Author Archives: Josh Marshall - NHFBF Communications Director

NH Farm Bureau Members Featured on New HISTORY Series

(Left to Right) Si, Bram, Heather, Jamie, and Nate Robertson. The Robertsons own and operate Bohanan Farm & Contoocook Creamery in Hopkinton, NH. The family are featured in the new HISTORY series ‘The American Farm’ which debuts Thursday, April 4 at 10 PM. Photo courtesy of HISTORY/The American Farm

To be a successful farmer you have to be a jack of all trades. Some days you are an electrician, other days you may be a plumber, and sometimes –on a good day- you get to farm too! The Robertson family from Hopkinton, NH spent the last year adding yet another job title to that list: Television stars.

Jaime and Heather Robertson and their three sons Si, Nate, and Bram, who operate Bohanan Farm & Contoocook Creamery in Hopkinton, are one of five farms from across the country being featured on a new HISTORY series called ‘The American Farm’. HISTORY bills the show as, “an authentic portrait of the fight to go from seed to stalk, and from farm to fork. The series presents an up-close look at one full year of family farming.” A film crew spent most of last year documenting the lives of the Robertsons from the fields to the dinner table.

Considering what a small segment of the country is actually involved in production agriculture, the Robertsons are hoping ‘The American Farm’ will help educate the general public on what is really happening on family farms. Nate, the middle child who focuses on herd management, wants people to be more aware of the hard-work and care that goes into putting the steak on their plate or the cheese on their pizza. “I was so excited to tell people what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and why we think we’re doing it the right way,” he said.

The family was a bit surprised, according to Nate, when they found out they would be featured. After all, “Who would want to watch you do stupid stuff with your brothers?” he joked. While the day-to-day chores the Robertsons undertake may seem like ‘just working’ to them, it’s an unknown world for 98% of the population.

The show’s producers, Thom Beers, Jeff Conroy, and Sarah Bernard of BoBCat Studios, wanted to go deeper than just the hows and whats of farming to provide, “an honest tale of risk, reward, hard work, and innovation centered on the lives of five family farms across America,” according to the show’s website. This is something the Robertsons found evident in the dedication of the crew. “His [Thom’s] heart is really in it,” Nate said. “He’s conscious of the food system today and how things affect agriculture.”

To learn more about the show, click here. Be sure to tune in to HISTORY on Thursday, April 4th at 10:00 PM to catch the series premiere of ‘The American Farm’

NHFB Young Farmer Committee Connects with Legislators Over Breakfast

NHFB Young Farmer Committee Vice-Chair Nicole Glines speaks at the annual Young Farmer Legislative Breakfast, held this year at Pearl & Sons Farm in Loudon.

The New Hampshire Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmer Committee held their annual Legislative Breakfast event at Pearl & Sons Farm in Loudon on Tuesday, March 26. Each spring, the group of agricultural enthusiasts between the ages of 16 and35 invites members of the NH House Environment & Agriculture Committee, federal lawmakers, and other movers and shakers in NH agriculture to join them for a hearty meal and an opportunity to hear concerns facing young farmers across the state.

“Implementing policies that still give farmers the necessary latitude to do their jobs well is critical to the stability of our local food system,” NHFB Young Farmer Committee Vice-Chair Nicole Glines said. “Less than 2% of the nation’s population feeds everyone else, and that gap widens more every day, making the agricultural community very much a voting minority. Combine that with the huge disconnect most people have from food production and we have a concerning situation where positive intentions can have negative results.  The annual Young Farmer Legislative Breakfast is a valuable networking event to connect young members of our ag community and our state’s decision makers. Our hope is that legislators will have new resources to turn to in the event a policy affecting agriculture crosses their desk.”

NHFB Young Farmer Committee members (left to right) Nicole Glines, Amelia Aznive, Joe Garcia, and Ben Davis at the annual NHFB Young Farmer Legislative Breakfast

This year, the event was hosted by Environment & Agriculture Committee member, and NHFB Treasurer, Representative Howard Pearl. Young farmers, legislators, and other guests networked inside Pearl’s heated shop during breakfast before Glines facilitated a group discussion on current bills and subjects of interest. NH Commissioner of Agriculture Shawn Jasper spoke about the Dairy Premium Fund, Representative Peter Bixby updated the group on the prospects of industrial hemp production in the state, Representative Sherry Dutzy asked about safety nets and retirement planning for farmers, and Representative Judy Aron touched on the importance of youth agricultural groups like the NHFB Young Farmers, FFA, and 4-H.

Also in attendance were staffers for Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Representatives Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas who all read letters recognizing the importance of young people in agriculture and the overall impact agriculture has on the Granite State economy.

All agricultural enthusiasts and producers between the ages of 16 and 35 are encouraged to participate in the New Hampshire Farm Bureau Young Farmer program. It is a terrific way to meet others with similar interests in agriculture as well as provides many opportunities to develop professionally and personally. The Young Farmers participate in farm tours, community service projects, and influence public policy affecting agriculture in the Granite State. To learn more, visit www.nhfarmbureau.org.

Senator Shaheen Hears Farmers’ Concerns Amid Shutdown Fears

Senator Jeanne Shaheen speaks with dairy farmer Jamie Robertson, who along with his family, operates Contoocook Creamery in Hopkinton.

Concord, NH. – New Hampshire’s senior Senator heard from a dozen or so NH farmers and agricultural specialists last Friday at the New Hampshire Farm Bureau Federation (NHFB) office in Concord. Senator Jeanne Shaheen wanted to know how or if the partial government shutdown, now in its third week, is weighing on farmers in the Granite State.

“Right now we aren’t hearing from our members about many problems due to the shutdown, but that could change,” Said NHFB President Denis Ward. Hopkinton dairy farmer Jaime Robertson echoed those sentiments and cautioned, “A lot of it depends on how long this drags out.”

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NH Farm Bureau 102nd Annual Meeting Recap

New Hampshire Farm Bureau Federation Holds
102nd Annual Meeting. New Slate of Officers and
Award Winners Announced

New Hampshire Farm Bureau Federation (NHFB) held its 102nd Annual Meeting on November 2nd and 3rd at the Mountain View Grand Resort in Whitefield, NH. The event, hosted by Coos County Farm Bureau, offered tours of local agricultural operations Fuller’s Sugarhouse and Forbes Dairy Farm, workshops, and competitions all in support of the theme “A Harvest of Farming History”

The culmination of NHFB’s grassroots policy development process occurs during the Meeting of the House of Delegates as part of each year’s Annual Meeting. Delegates, elected by their county Farm Bureau, met the morning of November 3rd to vote on the policies that will guide NHFB’s work in the coming year and to elect a slate of officers for 2019. The elected slate of officers is as follows: Denis Ward of Monroe – President, Joyce Brady of Columbia – 1st Vice President, Matt Scruton of Rochester – 2nd Vice President, Rebecca Stevens of Epsom – 2nd Vice President, Howard Pearl of Loudon – Treasurer.

The Annual Meeting Banquet, held the evening of November 2nd, recognized outstanding achievements and contributions to agriculture from NHFB members. To view the full list of awards given out that evening, click here.

  • The 102nd Annual Meeting of New Hampshire Farm Bureau started off with a farm tour of Fuller's Sugarhouse. Here owner David Fuller explains how sap flows throughout the facility while Stan Knecht looks on.

 

New Hampshire Apple Day Kicks Off Season at Sunnycrest Farm

(Right to left) Governor Chris Sununu joins NH Commissioner of Agriculture Shawn Jasper and Dan Hicks, owner of Sunnycrest Farm in Londonderry, to mark the official start of apple season in New Hampshire.

Thursday, September 6th marked the beginning of apple season in New Hampshire as Governor Chris Sununu made the ceremonial first pick at Sunnycrest Farm in Londonderry alongside Commissioner of Agriculture, Markets & Food Shawn Jasper, Sunnycrest owner Dan Hicks, and UNH Cooperative Extension Fruit & Vegetable Production Field Specialist George Hamilton. Also on hand were members of the New England Apple Association and New Hampshire Fruit Growers Association.

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NH Eat Local Month 2018

Throughout the month of August, New Hampshire Farm Bureau (NHFB) joins with 70+ partners throughout the state to highlight New Hampshire Eat Local Month — a month-long celebration of local food and New Hampshire farmers and producers.

“New Hampshire residents, and visitors alike, are showing unprecedented interest in local food, and this month-long celebration offers a great opportunity to feature New Hampshire grown foods and farms,” said Gail McWilliam Jellie from the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food.

With 70+ partners working together to bring you great NH Eat Local Month festivities, it won’t be hard for you to find a way to get involved!

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Agriculture and America’s Pastime

Over the previous three years, over seven million households, on average, have tuned in to watch the Major League Baseball All-Star game and Tuesday night’s game should be no exception. Marking the mid-way point of the season, the All-Star Game pits the best players from the American League versus their National League counterparts for bragging rights at the highest level of America’s pastime.

This year, the midsummer classic is being hosted at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., just a few miles away from the American Farm Bureau Federation headquarters. So, AFBF is swinging for the fences and placing an ad in the MLB All-Star Game Program.

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Dairy Farm Tour Workshop Prepares Farmers to Connect with Consumers

Sharing your story, connecting with the public, and educating new generations on the benefits of agriculture along with the quality of farmers' products and practices are key ways to strengthen the connection between producers and consumers. Why not accomplish all three and never leave your property?

In late March, Jessica Ziehm of the New York Animal Agriculture Coalition (NYAAC), Laura Hardie of New England Dairy Promotion Board (NEDPB), and Emily Getty of Stonyfield led a farm tour workshop for dairy farmers and stakeholders at Stonewall Farm in Keene. The goal of the workshop was to prepare farmers with the tools and resources they need to host their own farm tours.

Farm Bureau members and staff were there to participate and document the event. You can read more about the workshop here, watch the recap video produced by NHFB below, and download useful resources for hosting your own farm tours at the bottom of this page.

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Safety Program a Success for New Hampshire Farmers

Editor’s Note: March 4 – 10 is Agricultural Safety Awareness Program Week (ASAP). ASAP was created to bring awareness to safety and health issues facing the agriculture industry. The following article can also be found in the March/April Issue of ‘The Communicator’

Reflecting on his chosen profession, Chichester farmer and past Merrimack County Farm Bureau President, Steve MacCleery, paused before declaring, “The biggest thing I can say about farming is that it’s difficult, but I enjoy it.” Steve explained that he and his wife Holly didn’t get rich pursuing agriculture, but they agreed that it was a great way to raise their children and to enjoy earning a living. “Having said that, you have to try to be safe.”

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Ag Safety Awareness Week: No One Can Take Your Place

Concord, NH – Across the country, county and state Farm Bureaus are making safety a priority through the Agricultural Safety Awareness Program. As part of ASAP, March 4-10 has been designated as Agricultural Safety Awareness Week. U.S. Agricultural Safety and Health Centers will join Farm Bureau in promoting the week with its theme “No One Can Take Your Place.”

A different safety focus will be highlighted by New Hampshire Farm Bureau and U.S. Ag Centers each day of the week:

Monday, March 5 – Hearing
Tuesday, March 6 – Respiratory
Wednesday, March 7 – Impaired Driving
Thursday, March 8 – Fire
Friday, March 9 – General Health

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Bartletts Recognized with NHFB Profile Award

Bill & Heidi Bartlett of Bartlett’s Blueberry Farm in Newport were presented with the prestigious NHFB Profile Award by Seth Wilner at the NHFB 101st Annual Meeting.

Each year, NHFB has the honor of presenting the Profile Award to recognize a New Hampshire person or persons for distinguished service to agriculture and rural life. Nominations for this award come from County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and are judged by a panel of past Profile Award winners.

The 2017 Profile Award was presented to Bill & Heidi Bartlett of Bartlett Blueberry Farm in Newport, NH. Bill & Heidi Bartlett purchased what is now Bartlett’s Blueberry Farm in Newport in 1985 and have continued its growth as a successful farm and business for over 30 years. Beyond that, their contributions to the community have been just as important as their dedication to agriculture.

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NHFB Young Farmer Achievement Award Goes to Jeff Moore

Jeff Moore was presented with the NHFB Young Farmer Achievement Award by Gail McWilliam Jellie at the NHFB 101st Annual Meeting.

This year’s NHFB Young Farmer Achievement Award went to Jeff Moore of Windswept Maples Farm in Loudon, NH.

The NHFB Young Farmer Achievement Award competition recognizes young people between the ages of 18 to 35 who have excelled in their farming operation and have shown leadership abilities through Farm Bureau and in their community. The ideal candidate for the award is an individual or couple involved in production agriculture with the majority of their income subject to normal production risk.

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Bruce & Rebecca Stevens Win NHFB Excellence in Agriculture Award

State Representative Howard Pearl (center) presents the NHFB Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award to Bruce & Rebecca Stevens of Epsom at the NHFB 101st Annual Meeting

The 2017 NHFB Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award was given to Bruce & Rebecca Stevens of Epsom, NH. The award acknowledges the efforts of Young Farmers who do not derive the majority of their income from farming, but are actively contributing to agriculture and to their community.

Bruce & Rebecca Stevens have a small farm in Epsom raising beef cattle and hay. Rebecca became involved with FFA while attending Coe-Brown Northwood Academy winning numerous awards and serving as chapter Vice-President. She was instrumental in the formation of the school’s FFA Alumni Chapter and served two terms as President. Bruce gained experience in agriculture working for local dairy farms and eventually started working for Dairy Farmers of America as a milk truck driver. He now owns his own commercial trucking company. Rebecca has served on the Merrimack County Farm Bureau Board of Directors for many years and is currently serving her first term as President.

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Glen Putnam Takes Home Animal Husbandry Award

Glen Putnam was awarded the 2017 NHFB Young Farmer Animal Husbandry Award by NHFB Executive Director Diane Clary at the organization’s 101st Annual Meeting.

Glen Putnam was awarded this year’s NHFB Young Farmer Animal Husbandry Award. He owns and operates Winsome Farm Organics in Piermont, NH producing organic milk, beef, and more as a sixth generation farmer.

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Amelia Aznive Wins Young Farmer Discussion Meet

Amelia Aznive won the 2017 NHFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet at the organization’s 101st Annual Meeting. She will move on to compete nationally in Nashville, Tennessee in January.

Amelia Aznive of Concord, NH was named the winner of the 2017 NHFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet. Competitors in the Discussion Meet prepare thoughts and opinions on various subjects facing agriculture and cooperatively work towards a solution.

The goal of the Discussion Meet is to develop leaders for effective problem solving through group discussion, similar to the organization’s grassroots policy development process. The competition provides an opportunity for Young Farmers to build basic discussion skills, give and receive criticism in a helpful manner, develop an understanding of important issues, explore and pool knowledge to reach consensus, and solve problems.

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