Farm Calls: Sweet Corn Varieties & Postharvest Capability

Recently, a sweet corn grower considering new marketing opportunities asked:

“I don’t farm enough sweet corn acreage to support a hydro cooler or package icing equipment for rapid field heat removal at harvest. 
With less than ideal postharvest handling cooling equipment, which varieties should I consider growing if I want to maximize both marketable shelf life and eating quality in order to win repeat sales from direct market and wholesale customers?”

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Farm Calls: Beginning Farmer Questions on Farm Leasing

Ivory-Harlow-Leasing-Land-Farm&Dairy

This month, a Rutgers grad from a couple of years back, called to say she was well on the road to fulfilling a dream she had talked about in Sustainable Ag class. She has worked hard to save up grubstake capital to begin her part-time farming enterprise, and located a rentable farm near her current “day job.”
Before entering into negotiations with the owner she asks,

“How do I properly value and negotiate farm lease terms that include using the owner’s working farm in addition to renting farmland.”

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Roller Crimper Tips for NJ Growers

Roller Crimper in Action

A Roller Crimper in Action

Roller Crimpers offer superior benefits with reduced inputs to vegetable growers who use them along with herbicides, producing better quality main season crops such as pumpkin, winter squash, and processing tomato.

The dense cover crop mat acts as a contact barrier between fruit and soil, minimizing fruit defects and splash disseminated diseases that affect marketing. We share lessons learned during our four years of experience using the roller crimper. Armed with this knowledge, decide if Roller Crimper use fits into your operation. [Read more…]

Motivating Farmers to Attend Worthwhile Extension Programs

The itinerant teacher will be expected to give as much thought to the economic side of agriculture as he gives to the matter of larger acreage yields.

Congressman A.F. Lever of South Carolina,
US House of Representatives Report No. 110
creating Cooperative Extension Work, 1914

There’s a lot to chew on in Congressman Lever’s statement. With the creation of Cooperative Extension, Congress intended for educators to be mobile, traveling to farmers for the purpose of teaching the most economical methods of distribution as well as the best methods of production. There was an expectation that thought be given to what amounts to a curriculum for farmers. Following from that is the expectation that thought be given to how to motivate farmers to engage in programs that provide value to their lives and livelihood.

You might think that there is an easy, single answer to what motivates farmers to engage in worthwhile Extension programs: Profit. However, there’s more to it than that. In fact, we may be inadvertently presenting programming in ways that actually lead to disengagement.
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