November/December 2012

MFBF Office Headquarters
Address 249 Lakeside Ave Marlborough, MA 01752
Phone: 508.481.4766 | Fax: 508.481.4768

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MFBF President, Richard Bonanno’s Address to delegate body at the 93rd MFBF Delegate Session

Berkshire County.  I want to thank you all for participating in this meeting and for believing in the mission of Farm Bureau.  I also want to thank the entire staff of MFBF, the officers, and the board of directors for working so hard over the past year.  We will have some board changes this year.  I want to recognize retiring board members for their many years of service.  They include Ken Avery from Franklin County, Rhett Proctor from Berkshire County, Dwight Sipler from Middlesex County, and Leo Cakounes from Cape Cod and the Islands. 

There are several areas that I want to touch on.  Some will be expanded on in other reports this morning.

Our relationship with DAR is as strong as it has ever been.  Greg Watson, appointed this past April, is a pleasure to work with and is especially focused on helping all farmers prosper in the Commonwealth.  We realize economic times are tough but our commitment to keeping our Department in place and effective is solid.  Much of the legislative and regulatory changes that we are working on will require increased or redirected funding at DAR.  With many important issues such as slaughter, animal rights, raw milk, compost, and food safety on our bucket list, a well-funded and well-managed DAR will do much to help our industry.

On the Federal front, we are hoping for quick passage of the Farm Bill.  Issues especially related to dairy, specialty crops, and insurance are our highest priorities.  Just remember, though, that the 2007 farm bill was not passed until June 18, 2008.  Over the past year, we have had a good relationship with both of our Senators, Kerry and Brown.  During the full Senate debate of the Farm Bill, both offices were contacting MFBF on a daily basis asking for advice on many aspects of the bill.  We will work hard with Senator Warren’s office to help her to better understand agriculture.  On the House side, we have communicated mostly with Jim McGovern.  His seat on the Agriculture Committee, combined with the expansion of his district into the Valley, has elevated him to a position of increased importance for Massachusetts agriculture.  He is a vigorous supporter of nutrition programs, but he has come to us for help with understanding ag issues.  We need his support on the ag side.

Also on the policy front, there is much interest by government and independent groups to discuss both local and regional food systems.  The folks who are most involved are not necessarily working farmers or landowners.  Policy that comes from these discussions is likely to infringe on the rights of landowners and will give preference to certain production methods over others.  If you have the opportunity, I encourage you to participate in these discussions to add our perspective.  Brad attended a New England meeting this past summer in VT.  The focus was on a plan written by someone at Brandeis University.  Highlights of that plan included cutting consumption of red meat in half, replacing protein needs with an increase in production of dry beans, increasing broiler production in New England from the current 1 million birds to 350 million birds using “chicken tractors”, and clearing 4 million acres of forest land for the increased production of dry beans and chickens.  We are trying to attend as many of these meetings as possible, but we need your help.

One of my goals with MFBF when I was first elected was to improve our position of influence in the state.  After all, our main purpose is to help farmers with issues at the local, state, and federal level.  We are, by far, the major voice for farmers in Massachusetts.  We continue to also work with our larger commodity associations that contract out or do their own lobbying on targeted issues.  We take our responsibilities in this area very seriously and we are constantly working on the policies and priorities that are set by this delegate body.  We are working to be inclusive in our efforts and to always improve our communication with the many other groups that represent sectors of the ag community.  One important example of increased influence involves Ag Day at the State House.  While we have always been involved in helping make that day successful, we have worked hard to strengthen the importance of the Ag Day White Paper by allowing input and securing adoption by over 2 dozen commodity groups and other organizations.  In addition, we were asked in 2012 by DAR to take the lead in organizing Ag Day which put us at the podium.

Our fund raising project with UMass to help create the Undergraduate Learning Center is on track.  Including the major announcements from Farm Family Insurance, Farm Credit, and CoBank, we are approaching $350,000 in pledges.  The old Morgan horse barn is scheduled to be moved in 2013 and UMass has publicized that the new name for the barn will be Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation Hall. As many of you know, we had our summer Board meeting on the site in Amherst.  It is an impressive location.  I believe that this project will have long lasting benefits for our organization.

I am especially pleased at the progress that our Young Farmer and Rancher Committee has made over the past year.  Terri Lawton competed in the Discussion Meet at the AFBF meeting and she is almost finished with her Leadership Training in the AFBF PALS program.  After winning the New England Collegiate Discussion Meet competition in NH, Chris Grant made it to the sweet 16 at the national collegiate competition in Michigan.  Out Committee hosted a group of young farmers from Illinois this summer and arranged 4 days of great tours of Massachusetts agriculture.  We granted their wish of no corn and soybeans.  We showed them everything from cranberries and lobster to specialty grains and turf. The return of the Discussion Meet competition to our annual meeting is also a very positive sign.  Jamie Cruz is well focused, inclusive, and aggressive as Chair and she is working with a very capable inner circle of young people to get things done.

Our new membership category that we will vote on today called “Friend of Local Farmers” should help us on many fronts.  Three years ago, I spoke of our need to educate the public about agriculture and our issues.  With over 6 million residents of this state and only 7700 farms, we can ill afford to neglect the public as a means to help further our causes.  This new category is designed to improve our communication with the public as well as allow Farm Family Insurance to more easily market personal lines of insurance.  With today’s by law vote, we also plan to initiate an anniversary date membership year to improve renewals.  It is also our hope that many of you will help to market Farm Bureau to your farm stand, CSA, and farmer’s market customers.  We will be in contact with all of our farmer members over the next few months to provide ideas, resources, and help with this new membership program.

As of mid-November, we have inked a new Five-year contract with Farm Family Insurance.  Over the term of that contract, Farm Family will contribute about a half million dollars to MFBF for exclusive use of our membership list for insurance purposes.  As part of the new contract, we have also agreed on a new discount option for our Associate members who are buying non-agricultural business policies.  Our back door loss on the Associate membership side is high and we need to reduce it.  A major piece of the new contract is to also work with Farm Family at least annually to brainstorm, refine, and implement improved marketing programs for our mutual benefit.  For example, with a $20 membership for personal auto insurance combined with a 5% savings on premium, we hope to see a large increase of members in our new friends category.

As you will further hear, we have reached an important plateau with our for-profit corporation FLAME.  As many of you know, the Farmers Live Animal Market Exchange (FLAME) includes the livestock auction, the retail location that houses the AGWAY store, and two commercial lots.  The short version of this story is that everyone is paying their rent on time, Farm Bureau is no longer financially supporting the livestock market, and we have succeeded in repaying all our outside debt which culminated in a final payment to Middlesex County this past March.

In conclusion I want to thank you all for allowing me to serve as your President.  I am honored to serve in this capacity and always appreciate your suggestions and criticisms.  


Making Farm Bureau Policy by Brad Mitchell

While the rest of the world doesn’t make their resolutions until New Year’s Day, Massachusetts Farm Bureau members got a jump on the rest of the population by approving new resolutions at our annual meeting in Pittsfield at the end of November.

Resolutions are essentially policy statements put forward by members. They establish the policies by which Farm Bureau operates, as well as gives the staff direction on legislation to pursue, support and oppose.  The resolution process begins when a member raises an issue at a county meeting. If the resolution passes at the county level, they then go to the state annual meeting for discussion and vote by the Delegate Session – a group of representatives from each county. Resolutions which pass at state annual meetings and have national relevance are brought to the national delegate session at the American Farm Bureau Federation for consideration and vote.

Friday’s delegate session was the most lively I’ve ever attended. Normally it’s pretty clear from a voice vote as to whether the “ayes” or the “nays” prevail.  However at this meeting there were at least a half-dozen resolutions where the vote was so close that a hand count was needed. At the end of the day, twenty new resolutions were approved.

Once the new resolutions are passed, each delegate is then asked to rank each one in order of priority. The results are then tallied and the rankings give our staff an idea on how to prioritize efforts and resources.  The top five resolutions from the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation 2012 Annual Meeting, are:

#5 – Reconstitute the Farmlands Advisory Committee under the Wetlands Protection Act (WPA) – The  WPA contains a number of provisions that allow farms to operate in wetlands buffer zones. However these provisions have not been re-examined in more than 20 years. Many feel the provisions could be expanded to allow more farmland to go into production without compromising wetlands. (The Farmlands Advisory Committee is the group that provides guidance to DEP. )

#4 Return Excess Funds in the Producer Security Fund to Dairy Farmers –  State law calls for the Commonwealth to collect money from dairy farmers to form a Producer Security Fund – a sort of insurance pool for dairy farmers should their processor close down or go bankrupt. The state stopped collecting money in the early 90s as there was more than $1million dollars in the fund - more than necessary to cover risks. With interest, there is now more than $2 million in the fund. This resolution calls for the excess to be returned to dairy farmers – the ones who paid into it.

#3 Oppose Efforts to Hold APR Farms to Different Standards than Non-APR Farms – DAR recently proposed compost regulations that would hold APR farms to different standards than non-DAR farms. This upset many APR holders who feel that their APR contracts alone should dictate what can and cannot take place on APR farms.

#2 Eliminate State Excise Tax for Machinery and Animals – Pretty self-explanatory, this resolution mirrors law already in place that allows municipalities to waive these taxes for non-incorporated farms.

And the resolution voted #1 by MFBF Delegates at the 2012 Annual Meeting is:

#1 Create Agricultural Specific Provisions in the Plumbing Codes, Electrical and other codes. The Building Code in Massachusetts contains provisions specific to agricultural buildings that ensure the requirements make sense for farm buildings. Unfortunately, this is not true for other codes including electrical, fire and plumbing codes.  The plumbing code in particular is problematic as it only distinguishes between residential and commercial. MFBF has heard from many farmers who have incurred significant and unnecessary costs mandated by the plumbing code.

If you have a resolution you would like to put forward, or are interested in representing your county at next year’s delegate session please speak with your county president. Farm Bureau only works when members are involved and the resolution process is one of the most important functions of Farm Bureau.



Heather Hunt, of Orange, MA Awarded the Gregory Finn Scholarship

Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) is pleased to announce that Heather Hunt of Orange, MA is this year’s winner of the Gregory Finn Scholarship. The annual award is given to a Farm Bureau member or immediate family member who is majoring in communications, journalism, music or an agriculturally-related field. The scholarship was established as a tribute to Gregory Finn, former Public Relations Director for MFBF.  It is awarded in Greg’s memory to foster understanding and help close the gap between the farm community and suburban Massachusetts.

Heather was born and raised on Hunt Farm, the family farm which raises Holstein cows. As a youngster, she was very active in 4-H, exhibiting dairy cattle and participating in dairy bowl competitions. She is currently attending Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where she is majoring in Animal Science, with a minor in Business Management.  Heather hopes to one day manage a large dairy operation. “By becoming a progressive innovator, I hope to manage the farm for maximum output of product without compromising health and safety.”  Congratulations, Heather!



The Shaw Family of Shaw Farm Dairy, Dracut, MA, Winners of the John Ogonowski Award  for Distinguished Service to the Agricultural Community

Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) is pleased to announce that the Shaw Family of Dracut, MA are this year’s recipients of the John Ogonowski Award. The annual award is given to a Farm Bureau member who has shown distinguished service to the organization and to the agricultural community as a whole.  MFBF established the award in 2001 as a memorial to John Ogonowski, longtime Farm Bureau member, county leader and victim of the September 11th terrorist attack. John was the pilot of American Airlines Flight 11 that crashed into the World Trade Center.  John was actively involved in the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, renting land to immigrant farmers from Cambodia and then serving as a mentor to them as they learned how to farm in this region. John loved farming and was also very active with the Dracut Land Trust, working to preserve open space for future generations.

The Shaw family has been farming for well over a hundred years.  Shaw Farm Dairy was founded in Dracut, MA in 1908 by Mark L. Shaw, and has been passed down through four generations to its current owner, Warren Shaw, Jr.  Much as the farming tradition has been passed down through the generations, so has the tradition of service to the agricultural community at large.  In 1944, the farm was awarded the Agricultural Pennant for wartime production of milk from the Massachusetts Society for the

Promotion of Agriculture. Shaw Farm Dairy has held a membership in the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) since 1955.  Warren Shaw, Sr. was instrumental in the development of the Farmer’s Live Animal Market Exchange (FLAME), and the creation of the Farm Family Insurance Company.  Following in his father’s footsteps, Warren, Jr. has been a county leader in Farm Bureau, serving as Director and President of the Middlesex County Farm Bureau, as well as on the State Board of Directors.

Just as John Ogonowski was passionate about preserving farmland, Warren Shaw, Jr. has spent years working on the State’s Agricultural Land Preservation Committee. He received a presidential appointment as the Chairman of the former Agricultural Soil Conservation Service, and he continues to be an active part of the Massachusetts Dairy Promotion Board.  He also serves the local community though his work on the planning board and as a selectman.

The family was most recently honored in 2010 with the Massachusetts Century Farm designation, recognizing farms that have been family-owned and continuously operated for over one hundred years. Warren’s children, Mark, Lyndie and Sarah are the fifth generation to inherit the family’s love of farming and have assumed roles in the operation of the farm. It is for these reasons and so much more that the Shaw Family is a deserving candidate for the John Ogonowski Award.

Past Ogonowski Award Honorees:

2011 Glenn Cook, Essex County

2010 David B. Mann, Plymouth County

2009 Charlie & Ellen Proctor, Berkshire County

2008 Gordon Price, Essex County

2007 Leon Ripley, Hampden County

2006 Gordon Williams, Hampshire County

2005 Tony Andrews, Cape & Islands

2004 Steve Verrill, Middlesex County

2003 Red Dargoonian, Essex County

2002 Dick Tryon, Berkshire County

2001 Leona Butler, Berkshire County



Farm Family Insurance Pledges $100,000 To Help Build New Ag Learning Center.

Farm Family Insurance has pledged $100,000 towards the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Agricultural Learning Center.  The Learning Center will serve as a hands-on, “living” laboratory for students and the general public. The Center, which will be named “Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation Hall,” will be housed within a fully renovated, historic 19th century horse barn that will be moved to a 25-acre site abutting the UMass Amherst campus.

Farm Family officer Jim Bettini, Executive Vice-president of Operations, made the presentation at MFBF’s Annual Meeting in Pittsfield.  MFBF President Rich Bonanno graciously accepted the Publisher’s Clearinghouse-sized facsimile of a check for the generous donation.  “Farm Bureau and Farm Family have a long history together.  This pledge of support further cements our business relationship and the company’s ties to the agricultural community.”

Headquartered in Glenmont, New York, Farm Family Insurance has long been associated with agriculture, and is closely affiliated with Farm Bureau. It specializes in property and casualty insurance to agribusinesses and residents of rural and suburban communities in the Northeast.



Notice of Supplemental Public Comment Period on a Revision to the Draft Solid Waste

MassDEP is seeking public comment on one substantive change to its Solid Waste Master Plan that has been modified since the 2010 Draft, and is described below.   The Draft Solid Waste Master Plan was originally published for public comment in June 2010.  The Revised Draft Plan and Appendices are available for review on the MassDEP web site at www.mass.gov/dep/recycle/priorities/dswmpu01.htm.  Following completion of this comment period, MassDEP will publish a Final Plan, along with a Final Response to Comments Document. The Response to Comments will summarize and address comments already received on the 2010 Draft Plan and those received in this comment period on the moratorium section of the Revised Draft Plan.

The Revised Draft Plan includes a number of important updates which reflect the direction proposed in the 2010 Draft and demonstrate progress on key waste reduction initiatives, including:

  • Promulgation of changes to solid waste siting and wastewater regulations to encourage the growth and sound oversight of anaerobic digestion, composting, and recycling capacity.
  • Dedication of an additional $4 million (from Alternative Compliance Payments made by investor-owned Massachusetts utilities to satisfy their renewable energy requirements) to support the development of anaerobic digestion capacity in Massachusetts.
  • Establishment of a comprehensive Organics Action Plan to achieve the Master Plan goal for organics diversion.
  • Establishment of the “RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts” program, a statewide program to help businesses and institutions increase recycling and composting and reduce waste.
  • Provision of $3.5 million of grants and assistance to support municipal recycling programs since 2010 through funding from municipal waste combustor “waste to energy credits” which are required to devote 50% of the value of these credits to recycling programs approved by MassDEP

The change in the Revised Draft Plan, for which MassDEP now seeks comment, is a limited modification of the municipal solid waste combustion moratorium, which is described on pages 46-47 of the Revised Draft Plan. MassDEP proposes to modify the moratorium on municipal solid waste combustion to encourage innovative and alternative technologies (e.g., gasification or pyrolysis) for converting municipal solid waste to energy or fuel on a limited basis. The moratorium will remain in place for new capacity for traditional combustion of municipal solid waste.  Total additional capacity for gasification or pyrolysis of municipal solid waste will be limited statewide to 350,000 tons per year.  This limit is set at ½ of the projected in-state capacity shortfall of approximately 700,000 tons if our disposal reduction goals are met, ensuring that we do not overbuild long-term capacity.  Proposed projects will have to meet stringent recycling, emissions and energy efficiency standards.  New facilities will be subject to the same site assignment rules as other facilities. 

Please note that comments received previously on other aspects of the Draft Master Plan do not need to be resubmitted, and MassDEP is not reopening those other parts of the Draft Plan for comment.  As noted above, MassDEP has received and considered numerous comments and will address them in the Final Response to Comments Document that will be issued with the Final Plan.    

MassDEP will accept comments only on the proposed change to the moratorium in the Revised Draft Plan until 5:00 PM on February 15, 2013.  Comments should be sent to: John Fischer at MassDEP:  via email at dep.swm@state.ma.us  or by mail to John Fischer, MassDEP, One Winter Street, Boston, MA 02108. 



2013 Horse Farm of Distinction Winners Are...

Thirty-one Massachusetts horse farms and stables are the recipients of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau’s 2013 Horse Farm of Distinction designation. Awards are based on a number of criteria within the categories of horse health, farm management, and public standards compliance. The suitability of the farm for the breed or type of activity conducted is considered when scoring each farm.

Farms are judged annually and the award may be promoted by the recipient or used in farm advertising for the duration of the award year. Recipients receive a distinctive sign that should be mounted for public display throughout the year of the program. The words “Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation” must appear in the advertising or promotion.

Bristol County:

Bristol County Agricultural High School, Dighton

Chipaway Stables, Inc., David Costa, Acushnet

Johnson & Wales University Center for Equine Studies, Rehoboth

Teaberry Farm, Kathy Jacques, Taunton

Cape Cod & Islands:

Highlander Farm, Megan Hawkes-Romiza, East Falmouth

Holly Hill Farm, Nancy Venezia, Marstons Mills

Smithfield Farm, Janice Foster, East Falmouth

Essex County:

Essex Agricultural Technical High School, Hathorne

High Tail Acres, LLC, Dawn DelTorchio, Newbury

Indian Meadow Farm LLC, Christine M. Phaneue, West Newbury

Lalobarun Ranch, Eileen C. M. Cashman & John W. Kellar, Newbury

Sons of the Wind, LLC, Julie Bottum, Merrimac

The Barnyard Maples, Gale D. Meserve, Byfield

Hampden County:

Silvercryst Farm, Paul A. Gregoire, Southwick

Hampshire County:

Greene Acres Equestrian Center, Amanda L. Hodgen, Belchertown

Twin Orchard Farm, Charles Kaniecki, Southampton

Middlesex County:

Andimar Farm, Laurie C. Marchant, Billerica

Berryfield Farm, George Berry, Lincoln

Harmony Horse Stables, LLC, Kathryn Cecere, Littleton

Pompositticut Farm, Jackie Kane, Hudson

Sterling Riding Stables, Dawn Frazer, Pepperell

The Ponderaia, Laine Raia, North Reading

Norfolk County:

Yankee Stable, Edwin S. Little, Sharon

Plymouth County:

Briggs Stable, LLP, John Dougherty, Hanover

Creek Crossing Farm, LLC, Alyssa Trifone, Hingham

Lazy Stallion Friesians, Caren A. Polillio, W. Bridgewater

Whit Acres Farm, Kristen Whittaker, Norwell

Worcester County:

Deer Run Farm, Robert P. Goodman, Sutton

Holly Hill West Inc., Nancy Venezia, Harvard

Walking High Farm, Becky & Harry Kalagher, Douglas

Winterberry Farm LTD, James & Sandra C. Kunkel, Dudley

 


 

FARM BUREAUS OF THE NORTHEAST AT EQUINE AFFAIRE

Equine Affaire attracts about 91,000 attendees from the entire northeast each year.  It is an ideal location to meet potential and current Farm Bureau members to discuss issues that are important to equine enthusiasts in the region.  Farm Bureau participants in the exhibit came from New York, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Maine.  Unfortunately, due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, we missed having the New Jersey influence.  A big thank you to the booth duty personnel for representing Farm Bureau and their donations to the gift basket.  A special thank you to Leon & Joyce Ripley of Maple Corner Farm, Granville for their donation of maple syrup products on behalf of MFBF.  The drawing for the gift basket was held to gather membership leads. The winner was Patricia Nixon of Saratoga Springs, NY.

 


BENEFITS

Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine Large Animal Hospital Services continues to be a valued member benefit.  Our members saved over a $1,000 cumulatively in September and $1,400 in October.  If you own a horse, sooner or later you’re going to wish you were a Farm Bureau member

Budget Truck Rentals – Moving household contents or moving product to that Farmers’ Market, MFBF members get a 15% discount on Budget Truck Rentals by using MFBF account number 56000133689.  Visit www.budgettruck.com/mafbf or call 1-800-566-8422.

Prescription Rx – This benefit helps reduce prescription drug costs.  MFBF members save an average of 30% (some as high as 75%) on prescriptions.  The card is like a coupon that you use over and over again at over 75,000 national and regional pharmacies. 



Farm Credit East and CoBank Donate $20,000 to UMass Ag Learning Center

Farm Credit East, the largest lender to Northeast agriculture, and CoBank have each agreed to contribute $10,000, totaling a $20,000 donation to support a partnership between the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (UMass). This partnership will create a new undergraduate agricultural learning center on campus.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst plans to open the Agricultural Learning Center (ALC) as a hands-on living classroom or field laboratory for students to pursue active learning about all forms of agriculture in the Commonwealth, including the farming, horticultural and landscape industries. By having areas devoted to livestock, fruits, vegetables, turf, and landscape crops, the UMass Center for Agriculture and Stockbridge School will be able to offer a broad array of agricultural topics to both UMass students and the general public, educating the region’s next generation of farmers.

“Farm Credit East is committed to the long term success of agriculture in Massachusetts” said Bill Lipinski, Farm Credit East CEO. “Our donation to this project will help support the University of Massachusetts to continue educating future generations of Massachusetts’ agricultural producers.”

A recent report by Farm Credit East noted that there are 7,700 farms throughout the state of Massachusetts maintaining more than 500,000 acres of farmland. The state’s agriculture and related processing activities are important contributors to the local economy as exemplified by the $13 billion in output and 68,110 jobs the state’s agricultural industries contributed to the local economy in 2010.

 


Census Countdown Begins for New England Farmers and Ranchers

Farmers and ranchers across New England will soon have the opportunity to make a positive impact on their communities by taking part in the 2012 Census of Agriculture. Conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the Census is a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches and those who operate them.  

“The Census remains the only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every county in the nation,” said Gary Keough, Director. “It’s a critical tool that gives farmers a voice to influence decisions that will shape the future of their community, industry and operation.” 

The Census looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income, expenditures and other topics. This information is used by all those who serve farmers and rural communities from federal, state and local governments to agribusinesses and trade associations. For example, legislators use the data when shaping farm policy and agribusinesses factor it into their planning efforts.

“Your answers to the Census impact farm programs and rural services that support your community,” Keough said. “So do your part and be counted when you receive your form, because there’s strength in numbers that only the Census can reveal.”   

In 2007, New England farmers reported a total of 33,112 farms, spanning across 4,044,104 acres. This shows a 17 percent increase in the number of farms from the previous Census in 2002. This is the first increase in the number of farms time since World War II. This telling information and thousands of statistics are only available every five years as a direct result of farmer responses to the Census.

 NASS will mail out Census forms in late December, to collect data for the 2012 calendar year. Completed forms are due by February 4, 2013. Producers can fill out the Census online via a secure website, www.agcensus.usda.gov, or return their form by mail. Federal law requires all agricultural producers to participate in the Census and requires NASS to keep all individual information confidential.

For more information, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov. The Census of Agriculture is your voice, your future, your responsibility.

 


Campaign for an Equine Economic Impact & Land Use Study

 

The Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) is undertaking the study of the impact of equines on Massachusetts agriculture and local economies. When municipalities (towns and cities) regulate horses and related activities, it directly impacts the economic structure of our communities, quality of life and our sense of place. The equine industry is large and diverse, contributes to state and local tax revenue with impacts that can be felt throughout the state in acres of pasture, hayfields, recreational lands, forests and jobs. Horses as livestock enjoy agricultural protections and exemptions. We have to educate our representatives and nothing speaks louder than the flow of money and creation of jobs. This study will assign value to each component of the industry.

With a total contribution of $40,000, the study will serve as a living document for the general public, regulators and equine enthusiasts to reference when issues regarding the keeping and raising of equines need to be addressed and decisions need to made.The study will be conducted by First Pioneer Farm Credit of Dayville, CT in the spring of 2013 depending on the timeliness of responses from various equine organizations and individual respondents. The study will include time for extensive research, surveys and interviews. First Pioneer Farm Credit has previously completed agricultural studies for a number of towns in Massachusetts and has an exceptional reputation for providing scientifically accurate methodology to the process.

With YOUR support, the study will be conducted and the results will be presented regionally across the state. The study is destined to become the resource for municipal decision making with regard to equines.

As more and more people are rediscovering the importance of local and sustainable agriculture, open space, preservation of resources and as more people are enjoying “staycations” with their family and animals, this is the right time to support the study.

Please join the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation and give generously to fund the Equine Economic Impact and Land Use Study. All donors will receive recognition. Please give at a level appropriate to you and your business. To make your contribution please complete this form. Thank you for your generosity!

Gifts may be made at any level for a period of up to one year. For information about different ways to give, contact Chris Cassenti, a Farm Bureau member and Director of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation Equine Committee, 978-948-7674, Chris@Chrislar.com. For more information about the campaign by the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation,  

A one-time gift of $______________

 

Contact me by email and/or phone
______________________________

_______________________________

 

PLEASE MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO:

Farm Bureau Agricultural Preservation Corporation

(A recognized 501 (c) (3) charitable foundation)

Please complete for each donor,

How You Wish To Be Listed In Recognition:

 

Name: (First, Middle, Last): ____________

_________________________________

 

Address: (Street, City, State, Zip):

_________________________________

_________________________________

 

Additional Name: (First, Middle, Last):
__________________________________

Address: (Street, City, State, Zip):
__________________________________

Please mail your pledge or payment to:

 

Farm Bureau Agricultural Preservation
Corporation

249 Lakeside Avenue

Marlborough, MA 01752

 

All gifts will be acknowledged directly by the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation. If we don’t meet the campaign goal, then all donations will be returned.

 


FARM FAMILY INSURANCE RECOGNITION

In Recognition with Gratitude

Dale E. Johnson of Essex County was unanimously voted by the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation Board of Directors to receive recognition as the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation Farm Family Agent of the Year 2012.

Timothy F. Viles of Franklin County received recognition as the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation Farm Family Insurance Rising Star for Achievement.

Cheryl A. Loranger received special recognition for remarkable enrollment of Regular members during the 2012 membership year.

 


UMass Ag Learning Center Donation Update

Have you considered donating to The Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) partnership with the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in support of the Agricultural Learning Center?

With a total contribution of $500,000, paid over three years, the Center’s cornerstone building

will be named “Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation Hall”. MFBF has the goal well within

our reach, with current pledges now exceed $300,000.  The Agricultural Learning Center at UMass Amherst will serve as a hands-on “living” laboratory for students and the general public who are interested in food, farming, landscape, and other enterprises relying on natural resources. The Center will have areas dedicated to livestock and horses, fruits and vegetables, cranberries, turf and nursery crops and so much more; and will offer training in both traditional farming methods and new innovations developed through ongoing agricultural research.  Situated within easy walking distance of the heart of campus, the Agricultural Learning Center will provide students with an interactive experience in agriculture. It will also make the scientific and educational resources of the university available to a larger community, drawing visitors from across the Northeast to workshops, courses, demonstrations and conferences at a state-of-the art Center. The Agricultural Learning Center is destined to become the focal point for agriculture in the region!

With YOUR support, and upon passing structural approval, the fully renovated, historic 19th Century historic horse barn will be relocated to its new location on 25 acres abutting the UMass Amherst campus, and be renovated to serve in its new capacity as a learning laboratory.  Just as it was once was a showcase for Mass Aggie, the barn, “Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation Hall,” will be the heart of the Center.  As more and more people are rediscovering the importance of local and sustainable agriculture, and as more students are becoming interested in farming, the time is right to establish the Agricultural Learning Center to address the needs of students, farmers, and citizens.  Lease join the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation and give generously to fund the creation of the Center, which will benefit agricultural education, outreach and research. All donors will receive permanent recognition inside the building. Consider joining MFBF President A. Richard Bonanno, PhD, and Vice President Edward Davidian, and their families, in pledging to become a member of “The President’s Circle” (details are provided on the pledge form included in this issue), or giving at a level appropriate to you and your business.

To make your contribution to the Campaign for the Future of Massachusetts Agriculture, in support of the Agricultural Learning Center’s Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation Hall, please complete the pledge form and mail to the specified address.

Thank you for your generosity!

Pledge Card-Join Ma Farm Bureau and UMass Amherst

Gifts may be made at any level and may be an outright donation or a pledge for a period of up to three years.  For information about different ways to give, contact Thomas Hastings, a Farm Bureau member and Director of Development at UMass Amherst’s College of Natural Sciences (413-577-4295 or email thastings@cns.umass.edu.  For more information about the campaign by Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation, contact Edward Davidian (508-868-7841 or email ed@mfbf.net).  For further information about the Agricultural Learning Center, contact Stephen J. Herbert, Associate Dean and Director of UMass Center for Agriculture (413-545-2890 or email sherbert@cns.umass.edu).

My/our gift to UMass Amherst Agricultural Learning Center is

o             As a Benefactor, with a gift of $____________

o             President’s Circle (Pledge at least $1,000 per year for three years)

o             A one-time gift of $_________________

o             A multi-year gift of $________________ per year for _________ years with the first payment made by the date of __________________, 20____.

Please remind me/us of this pledge: _____Annually       _____Quarterly

       I/we plan to make this gift in the form of: _____Check           _____Securities               _____Other (please specify) _________________________________________________________

PLEASE MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO UMASS AMHERST

Or use your _____VISA                _____MasterCard           _____Discover _____American Express

Account Number:____________________________________ Expiration Date:_________________

Security Code:___________________                Signature:_____________________________________

 

o             My gift will be matched! Many employers will match charitable contributions.  If your employer does, ask for a matching gift form and enclose it with your payment.

 

Please complete for each donor:

 

How You Wish To Be Listed In Recognition: _____________________________________________

 

Name: (First, Middle, Last):___________________________________________________________

 

Address: (Street, City, State, Zip)_______________________________________________________

 

 

Name: (First, Middle, Last):___________________________________________________________

 

Address: (Street, City, State, Zip)_______________________________________________________

 

Please mail your pledge or payment to:

College of Natural Sciences

715 Lederle Tower

University of Massachusetts Amherst

710 North Pleasant Street

Amherst, MA 01003

 

(All gifts will be acknowledged directly by Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation.)


The Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation President’s Plus One Achievement Award went to:

 Dale E. Johnson, Essex County,  Francis E. Bingham, Norfolk County, Donald E. Ludwig, Middlesex County, Mike Emond, Essex County,  Jeffrey P. Pichierri, Worcester County, Robert P. Sinopoli, Berkshire County, Mark W. Sylvia, Cape &  Islands, Maureen O’Mara, Berkshire County, Diane L. Mason Arnold, Hampden County, Cheryl A. Loranger, Bristol County, Richard J. Blair, Plymouth County, Chad Meyer, Hampshire County, Eva Kay Spencer, Plymouth County

 


UMass dairy and livestock workshop

On January 17th, UMass and the Center for Agriculture is hosting a workshop for dairy and livestock producers relating to reducing operational costs.

The workshop is being held in conjunction with UNH, UVM and UMaine Extension. Interested individuals can get more information at our website:

http://extension.umass.edu/cdle/events/cost-reducing-strategies-livestock-and-dairy-operations.

 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORt To Delegate Body at Annual Meeting  by Douglas P. Gillespie

Good morning.  It’s great to see a room full of delegates following yesterday’s fantastic attendance at the workshops and other activities.  Increased attendance is a trend we’ve seen throughout the fall at our county annual meetings, and now at the state meeting.  I believe that it is a sign of support, and recognized value of your Farm Bureau membership.

As you have heard from both Rich and Mark, Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation and its affiliates are financially healthy, stable through strong leadership, and adapting to the new realities of trade associations. Research shows that people are less likely to “join” something, but rather want to “support a cause,” because that involves less personal commitment.  You have a superb staff that has successfully met the challenges meant to position Farm Bureau for the future. I hope that you join me in thanking each one of them for their dedicated efforts.

You should be proud to be a MFBF member!  Last January, Rich was presented with our second consecutive AFBF Pinnacle Award in three years, as the outstanding state organization from the category of states with up to 10,000 members.  Already this year, MFBF has received AFBF Awards of Excellence for all five evaluated categories:  Policy Implementation, Public Relations, Member Services, Education & Outreach and Leadership Development.

Your state board of directors has been equally progressive and forward-thinking.  The lifeblood of this organization is membership. Our back-door losses of Associate members every year have made membership growth very difficult.  Your board has recognized the tremendous support from Massachusetts consumers for local agriculture, and has attempted to harness that support through the new “Friend of Local Farmers” membership category.  Shortly you will be asked to ratify the board’s actions, first by approving a bylaw amendment to allow for anniversary date membership renewals, and secondly by ratifying the board’s decision to create the “Friends” category.  I hope that you will vote “yes” on each of these actions.  I was initially a skeptic for creating this discounted membership, but after seeing the results of our initial pilot of the marketing, and our expected strong support from Farm Family agents, I believe it can build membership, strengthen finances, and give us added clout on Beacon Hill as we build our network of citizen lobbyists.  I hope that each of you will embrace the “Friends” program, and help market it to your neighbors, customers and others who support local farms.  I must add that every other state Farm Bureau in the country is watching our program-it may quickly become the new normal for many of them!

 The membership fact that gives me the most satisfaction is our continual growth in Regular or Farmer members.   The June 30th total of 2,130 Farmer members represents our highest level since 2003, and  six years of the upward growth trend. I believe that Massachusetts farmers recognize the value of Farm Bureau membership—a tribute to the commitment of volunteers like each of you, the leadership and the staff.  Let’s keep membership growing in the year ahead!

 I want to update you on the policy front.  First, let’s look at the five resolutions that you passed last year, that ranked the highest in your prioritization:

 

  • To Limit Boards of Health from Banning Piggeries.  A bill will be filed in the upcoming session by Rep. Carolyn Dykema of Holliston.  She serves on the Public Health Committee and her district is suburban with farms.  She has credibility.  Farm Bureau also led the fight to defeat a ban in Haverhill, although the BoH did adopt strict pig regulations that we opposed.  But we don’t have a ban.  Finally, staff conducted 2 training sessions with the MA Association of Health Boards on appropriate livestock regulations.
  • Updating the Unemployment Insurance Threshold.  Rep. Kate Hogan of Stow will be filing our bill in the upcoming session.
  • Excise Tax for Incorporated Farms.  Farm Bureau continues to push to extend investment tax credits.  We have been hesitant to file additional legislation for further tax breaks because it would be confusing and have the appearance of farmers just wanting tax breaks.  Monday’s Legislative Committee meeting will reassess that strategy for the next legislative session.
  • Economic Stimulus for the Forestry Industry.  We are working closely with the MA Forest Alliance in developing the details of this package.
  • Encourage Each County to have 2 YF&R Board Members.  A few counties have done this recruiting, but more can do so.  I think you’ll agree that our YF&R program has shown renewed vitality unmatched in decades!

 Since the legislative session operates in two-year increments, let’s go back to 2010 and examine progress on the top five from 2 years ago:

  •  Develop Slaughter & Meat Processing Infrastructure.  Farm Bureau filed legislation on this matter.  It received a Favorable report from the Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture Committee, and has strong support in the House Ways & Means Committee, and encouraging support from MDAR Commissioner Watson.  We hope to continue making progress on this one.
  • Alter AFBF Food Safety Policy to Address Small Farm Concerns.  Rich successfully led the charge at AFBF on this one, and national policy now recognizes that “one-size fits all” won’t work.
  • Lift Moratorium on Commercial Forestry on State Lands.  Working with various partners, the outright  moratorium has been lifted, and six commercial forestry harvesting projects are scheduled for next Spring.
  • Formation of MFBF Livestock Committee.  This has taken some time, but the first meeting was held in October and the room was full!  A strong and active committee will help us defeat animal rights extremists, and build consensus amongst a diverse group of producers.
  • Allow Farm Plate Vehicles to Operate To Full Rated Capacity.  A bill was filed in the current session, and it has passed the State Senate.  Final House floor action is pending, and there is a good chance that this will pass before the session ends.  RMV is opposing the bill because it might lose some revenue.

 Please take the prioritization of this year’s resolutions just as seriously.   Your rankings provide us with guidance as leadership and staff work to get as much done as possible on your behalf.

I want to call to your attention a significant accomplishment this past year, above and beyond the resolutions process.  The legislature was hell-bent upon passing a bill limiting phosphorus, primarily in lawn care fertilizers.  Farm Bureau used this fast-tracked bill as a vehicle to also pass statewide preemption on fertilizers and soil amenities.  So just like has existed for pesticides, now municipalities will not be able to regulate usage of fertilizer, manure and other soil nutrients.  Brad calls this the biggest problem you’ll never see, and I agree!   It was only a matter of time before cities and towns start such regulation, and now that is stopped.  We will continue to look for opportunities to help our members through progressive legislation.

Finally, I want to reinforce Rich and Mark’s comments about the financial stability of FLAME.  I also want to touch upon the Farm Bureau Agricultural Preservation Corporation, our charitable entity.  We are continuing to help with two Agricultural Preservation Restrictions in the town of Dartmouth, as well as providing support to the Massachusetts Farm to School Project as their fiscal agent.  “AgPres,” as we call it, needs a review in the next year or so.  Projects are labor intensive, so from a purely business perspective are not something we seek out.  We have outright land holdings that are not able to be farmed, so their continued importance to us should be evaluated. However, there is also potential for further foundation projects to compliment Farm Bureau’s efforts, and these should be examined more fully.  Rich has already indicated a desire to take this on in the year ahead, so please consider this opportunity.

I conclude my remarks today with “thank you’s.”  Thank you to my fellow Farm Bureau staffers, thank you to the dedicated volunteers in county and state leadership positions, and to all of our members.  I look forward to going to work each day on your behalf.  Farm Bureau is a wonderful organization to work for, and I thank you for the opportunity.



Effects of the Federal Estate Tax on the Northeast Farming Community

Without action by Congress, the 2013 federal estate tax will revert to a level that will threaten the future of multi-generational farming in the Northeast, according to an analysis released by Farm Credit East.

“Federal estate tax can be a large factor in whether a farm is passed on to the next generation” said James Putnam, executive vice president, Farm Credit East. “If estate taxes are too high, the next generation will have no choice but to sell real estate assets to pay the tax.” Under existing law, the estate tax exemption will decline to $1 million and the top rate will jump to 55% on January 1, 2013.

The federal estate tax is dependent upon the size of an estate, which may not reflect an ability to pay. Farmers often have significant real estate holdings and reinvest most of their earnings in their farm. This imbalance provides them with a relatively weak cash position to pay estate taxes upon their death. Often the only way to pay the estate taxes is to sell the farm, preventing a transfer of the family farm to the next generation.On January 1, 2013 the estate tax exemption level drops from the current level of $5.12 million to the 2001 exemption level of $1 million. In addition, the tax rate will increase to 55% for the amount of the estate over the exemption level. This scenario would force many farm families to sell their farm assets to meet the estate tax liability.

“It is important for Congress to revise the current laws pertaining to estate taxes to ensure that farms are not forced to sell or break-up the farm because of estate taxes,” said Putnam.

For a full copy of the Farm Credit East Knowledge Exchange report, The Federal Estate Tax: Effect on the Farming Community, please visit FarmCreditEast.com. Farm Credit East is the largest lender to agriculture in the Northeast and provides a range of financial services, including consulting focused on estate planning.

###

Farm Credit East extends more than $4.35 billion in loans and has 19 local offices in its six-state service area. In addition to loans and leases, the organization also offers a full range of agriculturally specific financial services for businesses related to farming, horticulture, forestry and commercial fishing. Farm Credit East is governed by a 15-person board of directors.

For more information, go to FarmCreditEast.com



2012 MFBF collegiate and national discussion meet Winners

Congratulations to James Cooper of Worcester County, who will be representing the Young Farmer & Rancher (YF&R ) Committee of Massachusetts at the National Discussion Meet competition being held in Nashville, Tennessee.  We would also like to congratulate Ryan MacKay of Worcester County, who will be representing the YF&R at the Collegiate Discussion Meet being held in Phoenix, Arizona.

All the competitors did a fantastic job and we look forward to making Discussion Meet competitions a tradition in Massachusetts once again!  We want to thank Farm Credit East for their generous sponsorship; which will go toward sending our winners to various National competitions.



The Young Farmers and Ranchers Labor Auction raised almost $3,000.00

Proceeds from our first ever labor auction will go into our YF&R budget to help a defray expenses with our travel and enrichment.  We appreciate all of the generous buyers for making this event such a huge success, and we look forward to heading out to your operation for a good day of work and experience.

Scholarship Opportunities for Better Process Control School (BPCS) Value-Added Processing – Farmers invited to Apply

 

UMass Extension and MA Department of Agriculture encourage Specialty Crop Farmers with an interest in Value-Added processing to apply for this scholarship opportunity to participate in Better Process Control School. The primary objective of this scholarship is to increase the food safety processing skills for farmers interested in producing value-added specialty crops (examples include: acidified foods, glass container closures, retorting, etc.). 

Details are outlined below.

Application Deadline: Friday, December 28th

Course Date: Tuesday, Jan. 15th to Friday, Jan. 18th from 7:30AM to 5PM

Location: UMass Amherst, Campus Center

Tuition Fee for Scholarship Participant: $150

                Please note:  Tuition fee includes administrative costs, course
                materials, continental breakfast & lunch. Students are responsible for their own meals and lodging outside of the class.

Eligibility:

  • Candidates must presently process or intend to process canned foods using specialty crops (high acid, low acid and/or acidified products)
  • Candidates must be willing to participate in the entire course program
  • Must be willing to participate in 4 survey assessments

Course Details:

Producing healthy, convenient and safe value-added processed foods is a way to further extend specialty crops throughout the year and provide new product offerings to consumers. However, in order to produce safe, quality foods, there are a variety of core food safety principals that need to be identified and controlled when processing. Through the support of the MDAR Specialty Crop Block grant, UMass Food Science Extension invite 10 specialty crop farmers that are interested in producing value-added products to participate in a 3.5 day course, “Better Process Control School” to learn the key food safety processing fundamentals.

By law, all commercial processors, when first engaging in the
manufacturing, processing, or packing of low acid or acidified foods in any state must register with the FDA on Form FDA 2541 (Food Canning Establishment Registration; 21 CFR 108.25, http://extension.psu.edu/food-safety). In order to be approved as a registered process, businesses need to operate with a certified supervisor on the premise when processing.

Better Process Control School offers instruction which fulfills the FDA and USDA Good Manufacturing Practice requirements to certify supervisors of acidification, thermal processing and container closure evaluation operations during the canning of low-acid or acidified foods. Throughout the course six basic topics will be covered and with an examination at the end of each session. Participants that complete the full exam and score a minimum of 70 will receive a passing score that will be acknowledged through a certificate.

 

Application:  All interested applicants are required to contact Amanda Kinchla, Food Science Extension via email (amanda.kinchla@foodsci.umass.edu) or by fax: 413.545.1262 no later than, Friday, December 28th.  Participants must meet all of the requirements listed in the “Eligibility” section of this form and will be accepted on a “first come, first served basis”.  Each applicant must include the following:

Name:

Business Name:

Specialty Crops Grown and/or Value-Added products manufactured:

Annual production volume estimate for 2012 (in pounds):

Have you completed or are you certified any of the following food safety programs (Yes/No):
        o             Good Agricultural Practices (GAP):

                o             Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points (HACCP):

                o             ServSafe:

                o             Safe Quality Food (SQF):

                o             Other:

Brief description of your interest in BPCS (less than 200 words):

  •  

Is Your 2013 Risk Management Program up to date?

 

The 2012 harvest is over and now is the time to assess your risk management plan for 2013. Farmers face many risks (legal, market, financial, human) that may threaten assets and have assessed their insurance needs to provide an adequate level of protection of these assets. Crops are no different than any other asset on the farm and are they protected?

 

Governments, state and federal, have provided a good portion of the safety net when natural disasters struck but that has been changing. Many programs that help farmers through hard times have eroded away leaving farmers exposed to natural disasters or market anomalies. USDA Federal Crop Insurance has expanded to provide growers of major commodities protection with a wide variety of options. Farmers can tailor their crop insurance coverage to their particular needs as opposed to the one size fits all disaster programs. Massachusetts farmers can insure their crops based on their yields or insure their whole farm revenue. Each of these options (yield/revenue) growers can select the level of coverage that provides adequate protection if a disaster strikes. The levels of coverage range from 50% to 75% of the production and 55% to 100% price.

 

USDA subsidizes the grower premiums to make crop insurance affordable. Crop Insurance is sold and serviced by private crop insurance agents. Massachusetts growers can purchase policies on apples, cranberries, clams, corn, peaches, potatoes, sweet corn, tobacco, nursery, dairy gross margins. Growers can also purchase a policy that will insure their whole farm revenue. Crops not listed here can be covered by a NAP (Non-Insured Disaster Assistance Program) policy purchased at the USDA Farm Service Agency.

 

Are you confused yet? USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) has developed risk management checklist and self-assessment tool to help farmers analysis their risk management needs (http://farm-risk-plans.rma.usda.gov/ ). The University of Massachusetts Extension Service, working with the USDA Risk Management Agency (http://www.rma.usda.gov/ ), is providing educational support to all Massachusetts farmers. UMass Extension (www.umass.edu/agland) will participate in grower meeting all across the state and is available to work with individuals or small groups trying to figure out their crop insurance needs.

 

“This institution is an equal opportunity provider.”

 


MASSACHUSETTS FARM BUREAU FEDERATION EARNS AWARDS, NATIONAL RECOGNITION FROM AFBF

If this were the Grammy Awards, then Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) would be the farming equivalent of pop music sensation Adele.  The organization has swept the President’s Awards from the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) by winning five out of five possible categories. The awards represent outstanding achievement in areas that are fundamental to building and maintaining a strong, volunteer-led organization.

 

The goals of the awards program are to recognize and motivate states for developing outstanding programs, encourage programming in key areas, and provide a resource to other states for the purpose of developing new programs. The awards are given in five categories which include: Education and Outreach, Leadership Development, Member Services, Policy Development & Implementation, and Public Relations & Communications. State Farm Bureaus may submit entries in each of the five program areas, which are then judged by a panel of AFBF and state Farm Bureau employees from six membership groups and four geographic regions. “Our state has done a fantastic job at meeting these objectives,” said MFBF President, Dr. A. Richard Bonanno.  “We have a dedicated team of staff and volunteers whose efforts have been recognized for the value that they bring to the organization and its members.”

 

MFBF developed innovative approaches to meeting the objectives of the award criteria. As a way to reach out to groups who could benefit from their expertise, they identified areas of interest and offered workshops on topics as varied as keeping backyard livestock and Massachusetts zoning and building provisions for agriculture.  Volunteer leaders were provided with unique opportunities to develop and reinforce their leadership skills. Discussion meets, farm tours, and legislative visits all help to prepare these young farmers for assuming more active roles in the organization.

The mission of the organization is “to protect the rights, encourage the growth, and be of service to its members, in the best interest of agriculture.” To that end, the member service award was earned as a result of MFBF’s efforts to assist a member and defeat a proposal to ban pigs from the town of Haverhill.

A strong show of support from other members, and non-members who support local agriculture, demonstrated just how successful grassroots advocacy can be.

 

In the area of policy development and implementation, MFBF found itself at odds with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), an outside group challenging Massachusetts laws to ban certain agricultural practices that do not even exist in the state.  In response, MFBF filed legislation that offers an alternative, creating a Livestock Care and Standards Board that would include representatives of both farming and humane groups, veterinarians and state officials. By offering a more thoughtful, science-based approach to dealing with issues as they arise, it is hoped that no legislation is passed which would be detrimental to farming.

 

Farm Bureau continues the work it set out to do when it was established back in 1915. Whether or not their efforts make the news (as in the case of a donation of hay to 32 rescued mini-horses, or the successful grassroots efforts to defeat a potentially damaging legal precedent) MFBF follows the principles established in its mission statement.

 

The Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation is a non-profit, member-driven organization representing 6,000 family members across the Commonwealth. Its mission is “to protect the rights, encourage the growth, and be of service to its members, in the best interest of agriculture.”


 

It’s Time for an Insurance Review

Toward the end of the year, we tend to take stock of what we’ve accomplished in the past year. Maybe you’ve made additions to your barn or home, purchased new equipment or vehicles, or hired new employees. Or maybe you’ve had an addition to your family.

 

If you’ve made any major improvements to your farm but haven’t reported them to your insurance agent, you could be underinsured. For many, it’s only after a loss happens that they realize they failed to maintain sufficient coverage to keep up with the increasing cost of replacing their business. 

 

An annual review with your agent can help make certain

  • you’ve got the right type of insurance;
  • your current level of coverage is sufficient; and
  • you receive credits for improvements you’ve made to your property.

               

If you decide to “shop around,” be sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Are you getting the same coverage for the same premium dollar? All too often another company may not be offering you the same insurance protection as your current policy provides. Is it the right protection? Do you have enough insurance? Do you have gaps in your coverage? You may get a quote for a lower price – and then discover when it’s too late that you don’t have the same amount, or even the same kind, of coverage. Will you qualify for discounts/reductions with a new company? You could lose any discounts if, for example, your business and auto policies are currently packaged with one company and you decide to move one of them.

               

So when you take stock of what you’ve accomplished this year, don’t forget to contact your local Farm Family agent to be sure the fruits of your labor are fully protected.

 

For a referral to a Farm Family agent, visit www.farmfamily.com or contact Farm Family General Agent Steve Charette at (978) 686-0170



2013-2014 NE Greenhouse Floriculture Guide

Greenhouse growers throughout New England and in other parts of the country rely on the New England Greenhouse Floriculture Guide as an unbiased source of detailed crop-specific production recommendations.  This compendium of up-to-date information about methods and products used to manage insects, mites, diseases, weeds and algae, and regulate plant growth, is a must-have manual for professional growers.  Since the last edition, several new products have become available and have been incorporated into the 2013- 2014 publication. A pest and problem identification website, developed by Guide contributors Leanne Pundt of Univ. of Connecticut, and Tina Smith Univ. of Massachusetts in the last edition of the manual, has been expanded to include even the most recent crop problems. The website (http://www.negreenhouseupdate.info/) provides photos and descriptions of hundreds of plant problems caused by insects, mites, diseases, nutritional disorders and cultural problems.

 

All of the Guide’s chemical recommendations are presented within the framework of sustainability.  The insect/mite section, for example, has been rewritten to present an integrated step-by-step approach to managing greenhouse pests.  Practical guidelines for instituting a biological control program, including use of banker plants and alternative pest control materials, are provided. The plant growth regulator (PGR) section provides details of which PGRs to use and how to apply those products to specific crops, and also explains how to manage crop growth environmentally.

 

The Guide is updated every two years by floriculture faculty and staff from the six New England State Universities, and is published by New England Floriculture, Inc.

 

The 2013-14 edition of the Guide will be available to attendees of the New England Greenhouse Conference at a special conference price of $25 per copy. After the conference, it will be available for $40 per copy via the Northeast Greenhouse Conference web site (http:// www.negreenhouse.org). November 7-8, 2012, DCU Center, Worcester, MA

 

For information about the 2012 Northeast Greenhouse Conference Program, contact: Cindy Delaney, Delaney Meeting & Event Management, 1 Mill Street, Suite 301, Burlington, VT 05404, Phone: 802-865-5202,   Fax: 802-865-8066 Email: info@negreenhouse.orgOr visit our web site: http://www.negreenhouse.org


 

In the Market for a Car or Truck? Our New Member Benefit Makes Car Buying Easier than Ever

We know that purchasing a vehicle can be challenging and stressful, and you want to make sure you get the best deal. Even when you know exactly what you want, not knowing what you should pay can take the fun out of getting a new car or truck.  We now have a free tool that not only helps you save time and money, but gives you the information you need to make a smart car-buying decision. The best part? Your $500 GM Discount* is seamlessly integrated into the process.

How does it work?

Step One: Research your car at www.fbverify.com/drive.
You want more information? No problem. Even if you’ve got a good idea of what you want, there are still trim lines, options and colors to choose from. The Farm Bureau Vehicle Purchase Program has all that and more. You can easily select makes, models, and options, plus compare different vehicle choices, learn about available incentives, check crash safety ratings, read reviews, view picture galleries and even check your estimated trade-in value. Plus, with used cars you will be able to see guaranteed prices and sort by the features that matter to you most.

Step Two: Learn what others actually paid for their vehicle
Not sure if you’re getting a good deal? The Farm Bureau Vehicle Purchase Program gives you access to TrueCar price reports. Available with national, regional and local data, these reports show what others have paid for the car you want. You can see the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), the market average, the factory invoice, and more.

Step Three: Get your Guaranteed Savings and print your Member Savings Certificate
Once you’ve selected your vehicle, you’re ready to locate a Program Certified Dealer. Submit your information to the dealers you choose. Then, see your Minimum Guaranteed Savings and Estimated Member Pricing* before you even talk to a dealer. Your Member Savings Certificate will list your dedicated contact so you know who to talk to for questions or to arrange a test drive. Finally, take your Member Savings Certificate and your GM Certificate (for eligible vehicles) with you to the Program Certified Dealer to ensure a haggle-free car-buying experience.

 

No cost. No obligation. No hassle. Car and truck buying has never been easier!

 

Visit www.fbverify.com/drive to see how much you could save with this great member benefit.

 

Questions? Call 1-888-718-9053

 

* GM incentive available to qualified FB members in most, but not all states. Offer available through 4/1/14, and valid toward the lease or purchase of new 2011, 2012, and 2013 Chevrolet, Buick and GMC models, excluding Chevrolet Volt. This offer is not available with some other offers, including private offers (for example, Owner Loyalty). Offer is available with GM Business Choice. Not valid on prior purchases. To be eligible, customers must be an active member of a participating state Farm Bureau for at least 60 consecutive days prior to date of vehicle delivery. Not available in all states. Program subject to change without notice. See dealer for complete details.

 

**Estimated Price and Savings currently not available in AR, CO, KS, LA, MD, NE, OK, OR, TX, VA and WA. In these states a “Target Price” is presented, which is not an advertised price, but an example of what you can reasonably expect to pay.



NRCS awards Conservation Innovation Grants for three Massachusetts projects

Christine Clarke, Massachusetts State Conservationist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced nearly $217,000 in Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) for three projects that will stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies to address water quality and quantity, air quality, energy conservation, and other natural resource issues.

 

NRCS administers CIG as part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Grants are awarded to state and local governments, federally recognized Indian tribes, non-governmental organizations and individuals. Grant recipients pay 50 percent of all project costs. The following Massachusetts projects were selected for 2012 CIG grants:

 

The Berkshire-Pioneer Resource Conservation and Development Area, Inc. in Amherst will receive $74,769 to support the Massachusetts Farm Energy Program’s effort to reduce farms’ dependence on energy and minimize greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.  BPRC&D will expand on its current statewide comprehensive farm energy audit and implementation program and focus on innovative energy conservation practices not yet supported through EQIP.  This will be achieved through in-depth trialing, on-farm demonstration and documentation.

The UMass Cranberry Experiment Station in Wareham will receive $74,025 to demonstrate the efficacy of automated irrigation cycling for cranberry frost protection and to develop best management practices. The goal is to increase the use of automated irrigation cycling in cranberry frost protection, which has the potential to decrease water use, fuel consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions.

 

The Town of Wellfleet will receive $68,205 for a demonstration project designed to increase wild aquaculture productivity and measure water quality improvements in Wellfleet Harbor. Oyster propagation and salt marsh restoration will increase the sustainability and volume of commercial oyster harvest, as well as naturally disease-resistant spawning stock. The project will also demonstrate low cost water quality improvements and the application of new side scan sonar technology for population assessment.

 

“These Conservation Innovation Grants will help spur creativity and problem-solving in the Commonwealth’s farms and water resources,” said Clarke. “Nationally, CIG grants allow the best minds in America to develop unique and innovative solutions that will help make conservation more efficient in the future.”

 


MASSACHUSETTS FARM BUREAU YF&R Update

A majority of the YF&R Committee will be heading to Nashville at the beginning of January for the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting.  We are really excited to have our YF&R program so well represented and also very pleased that we will have a participant in the Discussion Meet for the second year in a row.

 

The Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leaders have invited the YF&R State Chair and Vice Chair out to their YF&R Annual Meeting being held toward the end of January.  Chris and I are very excited to head out there and see how such a well-organized YF&R program operates their Annual Meeting; and we look forward to bringing our experience back to our Committee members.

 

When we return, the YF&R Committee will be heading off to Phoenix, Arizona for the YF&R Leadership Conference.  This is always one of our favorite trips!  The workshops are always fantastic and the farm tours are always exciting.  It is a great opportunity to gather with others, from all around the Country who share the same passion for farming. I am happy to say, that this year we are traveling to the Conference in large numbers; in fact, the largest group Massachusetts has sent in many years.  I guess this is a good sign that our YF&R program in Massachusetts is back in business.

 

Once our list of conferences and events are over, we will be working on organizing some farm tours as well as, our Annual DC Fly In.  If you are interested in getting involved, or if you would like to host a YF&R meeting at your farm or operation, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us!  In the meantime, the YF&R Committee is still seeking representatives for the Cape and the Islands, Berkshire County, and Bristol County.  Please join us to help find these young farmers; we know that they are out there!

 


MASSACHUSETTS FARM BUREAU FEDERATION ADVERTISING POLICY

Adopted 10-31-12

 

   Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation invites advertising from members and affiliated businesses or organizations in the federation’s publications and on the web site.  MFBF reserves the right to reject any advertising that is contrary to policies or positions of Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation and/or American Farm Bureau Federation, or advertising which competes with products or services provided by entities with a formal business relationship with MFBF.  Rejection of advertising under these circumstances shall be made by the Executive Director in consultation with the President.

 


Classifieds

FOR SALE: Cranberry Property Halifax, MA 75 +/- acres. 9 ½ acres of Producing Bog. Expansion possibilities. Plenty of sand & water. Great fishing & hunting property. $189,900. Contact Wayne Barnes at blueheronfarms@gmail.com for complete details.

 

FOR SALE: 1 Lilliston Rolling Cultivator CT2.  Like New - only used on 5 acres - $3,500. Fire Wood:  1 cord $275 will deliver.  Call 978-779-6633 evenings.

 

FOR SALE:  Horse Arena/ring drag with pull chain.  Heavy steel pipe 10’, 8’, 6’, 3.5’ lengths available $50-$25. Call Kim 978-815-8430.

 

FOR SALE:  Hay 60 round bales, excellent shape.  Also 200 round bales 1st cutting, under cover.  Call 413-528-0728.

 

FOR SALE:  Hereford Calves for Sale: 9-10 months old, hand-raised and tame, both steers and heifers, for your feed lot or pasture.  Call 617-840-2074.

 

FOR SALE:    Draft Mule.   Drives, rides, cultivates, plows etc.  Harvard Mass. $1,350.

Call (978) 635-0409.

 

FOR SALE:  Hay – 1st and 2nd cut – no dust guaranteed.  Wholesale and retail.  We deliver and unload.  Work cell 774-259-6960 or office 508-252-9029. Skip & Tish at Homestead Farms.

 

FOR SALE: Tires. Great prices, all sizes, tire repairs, road service, calcium chloride service. Hoey Tire, Worcester. Call 508-755-6666, www.hoeytire.com.

 

FOR SALE: Hay 1st and 2nd cutting. 4’ X 5’ round and small square bales.  Conway Farm’s Lakeville, MA.  508-821-0149.

 

FOR SALE: Bagged Shavings. Kiln-dried pine shavings, in clear plastic or paper bags, made in USA.  Trailer loads, 1,000 plus free storage 30 days on our trailer. Worcester County to Cape Cod. Priced according to location. Call Jack at 781-589-8534.

SERVING THE FARMERS IN MASS: Helping farmers keep what they make.  Experienced in dairy, beef, fruit & vegetable farming; experienced with APR, retirement planning, estate planning & taxation, tax free exchanges. Donald E. Graves, CPA, LLC, Masters Degree in Taxation &  Financial Planning, Bentley College, 377 Main Street, Suite 1, Greenfield, MA  01301-3332,  1-800-286-6036, info@donaldegravescpa.com

 

FARM MAINTENANCE:  All types arena work, construction & renewal. Paddock areas built, fencing new & repairs, hydrant work,  & brush work. CRF Maintenance Services. www.cringfarm.com  508-234-9824.

 

PASTURES:  Let our expertise in pasture construction and design provide you with pastoral views, solutions for your equestrian needs and elimination of boarding fees.  Reclaim your woodlands into pastures.  Increase your property value.  Call Woodridge Farm, Lincoln, MA.  781-259-0251.

 

REAL ESTATE APPRAISER: for farm/forestry property. Reports provided for estate planning/tax returns, APR/CR or buying/selling.  William King 508-867-2600 or whking2005@gmail.com.

WANTED:  SEEKING LAND to Lease for Solar Power Use – Parcel Profile: Lease period 20 years plus 5 year options.  Will pay up to $4,000/acre/year.  Need 15 acres of relatively flat usable land (after accounting for setbacks, environmental constraints etc.). If interested, please contact me via email at christopherlaneRE@gmail.com

 

WANTED: Ag Land to Purchase in one of the Following Counties:  Worcester, Middlesex, Norfolk or Essex.  Preferably with APR or readily eligible for one.  Combination of established well drained fields and woodland (preferably including mature sugar maples).  Minimum 35 + or – acres (more preferred if affordable).  Soils, topo and local zoning conducive to constructing barn, shop and home.  Call 802-228-8672 or email mcb12nam@tds.net

  

WANTED: Horse Barn Assistant–South Hadley. Hunter Jumper Training Facility.  Duties Include: Cleaning Stalls, Feeding, Turnout, (40)Horses. Mowing, Organizing, Grooming, Bathing, Assisting Farriers/Veterinarians. Must have prior experience. Send resume to:  JOEM@MAROISCC.COM or call 413-537-6306.

 

WANTED:  DAIRY FARMERS: Make & Save Money on Electrical Usage with On-site Solar.  We build & operate it for 20 years.  Minimum Requirements: 3 phase power & 5 acres open and unobstructed.  For details call Paul Marin 860-614-6306.

 

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