Category Archives: Bioenergy

Farm Visit and Meeting

I am excited to say that I am going to get time to go spend on another Jersey Farm today! Lawton’s, who are some of my favorite people around, have a 75 milking cow herd of the most beautiful jerseys!

I have to admit, I feel almost priveledged to be able to go sit down with them for a couple of hours and talk with them about the four generations that have worked the farm. They are lacking ONE year from being in operation 75 YEARS! And I really hope I live to see the day when the celebrate 100!

First thing this morning though, I have to go sit through a bioenergy training class that I am an advisor and instructor for….blah! But, someone needs to do this to educate our local economic development agencies just how important agriculture is to the renewable energy sector and local economic development. Too many times, these agencies won’t talk anything agriculture. I am hoping that these monthly classes (that have been going on for almost a year) have changed the mind sets of the staff. I don’t get paid to do any of this either. It’s been my commitment to the agriculture sector and hopefully more farm security in the upcoming future. I do it for my neighbors, my friends and yes, even a few of my extended family members.

Do I feel I am an industry leader? In some ways, yes I do. In others, no. I am just trying to do my part to educate and promote agriculture. Too many people don’t understand the full diversity of how important our farm land is. It isn’t only about food production anymore. It’s about food, fiber, and energy. It’s not all about the little guys and girls like me, it’s about doing what is best for the environment. It’s about using left over waste products and land that isn’t valued for the food system. There are so many different aspects that most people just don’t grasp. Maybe the whole concept is just too big…another reason why this program is taking a year already and I am sure at least another to begin actual projects.

It takes time to get people to open their minds and sometimes their eyes to see the world around them. We don’t live in a concrete jungle, not all of us anyway. We live in wide open spaces where we watch the birds come in to nest. We watch wildflowers bloom and cover fields in a sea of purples, blues, yellows and whites. We watch as deer, turkey and geese walk across fields looking for food to forage. We sit along creek banks and ponds watching the fish swim and jump. It is just a different way of life that needs preservation. It’s that way of life that keeps me passionate about everything I do.

So for now…I am off to the concrete jungle to talk about nature’s finest moments and how agriculture works together with nature to provide us the stuff we need….would rather be watching that new calf out running in the pasture along side his mother but, sometimes we all have to make sacrifices for the greater good!

Peace to all and God bless you!

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Farm Shows

Well, on Friday, Mr. Farmer and I attended the NY Farm Show in Syracuse, NY. I spent my morning listening through a seminar on gas leasing and the information research gathered through three individuals across the state.

Once I was done taking my notes (which will be used for next weeks edition of a Lancaster Farming article) I got to spend some time walking around and chatting with some different people.

First stop…….the youth food booth for a cup of hot coffee! Then it was on to look at the new Jaylor Mixers! We have been thinking about getting one of these to use as our herd expands. It was nice to actually stand on one, see the size of it in person and ask some questions. We are looking at the self propelled unit, which should provide a Total Mixed Ration (TMR) in enough quantity to feed all of our upcoming herd. It is the only mini-mixer with a steel tub, not a poly tub.

The next stop was to start looking at different mixtures for seedings for our new pasture mixes. We found three that are shelf-ready and two that would have to be custom mixed. We are going to be looking through these mixes now with the nutrienist to make sure that which ever one we use for our intensive grazing during the summer months will have the proper balance for our herd of Jersey cows.

Then it was on to look at some of the corn seeds that are coming online and have been referred to us by one of our contacts at Cornell. . . I will post more on this as time comes.

I had a great conversation with Chris Fesko about what she is doing and she informed me that she has planned her first open house of the year again this year for Mother’s Day weekend. I encourage you to take time reading about what she is doing and maybe even booking some time to go spend a day on her farm.

Then it was off to talk with the great folks who farm and sell their milk through Agrimark. Agri-Mark farmers take pride in their Cabot and McCadam products and have the toughest milk quality standards in the market. Now that sounds like a group I can get involved with. Quality over quantity! Sounds good to me!

Then it was off to talk fencing….phew boy are there a ton of options out there! Time for me to put a bunch of thought into what we are going to do. Five strand high tensile is looking better everyday with some extremely high voltage around the perimeter fencing……….More on this coming soon!

We also got to see my Canadian friend Jasmin from Energrow Inc. too! She is so much fun to talk to and I love seeing her. Her and I could have a ton of fun together if we lived closer together. But all kidding aside…you all really need to go take a look at their machinery that turns soybeans and other oil based crops into oil and meal. This is a must have piece of machinery as we move forward with our expansions….AND I can’t wait to get it!

There was plenty more to see and do…but I think the funniest and most serious thing I saw was the Farm Show poll on how the attendees would vote for the current canidates for president.

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Bioenergy and Agriculture

As many of you already know, I have been working for the past two and a half years on developing more bioenergy usage within my region. Not for many of the reasons that most people think either.

I work in this industry, pushing for the additional option to farmers and landowners. To some folks, there is no understanding of what bioenergy is exactly. You may have the basic concept that it comes from biological materials and in that aspect, you are correct. Bioenergy can be defined as an alternative energy produce from living materials.

You can break bioenergy into three basic concepts. The following PDF document will help you see the potential uses of the three separate categories.
Bioenergy through Agriculture

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be compiling a flow chart for the different industries that can potentially be impacted and see economic variations through a bioenergy energy sector. The first one that I will be focusing on is Biogas. Some of you are already familiar with biogas, since it is something that we all hear about (both good and bad) within Ag.

Biogas is nothing more than harnessed Methane. But, some of you still have some questions about how methane can be used to produce energy. I will give you just an overview of those answers when I compile them into an additional tag along slideshow.

I think it is important for all farms, large and small, to consider the benefit potentials of Methane in the energy cycle. This is one of the reason why I will openly share the compiled documents and answer any questions that may arise to the best of my ability.

I hope that you find these pages informative and helpful. If not, please comment on how we can improve these pages so that the “general public” will get a better understanding of how agriculture is for the future of energy within the US.