A weekly blog for all things conservation
By: Miranda Neville, Agricultural Resource Specialist, BCCD
Last week I wrote about how farmers and the industry are growing and evolving exponentially. This week, I’d like to focus on how gender roles have also changed and evolved in the agriculture world.
Historically agriculture has been a male dominated industry. Still true today, but the number of women with hands-on involvement or decision-making power on farms is rapidly increasing. Women are also serving an ever-increasing role in the agriculture industry in other ways such as agriculture educators, animal nutritionist, A.I. breeders, veterinarians, CONSERVATION DISTRICT employees, milk testers, and quality assurance inspectors, to name a few.
By: Miranda Neville, Agricultural Resource Specialist, BCCD
In a fast-paced world that demands constant change with bigger-is-better ideals, many still look at small, conventional, dairy farming as an antiquated way of life. Often referred to as “stubborn farmers”, a term I’ve uttered myself more often than I care to admit…sorry husband, the advancement of farming practices has proven just the opposite. Ironically, if you were to sit down with those “stubborn farmers” you could learn so much about the growth of the industry and how they’ve had to evaluate, adapt, and adjust to so many new pressures.
The origin of the family farm was to provide a stable life for a family while supplying surrounding communities with farm fresh milk and locally grown produce. A simpler time. As communities got bigger, so did the demand on the farmer. Not only the demands, but more astringent regulatory requirements and increased skepticism from the general public. Though farmers are getting paid significantly less for their products, operating costs are at an all-time high and many cannot sustain. Dairy farmers are given two options: change to meet demands or sell the farm, the foundation of their family.
By: Jonathan VanNoy, Natural Resource Specialist, BCCD
Timber harvesting is one activity that we get numerous comments and questions about here at the Bradford County Conservation District (BCCD). Let’s look at some of the regulations surrounding logging.
By: Tori Welliver, Dirt Gravel & Low Volume Roads Specialist
While the best time to plant a tree is during our first seedling sale 50 years ago, the second-best time is today!
Planting trees is an investment in the future and locals have been making that investment through the conservation district’s annual sale for 50 years. Each winter when the “green papers” start showing up at local store fronts, we know that spring is drawing near.
By: Kevin Brown, Ag. Resource Specialist
Every year at this time, we have a Soil Health Conference at the Wysox Fire Hall. It is THE place to be if you want to really be on the cutting edge of what is going on in soil health (Gardeners are welcome too. It is all the same soil). We talk about it all year long, but this is IT! This IS the place to be. If you don’t believe me, look at past presenters- Gabe Brown, Dave Brandt, Ray Archuleta, Russ Wilson, and the list goes on. Look for them on our web page, we have recorded some of the past presentations. Look for them on YouTube. They are the pioneers of this movement and we have had them right here in our own backyard. And, even though they are nationally renowned, we have had them here for only a $15 or $20 admission charge. This year’s group is leading the way and they are doing things that most people have never heard of, and making it work. They are doing things that outsiders would think just aren’t possible. Yet, not only are they doing it, they are getting more yield with less inputs. It is a win for everyone concerned (their wallet, our nutrition, the environment, etc.). This year’s talent will be every bit as good as past years. Maybe better.
By: Guest Columnist Troy Bishopp, Grazing Specialist, Upper Susquehanna Coalition, aka “The Grass Whisperer”
Several years ago, the Bank of the Federal Government issued back our fifteen hundred dollars of tax money after using it for a year. Dough like that is an enticing morsel in a farmer’s hand. But what would we spend it on? Hmmmm.
Thank goodness my wife and I were in the first phases of learning about holistic management decision-making when we got the check. Should we invest it, pay down debt or buy something that will enhance our life? The goal of spending more time together shaped our final decision. Two new 12’ kayaks plus all the gear (complete with wine glasses, collapsible coolers and life-vest for our pup, Riley), fit this bill to our freedom off the farm.
By: Guest Columnist Troy Bishopp, Grazing Specialist, Upper Susquehanna Coalition
Conjuring Forrest Gump; “For no particular reason”, I went for a winter pasture walk and kept on walking. . .
And for no particular reason, I started to look at snow, as frozen water; ready and willing to infiltrate, when warming arrives on the landscape. In areas of the country where water is lacking, capturing this white moisture is a critical element for the tap, habitat or the future growing season.
By Tim Russell, Quality Deer Management Association Certified Forester
Excerpt taken from Quality Deer Management newsletter. To learn more about QDMA or to sign up for their newsletter, visit www.qdma.com
Apple trees can provide an ample supply of quality food to whitetail deer and often retain fruit late into the season, continuing to drop apples into the winter. While establishing new food sources on your property can positively impact the herd’s nutrition, the abandoned, overgrown orchards that pepper the landscape in some regions can offer a great deal with some revitalization. If you are lucky enough to have an old apple tree or orchard where you hunt, consider reclaiming it by following these three steps.
By: Miranda Neville, Agricultural Resource Specialist
In a time when dairy farmers, or frankly any type of farmers, are struggling to stay afloat, the thought of passing down a family business seems like a very big dream and not so much a feasible reality. The struggles may be different than generations past, but one thing has stayed the same for many farm families; the concept that there is no greater place to raise a child.
Being a dairy farm mom to a spunky, sassy five-year-old daughter has been the most rewarding role. Working a full time, off-farm job at the conservation district, racing home to hear about all of the struggles of Kindergarten and making our way to the barn is our daily routine. The minute we walk in the barn any and all of our worries melt away and we are in our happy place.
By: Kevin Brown, Agricultural Resource Specialist
Every year the Conservation District organizes education days at all the local schools. We bring in the Game Commission, beekeepers, maple producers, farmers, and the like. We also do a station or two ourselves. Luckily, I often get to run one of the stations. It is the most fun I have all year. I love educating young people. I tweak my topic each time I do it, but the most basic stuff is always there. I try to bring it “home” for them. I would like to ask all of you the same thing I ask them, and really try to bring it “home” to you. What are the four things that we absolutely, positively must have to survive day in and day out? The younger kids usually get close to the right answers. I am sure there are some older folks that think cell phone, internet, cable TV and a car. You know the good stuff. My, how some of us have become “removed” from the important things that we absolutely MUST have. Have you guessed any of the four things yet?
Various staff at the Bradford County Conservation District