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Archive for September, 2013

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Left to right: Craig Fournier, Chelsea Kruse, Beth Hodge, Jeanne Shaheen, Steve Normanton, Kate Snyder

I did not even wear a coat and tie to my own wedding, but I had to wear one last week when Craig and I traveled to Washington DC as part of a New England Farmers Union delegation. Along with other members of the National Farmers Union, we were there to lobby our region’s representatives in the House and the Senate, to work on getting a new Farm Bill passed and not to just extend the old one for another year. Extending the old Farm Bill would jeopardize some of the programs that support our farmers the most in New England. The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program, the Farmers Market Promotion Program and the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program would fall by the wayside due to lack of funding as a result of their expired baselines.

We also brought attention to some of the sticking points in the FDA’s recommended Food Safety Modernization Act that would have a catastrophic financial impact on small farmers all over New England. On Tuesday, NFU presented Rep. Annie Kuster (NH) with a Golden Triangle Award, the organization’s highest legislative honor. This annual award is presented to members of Congress who have demonstrated leadership and who support policies that benefit America’s family farmers, ranchers, fishermen and rural communities. Finally, we briefed both House and Senate New England representatives about the increased livestock and aquaculture production in our region, and we highlighted some of challenges we are facing due to lack of infrastructure, lack of skills and training.

It was a busy week and a great opportunity to learn more about the ins and outs of policy making, but I was really happy to get back to the farm and “slip into something more comfortable”!

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TLBLogoAs the fall approaches, we are preparing to send large numbers of our animals to the butcher. The problem is, so is everyone else who raises cattle, pigs, sheep, and goats. Then deer hunting season arrives, and you can forget about booking a meat processor until January. Lucky for us and for everyone else in southern New Hampshire, a brand new USDA-inspected red meat processing facility, “The Local Butcher,” is opening up in nearby Barnstead.

The proprietor, Russ Atherton, is a pro at handling animals, having been a dairy farmer in his previous career. Low-stress handling is important to us for its own sake, but it is also vital for meat quality. We are eager for Russ to succeed, and we have already reserved a number of dates on his calendar. This means our customers who have ordered whole sides of beef and pork will have to fill out a different cut sheet this year. But not to worry, Russ has done a great job designing a cut sheet that is logical and clear.

The Local Butcher is having an open house on Saturday September 21, 2013 at 9:00 am to celebrate their Grand Opening. There will be a presentation to explain their cut sheet, plus a tour of the facility and refreshments. We’re going to check it out. We hope to see you there!

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