best milking practices online course

posted November 20, 2017

Penn State Extension are running a best milking practice course for professionals in the dairy industry who want to learn about problems on dairy farms that result from mastitis. “Best Milking Practices” is a self-paced course primarily designed for dairy producers, employees and managers that teaches concepts to help them measure and reduce levels of mastitis, and it offers practical solutions to help apply that knowledge to milking practices.

Mastitis is a common and expensive problem on dairy farms. It is, on average, costlier than veterinary care, food, housing or equipment maintenance. To maximize a dairy’s profitability, it’s important for producers to learn as much about mastitis as possible to reduce or eliminate the spread of it on their farm. The course includes eight sections: Mastitis Basics, Cleanliness, Handling Cows, Pre-milking Prep, Milking and Post-milking, Managing Infection, CMT and On-farm Culturing, and Standard Operating Procedures.

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new research identifies cold weather strategies to avoid respiratory illness in calves

posted November 17, 2017

 

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credit: creativecommons.org

As winter approaches, research funded by the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has identified cold weather strategies for attention by regional dairy calf managers.

“Winter weather poses a natural challenge to raising young animals. Respiratory illness in calves can negatively impact weight gain, age at their first calving, first lactation milk production, farm revenue and costs,” says project leader Kimberley Morrill, Ph.D., a regional Cornell Cooperative Extension dairy specialist, Canton, NY.
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interactive geoengineering map

posted November 16, 2017

 

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credit: ETC Group and the Heinrich Böll Foundation

ETC Group and the Heinrich Böll Foundation have produced an interactive map of geoengineering projects around the world in an attempt to shed light on the worldwide state of geoengineering. The map is the first of it’s kind that is publically available that  shows the scope of research and experimentation.

This latest addition to the project builds on an earlier map of Earth Systems Experimentation that was published in 2012. The original map documented almost 300 projects and experiments related to geoengineering. Five years later, more than 800 projects have be identified. These include projects in Carbon Capture, Solar Radiation Management, Weather Modification among others. This is not a complete record of weather and climate control projects, so expect it to grow as the ETC group continue researching and as new experiments are launched.

Click HERE to explore the map and HERE to read more about geoengineering.


can we really restore degraded landscapes?

posted November 9, 2017


New and exciting things are happening at the Permaculture Skills Center. The Eco-Landscape Mastery Course is already underway! It couldn’t be a more opportune time to continue our work educating our communities and ourselves! 

It’s a degraded world out there. So many acres/hectares of landscapes have been destroyed and it’s having negative consequences for humans as well as the environment. Can we really restore these degraded landscapes? Is it possible to scale regeneration? Can we actually create businesses that focus on this vital work? The answer is…YES, YES, YES! Anyone and everyone can do this with the right knowledge. We know YOU can too, and the Eco-landscape Mastery School want to give you the roadmap to make it happen.
The course is ideally suited to:

  • Anyone who wants to start a business in ecological landscape design and contracting.
  • Beginning landscape designers who want to learn best practices and quickly grow a successful landscape design business.
  • Experienced designers, landscapers, and contractors ready to grow their business to the next level through having professional mentorship and business development support.
  • Landscape and maintenance workers who want to grow out of manual labor and into higher paid positions or start and run their own companies.
  • Permaculture practitioners and designers who want to professionalize their work.
  • Consultants who want to establish a successful and professional consultation business.
  • Regenerative agriculturists who want to educate and mentor their clients, neighbors and communities to help them grow and develop successful regenerative agriculture projects.
  • Newly Certified Permaculture Designers who want to add to their learning experience with professional tools to create a permaculture based business of their own.
  • Ecological design educators who want to support their students and colleague’s interests in  providing ecological design professionally to the world.

Are you or someone you know looking to start or scale a regenerative business? Don’t wait! Registration for the Eco-Landscape Mastery Course closes November 14, 2017

Click HERE to read more about the course.


allegheny mountain institute is now accepting applications for their farm and food education fellowship.

posted November 8, 2017


Allegheny Mountain Institute (AMI) is seeking applicants for its fully-funded Fellowship program. Now in its seventh year, the 18-month Fellowship prepares and empowers individuals to become teachers and ambassadors for a more vibrant and accessible local food system. Selected Fellows spend six months in immersive training on their mountain farm campus (Phase I) and one year in service work with non-profit partner organizations (Phase II). AMI is an educational non-profit organization with the mission to cultivate healthy communities through food and education based in Staunton, VA.

Phase I – Farm Study (April 22-October 31, 2018)

  • Gain hands-on experience in sustainable fruit and vegetable production, small animal husbandry, beekeeping, homesteading skills and more on our mountain farm in Highland County, VA.
  • Study regenerative farming, nutrition and wellness, permaculture design, and community development through expert guest instructors, field trips, and educational sessions.
  • Explore local food system leadership opportunities and participate in school gardens, farmers markets and other community events.
  • Stay in handcrafted cabins, study in wifi-equipped common spaces and share farm-fresh meals supplemented with whole food staples.
  • Receive $1,000 upon successful completion.

Phase II – Service Work (January 2- December 31, 2019)

  • Work with AMI and Partner Organizations to help build healthy communities through food and education in Highland and Augusta Counties.
  • Contribute to projects such as: developing school gardens and site-based curriculum, creating infrastructure for local food systems, growing food and increasing food access, and teaching nutrition and cooking.
  • Build leadership skills through monthly professional development sessions and continuing education opportunities.
  • Receive an annual salary of $18,000 (less payroll taxes, paid bi-weekly)

Applicants must be physically fit, able to lift 50 pounds, walk distances up and down steep hills, work outdoors for extended periods of the day, and be comfortable living and working communally as a team in a remote, mountain setting.

Applications are due by February 1, 2018 and are available at: www.alleghenymountaininstitute.org. Applications are considered on a rolling basis and are reviewed as soon as complete. For more information please e-mail jessa@alleghenymountainschool.org or call 540-886-0160.


organic gardening tips from MOFGA

posted November 5, 2017

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credit: MOFGA
The seedcorn maggot is the larvae of a fly, says Eric Sideman, MOFGA’s organic crop specialist, in the fall issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. He continues: This critter spends the winter as a pupa in the soil. Flies emerge very early in the spring from these pupae and lay eggs near decaying organic matter and germinating seeds. The eggs hatch into maggots that feed on the seeds or young plants. Gaps in rows of crops such as onions, spinach, corn, peas, etc., often blamed on poor seed, actually result more often from seedcorn maggot feeding. The fly is often attracted to decaying organic matter, including some fertilizers that organic farmers use, such as soybean meal. In such cases the maggots end up feeding on the seeds and seedlings.

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emancipatory educational experiences in scotland

posted November 4, 2017

Drumduan school, in the Scottish highlands, offers it’s students a unique and emancipatory education experience free of any form from exams or standardised testing. It’s educational focus is on participatory and practical education. Academic study is enhanced and balanced with movement, music and artistic work, with crafts, foraging  and outdoor activities. Students learn through experience,  they learn their science by building a Canadian canoe, or making a knife, or caramelising onions. What’s more, the teenagers who attend the school are happy and inspired and have the opportunity to discover who they are and what they want to achieve from life. Aspects that are all too frequently missing from the tradition educational experience.  (more…)


apprenticeships in regenerative ranching and farming

posted October 31, 2017

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credit: Quivira coalition/Cobblestone Ranch

The Quivira Coalition’s New Agrarian Program (NAP) is partnering with skilled ranchers and farmers to offer apprenticeships in regenerative agriculture. Together, they create opportunities for full-immersion learning from expert practitioners. This program is designed to support the next generation of food producers and targets those with a sincere commitment to life at the intersection of conservation and regenerative agriculture. NAP mentors are dedicated stewards of the land; they practice regenerative methods of food or fiber production, provide excellent animal care, and are skilled and enthusiastic teachers.  (more…)


job: full time teaching farm manager position in upstate ny

posted October 27, 2017

North Country School and Camp Treetops seek a full-time Teaching Farm Manager to oversee a year- round farm program intended for both food production and education of middle school aged children.

North Country School is an independent boarding and day school for grades 4-9, and Camp Treetops is a seven-week, overnight summer camp. They share a spectacular 200-acre campus in the Adirondack High Peaks region of upstate New York. The farm operation includes five acres of mixed vegetables and flowers, 35 acres of pasture, two commercial-size greenhouses, 500-tap maple sugar operation, and a multi-barn complex that houses animals raised both for consumption and for teaching purposes. Our animals include pigs, chickens, turkeys, sheep, goats, and horses. For more than 75 years, students and campers have benefited from active participation in the care of barnyard animals and the growing and harvesting of food. Nationwide, we are one of only seven Founding Programs of Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard Project. In recent years, the farm has served as nexus for much of our sustainability education.

The teaching farm manager is responsible for the care of all animals; vegetable and flower production; hiring and managing farm interns; and farm record keeping. He or she also works with School faculty and Camp counselors to integrate the farm and garden into academic curricula and daily activities, including preparing children for community-wide events like chicken and potato harvest. Applicants should have experience working in schools or other child-centric teaching environments, and should have demonstrable ability to manage a small staff and to delegate. A strong background in agriculture, knowledge of animal care, background in herd management, and competence with farm machinery are required. The qualified applicant will have experience with horse management and an ability to work closely with the NCS/CTT riding staff, who oversees a robust camp and school riding program. Supplemental farming skills, including basic carpentry, masonry, plumbing, electrical, and mechanical are a plus. Compensation and Benefits: Compensation and benefits include housing and meals; access to campus facilities including a lake, rock climbing crag, rope tow and ski hill, forest trails, wood shop and arts studios; group health insurance and retirement plan. Salary is commensurate with experience.

Minimum Qualifications:
• A desire to work at an educational institution with animal and plant production systems
• A demonstrable ability to coordinate complex tasks in a rapidly changing environment
• A desire to work with teaching faculty and camp counselors to integrate farming systems into a middle school curriculum and camp programs
• A demonstrable ability to supervise and mentor interns
• A demonstrable ability to plan production systems through time
• A demonstrable ability to operate a variety of hand tools, power tools and farm machinery • A desire to work outside in a variety of weather conditions

General Responsibilities:
• Depending upon the season, coordinating and accomplishing all aspects of greenhouse and field plant production systems and/or animal care at the barns and/or maple syrup production

  • seeding, transplanting, weeding, harvesting, soil building
  • acquire and sell horses, acquire and coordinate the harvest of production animals
  • lead morning and afternoon work crews
  • work within a budget and provide accounting of all purchases within numerous budget lines
  • coordinate school or camp community work projects
  • develop and coordinate garden/barn program activities
  • application of organic pesticides
  • collaborate with our kitchen staffs to produce food for the community
  • daily mentorship and supervision farm/garden interns
  • provide multiple teaching and learning opportunities for interns
  • maintain written records pertaining to the farm
  • maintain a 500 bucket sugar maple stand and coordinate with our school program staff to work with students in the production of maple syrup
  • daily barn chores and other related barn activities such as animal maintenance, stall cleaning
  • general carpentry with respect to maintaining farm buildings and pasture fences

    To apply, or for more information, send an email to: applicant@ncstreetops.org, or send a request via U.S. mail to: Attention: Farm Manager/Educator Search Committee, North Country School and Camp Treetops, 4382 Cascade Road, Lake Placid, NY 12946.


applications for calypso farm & ecology center’s 2018 farmer training program are now open!

posted October 24, 2017

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Calypso Farm & Ecology Center (Fairbanks, AK) is now recruiting applications for their 2018 Farmer Training Program, a 5-month immersive residential programs. The Program runs from May 7th to September 29th, 2018  and is designed to equip participants to become self-reliant farmers through immersion in all aspects of farm operations, working alongside experienced farmers for an entire Alaskan growing season. Calypso’s unique setting also provides exposure and experience with farm-based environmental education, community events, and a range of homesteading skills. The following is just a selection of the skills covered over the season:

  • Seeding and caring for greenhouse transplants
  • Prepping the field for planting
  • Planting and direct seeding
  • Managing soil fertility
  • Weed and pest management
  • Caring for farm animals
  • Harvesting
  • Operating a CSA
  • Running a farm stand and selling to local restaurants
  • Working safely, using Natural Balance
  • Whole Farm Business Planning
  • Blacksmithing & Wood Carving
  • Building
  • Wool Processing
  • Tool Making and Maintenance

This program is particularly good for beginning farmers as it includes a ‘Beginning Farmer’s Bonus’. Any participant who completes the entire program (including completing their whole farm plan) will be eligible for a bonus payment after completion of the program, intended to support any future farming plans. Farmer Bonus’s are based on need as well as program participation.

Students can choose to take this program as a 6 credit course through the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

To find out more about the program, click HERE