak.
Among the suggestions to reduce the spread off the disease are not to let children younger than 5 handle young poultry.

Senate mulls organic food mislabeling

MONTPELIER — Vermont consumers need to be better informed about which foods are organic and which aren’t.
That was the upshot of a Senate Agriculture Hearing on Friday that looked at the problem of confusion over labeling in stores and farmers’ markets.
Sen. David Zuckerman, an organic farmer, said confusion comes up especially because some organic vegetable and fruit farms have expanded into raising animals for meat. The animals often are fed conventional grain, but because they come from farms that are otherwise organic, consumers assume the meat is organic, too.
Zuckerman says he has no specific legislation in mind now.
Nicole Dehne of the organic certifying group Vermont Organic Farmers says her group is stepping up efforts to educate farmers about good labeling practices.

House to hear GMO labeling testimony

MONTPELIER — A Vermont House committee is taking testimony on a bill that would require the labeling of foods that contain genetically modified ingredients.
The bill, which excludes dairy products, cleared the House Agriculture Committee last month. The Judiciary Committee is taking testimony on it on Thursday, from legislative counsel and state attorney general’s office.
Even if the bill becomes law, supporters expect it to be challenged in court by the biotech industry, as the state attorney general’s office has warned.
The National Conference of State Legislatures says about 17 other states are considering some sort of GMO labeling legislation.

VIDEO: Mare rescued from horrible conditions goes outside for first time

Joanna Tebbs Young posted this video to YouTube of Lolly, a mare rescued from horrific conditions in Chittenden County, going outside for the first time. She was rescued by Spring Hill Horse Rescue in Clarendon. She’s looking pretty good relative to a few months ago!

Vermont farmers to go to El Salvador on organic farming exchange

RICHMOND — Several Vermont farmers are planning to travel to El Salvador in the coming months to share their knowledge with farmers in that Central American country.
A partnership between the Northeast Organic Farming Association and Winrock International is hosting the trips. Their purpose is to help Salvadoran farmers learn about organic farming and marketing and improved agricultural practices.
The first three volunteers — Charles Mitchell, Tom Honigford, and Patrick Sullivan — will arrive in San Salvador in mid-January. The Vermonters say they hope to both teach and learn during their trip.
Funding for the program comes from the United States Agency for International Development through the Food for Peace program under the U.S. Farm Bill.

Indoor farmers market starts in Northfield

NORTHFIELD — Leave it to a bunch of farmers to turn an empty armory into a bustling market.

That’s precisely what happened at Norwich University in Northfield on Sunday as the town’s first-ever indoor farmers’ market got off to a better-than-expected start in Plumley Armory.

Business was brisk, weather wasn’t a factor (and wouldn’t have been, even if Mother Nature hadn’t delivered a balmy November day) and the general consensus among those who participated — shoppers and vendors alike — was a great, big green thumbs up.

“Awesome! absolutely awesome,” Northfield resident Judy Knapp said, after swinging by the armory and snapping up a dozen fresh eggs, a wood-fired pizza, a bag of spinach and some carrots before heading for home to harvest what was left in her own garden. Continue reading

Oxen protesters met by more protesters

Vyto Starinskas / Staff Photo
About a dozen protesters showed up today to protest on Main Street in Poultney in support of saving Green Mountain College’s oxen Lou and Bill. The protesters were met by Green Mountain College students who argued with the protesters. Above, freshman Emerald Hardiman, at right, said she thought the college was doing the right thing to slaughter the oxen for food rather than giving them to a sanctuary.

Farmers urged to prepare for storm

MONTPELIER — Vermont officials are urging farmers to prepare for power outages and flooding from Hurricane Sandy, which is moving up the coast.
The exact course of Sandy is unknown, but forecasters say it could collide early next week with a winter storm moving east across the continent. The brunt of the storm is expected to hit the New York-New Jersey area Tuesday, but its effects could be felt through much of next week.
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture is advising farmers to harvest crops still in the fields. For those who need power for milking cows or cooling milk tanks, the agency warns to prepare for power outages by making sure generators are working.
Farmers also are advised to purchase sufficient fuel to operate generators and equipment.

10 Vermont farms hosting Dairy Day

Farmers from 10 dairy farms across the state are inviting people on Saturday to celebrate Raw Milk Dairy Day.
The full-day event will feature tours of the farms and interactive activities including watching a milking.
Participating local farms include Cerridwen Farm at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Jersey Girls Dairy in Chester, Taylor Farm in Londonderry, Trevin Farms in Sudbury and Wayward Goose Farm in West Pawlet.
For more information on the event, contact Johanna Douglas at [email protected]

Dairy farm safety net dies with farm bill

By LISA RATHKE
THE Associated Press
WEST DANVILLE — Small dairy farmers in the Northeast and Wisconsin say a tough year has been made worse by Congress’ failure to pass a new farm bill before the old one expired.
While many farm programs have continued through the harvest season even though the farm bill expired Sept. 30, a program that pays dairy farmers when milk prices plummet has ended.
Many dairy farms were already struggling with low milk prices and high fuel and feed costs as the worst drought in decades dried up grazing land and pushed up the price of hay and feed. Dozens in states like California, the nation’s leading milk producer, have filed for bankruptcy.
In Vermont, which saw more closings this year after gradually losing farms for decades, the end of the milk income loss contract, or MILC, program, which paid dairy farmers when milk prices fell below a certain level, has created another wave of panic.
“The last couple of months, that’s what’s been keeping us going,” said Myles Goodrich, who runs Molly Brook Farm in West Danville after taking over from his parents. “Otherwise, it’d be losing battle.” Continue reading