Start Farming Blog
Penn State Extension is offering a new series of discussion groups in Spanish for next generation growers made possible by a Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant. A group of Hispanic growers are partnering in a production unit and plan to produce cilantro, jalapeño peppers, bell peppers, epazote, onions, tomatillos and lettuce. They expect to sell these items at local Mexican restaurants and stores in the 50 mile radius of their community.
A farm can provide benefits to a community that are not always easy to measure in economic terms. A farm can keep land in agricultural production, be used as a teaching tool or be used to grow food for charity. A for-profit farm may not have the capacity or time to focus on these types of educational or charitable activities.
Each farmers market has its own personality. But perhaps we can learn a few things about our prospective customers from recent surveys of farmers market customers.
Are you planning for your fertility for next year? Do you need phosphorus or potassium? Is your organic matter low? Here are some things to think about as you consider amending your soil with compost.
If you are working on your plan for next year and it includes leasing land take a look at this sample lease agreement. This agreement compiled by Land for Good outlines the basics of what should be included in a year to year lease agreement.
Help new farmers succeed!
Dairy goat production is an alternative livestock enterprise suitable for many small-scale or part-time livestock operations. Some dairy goat producers have been successful in pasteurizing goat milk and building an on-farm jugging business, while others have ventured into processed milk products for retail distribution, especially specialty cheeses and yogurt. The potential also exists for selling milk to processors, usually on a regional basis. Although fluid milk and processed products are important markets, dairy goat producers should also consider the potential for selling animals to hobbyists and youth involved in vocational agriculture livestock projects.
Susan Schoenian is an Extension Sheep & Goat Specialist at the University of Maryland's Western Maryland Research & Education Center in Keedysville. She has put together an extensive listing of Ethinic Holidays that may be useful to consider while you create or expand your marketing plan for your lamb and goat meat.
As corn harvest progresses, don't overlook corn stalks as a feed resource for your beef cattle.
To reduce apple scab risk for next season, growers are encouraged to spray a fall application of urea as close to leaf drop as possible. Prune out fire blight strikes now while they are still visible on the tree to prevent cankers from overwintering. For those battling bacterial canker, copper applications are recommended since autumn is an optimal time for high bacterial populations. Additional disease management strategies are also discussed.
The changing of the color of the leaves and the advent of falling temperatures at night along with pumpkin, broccoli, potato and apple harvest signals to me that cooler weather is just around the corner. Having worked many years with irrigation systems and drip irrigation systems in particular, I thought that this would be an appropriate time to share with you some tips on winterizing irrigation systems so that your system will be ready for next spring.
The growing season has come to an end and I imagine you’re happy it is over too. However before you go into hibernation for the winter, take advantage of the dry fall we are experiencing and pull some soil samples. Fall soil sampling has a number of advantages.
Think about who your ideal CSA member is. Find them and keep them.
Pennsylvania crop farmers know that farming has never been a more complicated enterprise. Countless decisions must be made concerning variety selection, crop rotation, soil fertility, irrigation, weed control, insect and disease management, harvesting, marketing the crop, and labor, not to mention complying with associated regulations along the way. How can a busy farmer keep up?
So, you want to be a dairy farmer. Maybe you grew-up on the farm and are taking over ownership from your parents or grandparents, maybe you have worked on a dairy and milked cows for years, or maybe you're a novice to dairy farming but think dairy farming seems like a lifestyle for you. Whatever your background and experience, there are some things you need to know before you get started milking cows.
Cover crops can help improve soil quality, save manure nitrogen or fix nitrogen for the following crop, supply rescue forage and can lead to improved ground and surface water quality. Cover crops have a host of benefits, but there isn’t a single species that does it all. You need to determine what your goal is for your field and select a cover crop species that will do that.
You dream of being a farmer. You love working outside, growing your own food, and being your own boss, but then reality sets in. The time commitment, the loans, and the pressure to produce suddenly make starting a new farm seem like a crazy idea.
Herd Health is absolutely a prime example of the age old adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Many times a producer does not consider or appreciate the value of a true year-round herd health program until confronted with a difficult calving season or an unacceptable level of calf loss from health challenges.
Penn State Extension provides updates on Tree Fruit insect and disease as part of the Fruit Times. Here is a few of the highlights.
Spotted Wing Drosophila is a new invasive fruit fly.