A weekly blog for all things conservation
By: Kevin Brown, Agricultural Resource Specialist, Bradford County Conservation District
There was a joke in school back in my day that went like, “Do you know how to keep a person in suspense? I will tell you later”. Well, I told you I would help you pay for some of these conservation practices, most notably fencing out streams, in the next column and yet I didn’t. I was keeping you in suspense. Miranda had such a good article that I just had to let her go first.
I would like to remind you that even though we here at the District may be doing it for other reasons (clean water, and who wants that?), the real reason to do any of this is for the animals themselves. The happier they are, the faster they grow (for production), and the more they will love us back.
By: Nathan Dewing, Agricultural Team Leader
Bradford County farm fields are made for grass. Our grass covered hill fields can develop highly productive soil while contributing virtually no sediment to waterways; two reasons it is the primary crop for our food producers. Bradford county grass has been used to produce milk and meats for generations, and grazing can be one of the most efficient means of harvest.
Water supply in grazing systems can make or break production efficiency, so let’s examine some of the key factors involved.
By: Jonathan VanNoy, Natural Resource Specialist
If I were to tell you to close your eyes and describe what comes to mind when you hear the word “wetland”, what would you describe? A stagnant, slimy waterbody? A grassy, soupy area with cattails? Maybe that lower field that you can only make hay on every few years? How about that special place that you love to hunt ducks, or trap muskrats? You may have an archery stand on the edge of a swamp that comes to mind. You might describe that spot in your woods that pools water each spring, and for one or two warm nights a year is just crawling with toads or salamanders as they congregate to lay masses of eggs. (Go to a local vernal pool, pond, swamp or wetland on a warm, spring evening and pull up a chair and just listen and watch. There is NOTHING that can compare to the sound you will hear if the frogs or toads have congregated!)
By: Miranda Neville, Agricultural Resource Specialist, BCCD
As temperatures are getting warmer and summer is rapidly approaching, farmers are gearing up for hay season and farm kids are preparing for cow shows. Like a kid going off to summer camp with butterflies of excitement to meet up with friends, have new experiences and make hundreds of memories, so many farm kids (and adults) are getting those butterflies thinking about packing up the cattle trailers and heading out to the county fairs. In the farming world, the cow show circuit is not only a place for cattle breeders to show off their top genetic cows- it’s also a place where they can connect with each other and have an opportunity to educate the public, but most importantly to have fun!
By: Nathan Dewing, Agricultural Team Leader, Bradford County Conservation District
Sustainable food production and distribution is getting people’s attention today. Thankfully, we have had leaders among us who haven’t taken this for granted. Let’s remember some.
By: Guest Columnist, Troy Bishopp, Upper Susquehanna Coalition, Grazing Specialist
Effective communication is a powerful tool that many outside of agriculture use on a daily basis. Some use this tool to tell our story for us, when they haven’t experienced the trials and tribulations of farm life. This concerns me greatly as consumers and elected leaders get further removed from the farm. It’s time agriculturists learn these tools and take personal responsibility for the message that is portrayed to the public.
Public speaking and media outreach are some of the scariest activities to do for anyone, least of all, folks that work the land. Good, bad or indifferent, forces have reduced our farming population so low that we now have a great opportunity. Opportunity? What opportunity?
By Tess Flynn-Belles, Natural Resource Specialist
Imagine this; it’s an early spring morning, the sun is shining and most of the snow has melted. You decide to take a walk down to your pond and see if the ice has melted off. You’re enjoying your walk, the warm sun softening the crisp of the morning air. As you approach your pond, you take in the light sparkling off the water. YAY!! The ice is off, time to start casting a line out and see what you catch. You’re cruising the edge of your pond when you notice a dead sunfish…. A little more walking… a dead largemouth bass. You look up and notice that the shoreline of your pond is littered with dead fish!! It’s then that it hits you in the gut…… FISH KILL!!!
By: Guest Columnist Cheyenne Bastian-Brown, Bradford County FFA President
What do you think of when you hear FFA? When confronted with the concept of what FFA (formally known as the National Future Farmers of America Organization) is, many people focus primarily on the word farmer and look no further for any other explanation. Since the title includes the phrase “Future Farmer,” it is then believed that each member of the organization is in pursuance of one day becoming a farmer, a landowner, and someone to feed the world population… nothing else. Typically, this is the idea that most parent/guardians have in mind when their student pursues an interest in agricultural education.
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: 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.
Various staff at the Bradford County Conservation District