Tag Archives: NH agriculture

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.”

There are a wide range of programs and services that could be negatively impacted if the shutdown does indeed go on for months, including new dairy safety net programs agreed to in the latest Farm Bill. Bob Wellington, Senior Vice President of Economics, Communications and Legislative Affairs at Agri-Mark explained that the final language of these programs still needs to be written, signed up for, and then implemented. That is all being delayed due to the stalemate on government funding. No matter when the government reopens fully, Wellington advocated that these programs need to be made retroactive to January, 1st.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen (center) met with about a dozen NH farmers and agricultural professionals on Friday, January 4 to hear a wide range of concerns from repercussions of a lengthy government shutdown to trade tariffs and more.

Senator Shaheen noted that some services provided by United States Department of Agriculture are still being carried out but 50 percent of the employees at USDA are working without pay. Traditionally, those employees are paid later for the work they’ve already done. “Sorta like farming,” Epsom dairy farmer Stewart Yeaton laughed, “at least we still have a sense of humor.”

Agriculture, whatever the commodity, doesn’t wait around for politicians to come to consensus; cows still need milking, seeds still need planting, and crops still need picking. Concord farmer Chuck Souther explained how in 2018, during a time when the government was open, he lost $18,000 in unpicked strawberries due to delays in the processing and arrival of temporary laborers through the H-2A program. His concern being that a prolonged shuttering of the government could further interrupt that already burdensome process. Loudon grower Doug Cole, representing the ornamental horticulture industry, also spoke about the challenges of finding farm labor, although he has moved away from H-2A workers in his business.

While the Senator’s focus was on the effects of the shutdown, NH farmers took the opportunity to share their concerns on a wide range of issues including comprehensive immigration reform, troubles facing the dairy industry, trade tariffs, and regulatory challenges. New Hampshire farmers are resilient and will continue to work in the face of any adversity whether it comes from nature or politics.

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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NH Young Farmers Recognized with ‘Most Innovative Award’

  • The Harvest for All Most Innovative Award is given annually to Young Farmer Programs with a Harvest for All project that is new, unique, impactful, productive and can be easily replicated in other states seeking to have a greater impact on hunger relief in their communities. The NHFB Young Farmers were one of three states to be recognized in 2017.

Concord, NH February 14, 2017 – The New Hampshire Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers were recognized by the American Farm Bureau Federation with the 2017 Harvest For All Most Innovative Award at the 2017 AFBF FUSION Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The award is given annually to Young Farmer Programs with a Harvest for All project that is new, unique, impactful, productive and can be easily replicated in other states seeking to have a greater impact on hunger relief in their communities. With support from Nationwide Insurance, the award also provides funds for future Harvest For All projects.

In 2016, the NHFB Young Farmers donated 300 pounds of fresh ground beef to five New Hampshire food pantries & soup kitchens as part of the Harvest For All campaign. The Angus-Holstein calf was donated by Hatchland Farm in North Haverhill and raised by NHFB Young Farmer Chair, Amy Matarozzo, and her husband Brian at their farm, LorrenJoyce Farm, in Center Barnstead for a full year.

Matarozzo accepted the award from AFBF President Zippy Duvall at the FUSION conference. “It is a true honor to accept national recognition for our hard work to provide fresh beef to our hungry community. We look forward to continuing to make a difference in the community,” Matarozzo said, “Thank you to all of our sponsors and contributors to the project!”

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Young Farmers’ Harvest for All Collects 7,855 Pounds From NH Farms for NH Food Banks

  • The NH Young Farmers are grateful to all the farms who participated in August's Harvest for All donation. Chip Hardy (far right) and the crew at Brookdale Fruit Farm poses here alongside their donation of 3 pallets of tomatoes!

Concord, NH – Over 7,800 pounds of fruits and vegetables were donated to the Friendly Kitchen in Concord and the NH Food Bank in Manchester thanks to volunteers from the New Hampshire Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers Committee and the generosity of local farms. The Young Farmers, with some help from two Granite State FFA Officers, spent Monday August 15th travelling across the state visiting 11 farms to pick up produce donations for the Harvest for All program.

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Young Farmers Raise and Donate 295 Pounds of Beef to NH Food Pantries

  • Thanks to everyone at The Local Butcher in Barnstead, NH for donating the full cost of processing and packaging 295 pounds of ground beef to be donated to NH Food Pantries!

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers Committee donated 295 pounds of ground beef to several food pantries and soup kitchens across the state on Monday, May 16th. As part of the Harvest For All Campaign, a partnership with American Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Program and Feeding America, a nationwide network of food banks, the Young Farmers annually organize the collection and donation of fresh produce from New Hampshire Farms to help fight hunger. Last year they collected and donated over 5,000 pounds of fresh produce to soup kitchens and food pantries across the state. Expanding on their traditional efforts, the Young Farmers decided to raise a beef cow as part of this year’s Harvest For All Campaign.

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Young Farmer Achievement Award Presented At Annual Meeting

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John and Heather Fernald, along with their two children, are presented the Young Farmer Achievement Award by Dave Babson at the New Hampshire Farm Bureau Annual Meeting on Friday, November 13th.

CONCORD, NH – John T. and Heather Fernald, III of Nottingham were awarded the Young Farmer Achievement Award at New Hampshire Farm Bureau’s Annual Meeting on Friday, November 13th. The Young Farmer Achievement Award competition is designed to recognize 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. Candidates for the Achievement Award must be involved in production agriculture with the majority of their income subject to normal production risk.

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Coos County Hosts 2015 Young Farmer Summer Games

  • Coos County Farm Bureau President, Joyce Brady, explains the rules of the obstacle course to competitors at the 2015 NHFBF Young Farmer Summer Games.

North Stratford, NH. The New Hampshire Farm Bureau Young Farmers held their 2015 Summer Games on Saturday, July 11th. Competitors from around the state took some time off from their farms to spend a beautiful morning at The Mason’s Northwinds Dairy Farm in North Stratford, NH competing in a wide range of events.

Members of Coos County’s Young Farmers Committee took the reigns in organizing the Summer Games, planning the events which included calf roping, using a roping dummy; an obstacle course that involved each member of the team and required teammates to switch off wearing an oversized pair of overalls before attempting their leg of the course; and a water bucket relay, where teams raced to fill a water trough using a leaky bucket. “My favorite event was the dizzy bat,” said Leandra Pritchard, NHFB Young Farmer Co-Coordinator, “because I thought it was hilarious.” For that event, team members took turns spinning ten times around a baseball bat before attempting to run, disoriented, across the finish line.

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The Buzz on Pollinators in New Hampshire

  • While some estimate New Hampshire to have up to 250 species of native bees, the honey bee is still the most widely utilized pollinator in agricultural production.

Although the honey bee is typically what comes to mind when thinking about pollinators, there are lots of native insects doing their part to produce our food as well. Bumble bees, carpenter bees, leaf cutter bees, and mason bees are just some of New Hampshire’s native bees. Distinct from social bees like the honey bee, carpenter and mason bees are two examples of solitary bees that don’t form colonies. Instead, they form individual nests utilizing wood or mud and water respectively. UNH Cooperative Extension Field Specialist George Hamilton works extensively with Hillsborough County growers. “They rely on [native pollinators] more than they even know.” Hamilton said. Specifically, Hamilton says, the squash bee is one of the, “unsung and unseen heroes” pollinating cucurbits like squash and pumpkins. UNH assistant professor and researcher Sandra Rehan estimates that there could be up to 250 bee species in New Hampshire. She and a team at the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station at UNH are conducting research monitoring native bee populations and their habitat with hopes of informing farmers and policy makers with how best to promote health and productivity of native pollinators. There they have constructed a ‘Bee Hotel’ with different features to attract specific bees. You will also find butterflies, moths, beetles, and even flies pollinating crops here in New Hampshire.

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Sullivan County Farm Bureau Serves Dinner and Discussion on Key Issues with New Hampshire Legislators

  • Seth Wilner, UNH Cooperative Extension Field Specialist for Sullivan County, addresses the crowd at the Sullivan County Farm Bureau Legislative Dinner.

NEWPORT, NH – May 11th 2015 – Sullivan County Farm Bureau hosted a dinner at the Sugar River Valley Regional Technical Center (SRVRTC) in Newport on May, 11th inviting members from the New Hampshire House of Representatives Environment and Agriculture Committee and Sullivan County as their honorable guests. The event was an occasion for Sullivan County Farm Bureau to open a dialogue with their representatives and other state legislators to discuss the important role agriculture continues to play in the county and across the state. New Hampshire Farm Bureau President, Jeff Holmes, and NHFBF Staff were also present taking the opportunity to share concerns and positions on current and future legislation.

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Achievement Award Prize Arrives for Young Farmer

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Adam Crete sits with his Young Farmer Achievement Award prize, a Kubota M110GX tractor, thanks to Pinnacleview Equipment of Walpole and Kubota.

Boscawen, NH – Last November Adam and Patricia Crete of Highway View Farm in Boscawen received the Young Farmer Achievement Award at the New Hampshire Farm Bureau Federation 99th annual meeting. In early April, Adam received a big reminder of just how much that honor means when a Kubota M110GX tractor arrived at the farm. Along with a prize from Poulin Grain and the opportunity to represent New Hampshire at the American Farm Bureau Convention in San Diego this past January, the Cretes received the use of the Kubota tractor for six months or 250 hours.

Since 1992, through a partnership with Kubota Tractor Corporation and Pinnacleview Equipment of Walpole, the Young Farmer Achievement Award recipient has been given the use of a tractor through the Kubota Young Farmer Program.  Kubota has a proud history of supporting Farm Bureau, at the state and federal level, and it’s Young Farmer Award.

Adam has been busy at the farm and is certainly getting use out of the tractor. He says this time of year calls for spreading manure, tilling under cover crops, and planting corn and that the use of the new tractor is helping on all accounts. He has been very pleased with the tractor’s versatility as he moves from the field to the yard saying, “The bucket is coming in handy”.

To be eligible for the Achievement Award, contestants must be between the ages of 18-35 and members in good standing with their county Farm Bureaus. They must be actively engaged in farming with a majority of their income coming from production agriculture.

Farmers Represent NH at National Convention

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New Hampshire farmers can be assured they will be represented at the 96th American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Annual Convention. Twelve members of the New Hampshire Farm Bureau Federation (NHFBF) will be traveling to San Diego, California to take part in the nation’s largest farm organization’s conference this weekend, January 10 – 12. Continue reading

Concord Votes to Approve USDA Poultry Processor

crop_Dollarphotoclub_22720422Concord, N.H. – December 18, 2014 – The saga of the Fournier Foods major site plan application came to a conclusion last night as the Concord Planning Board moved to approve the proposal. Fournier Foods is planning on building a 5,500-square-foot USDA inspected facility that would enable New Hampshire’s poultry meat industry to grow. Continue reading

More Permits and Paperwork for Farmers?

The EPA broadens jurisdiction with its proposed rule, “Waters of the U.S.” impacting farmers across the country and New Hampshire.
 Puddle on the field.
The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) has carefully analyzed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s proposed rule, “Waters of the U.S.” and is concerned with the intention of the proposal. Simply put, the rule attempts to regulate virtually all water, including puddles, ponds and ditches, making farming more difficult. Continue reading

NH Women Break Statistical Records

Tracie Smith of Fitzwilliam is one of the 1,358 principal women operators in the Granite State.

Tracie Smith of Fitzwilliam is one of the 1,358 principal women farm operators in the Granite State.

A male dominated industry is typically how agriculture is perceived.  Men continue to be the main operators however, the newly released results of the USDA – National Agricultural Statistics Service indicate some interesting findings when it comes to women.   Continue reading