From apprenticeship to ownership

farmers with sign

Young farmers thrilled to be launching a business

By Martha Hoffman Kerestes

Leeds, Maine — A 350-acre former dairy farm will have cows again, thanks to Haden Gooch and Katie Gualtieri. Just owning the land is something they find hard to wrap their minds around.

“I never thought we could have our own farm,” Haden says.

The road to farm ownership and dairying has been a long one, with years of working on different farms and learning the many facets of raising livestock.

Neither of them grew up on a farm. Haden’s grandfather had a beef operation that he visited but never really worked on. Both Haden and Katie were interested in agriculture, though.

Continue reading “From apprenticeship to ownership”

Who will reap carbon market rewards?

By Joel McNair

Imagine if someone offered you $150 an acre just to keep doing what you’re already doing. No doubt some of you would turn away due to philosophical reasons, and at least initially quite a few of you would view the pitch as just another dose of snake oil.

But no doubt many of you would be intrigued.

Intriguing indeed is the concept of being paid for ecosystem services. And it’s happening. Specifically, private enterprise is offering payments to farmers who are either judged or proven to be reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Continue reading “Who will reap carbon market rewards?”

Practical genetics: knock out the props

Allen Williams

By Allen Williams

Genetic selection is often complicated and confusing for many livestock producers. We try to decipher numerous trait measurements. We pour through and try to interpret breeding values and EPDs. We like to use weighted or adjusted values for various traits. In the past couple of decades we have added DNA marker technology to the mix.

We read breed promotion literature, look at the glossy pictures in breed association catalogs, and ask neighbors and friends what they are using. Some of us pay attention to sale barn owners and operators, feedlot managers, the packer or processor, the lender or whoever is selling us something.

Continue reading “Practical genetics: knock out the props”

Why we built a baleage dryer

By Nathan Weaver
First in a series

The seed for a mechanical hay drier was planted in my mind by an article in the May 2010 issue of Graze. On a visit to northern France, Joel McNair had talked with Jean-Luc Gaugain about his system for drying loose hay.

Jean-Luc’s system captured solar energy from air heated inside the black, steel roof and walls of his barn. This heated air was forced through loose hay to finish the drying process of forages that had been harvested at 30-35% moisture.

Continue reading “Why we built a baleage dryer”

Keeping a farm in the family

Family in front of barn

Corse family using grazing to maintain 152-year legacy

By Martha Hoffman
Whitingham, Vermont
— For the past 152 years the Corse family has milked cows in south central Vermont.

Today, Leon Corse, his wife, Linda, and their adult daughter, Abbie, are doing their best to continue that legacy with organic-certified management tailored to their farm. And they’re helping others begin their own legacies through participation in the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship, a program aiming to bring new dairy farmers into the industry.

Continue reading “Keeping a farm in the family”

Doing what it takes to launch a grass dairy

Beichlers flexible with funding and market niche

By Martha Hoffman

Middlebrook, Virginia — Dairy experience was the main capital Ben and Kristen Beichler used when they started their grass dairy in 2017. An investor group covered the cash.

Since then, there have been plenty of surprises and curveballs, but with some creative solutions they’ve been able to employ, the Beichlers are happy with the direction they’re headed in feeding no grain, milking once a day, and selling raw milk herdshares.

Continue reading “Doing what it takes to launch a grass dairy”