2015 YFR leadership logo FB


By: Marcia Itle
Cambria County
District 12 Representative


Hello Friends!


It’s so nice to be interacting with all of you again! During my last post, I focused on my background and our family farm: Vale Wood Farms. Since my previous blog, my family has been busy at the farm, and I am excited to tell you exactly what we have been up to.


As a local, multi-generation dairy farm, we find it our responsibility to educate people/our consumers on the importance of consuming dairy products and understanding where these wholesome dairy products come from. There are several events that we host at the farm throughout the year, but one of the most rewarding is our school tours.


Itle Kids in front of cows

By: Jim & Rachel Shenk
Juniata County
District 10 Representative


Did you know that cows can have happy lines? No...it doesn’t mean they’re smiling. In a cow’s world, “happy lines” are the horizontal lines that appear at the bottom of the rib cage and run perpendicular to the rib bones. It looks like you took your fingertips and raked down the side of the cow’s ribs from front to back. When a farmer sees these ridges on a cow’s abdomen, it’s the absolute best sign for a healthy, well-fed cow!


 Shenk Happy cow 1

By: Tyler Funk
Franklin County
District 9 Representative


Rocket web


This is Rocket the cow.


By: Becky Spickler
Northumberland County
District 7 Representative

While most people are enjoying the beautiful spring weather with sunshine and mild temperatures, this week on the farm it is quite a bit warmer. The average temperature inside our chicken houses is 90 degrees as we prepare for a new flock of chicks to be delivered. It takes quite a bit of work between flocks to prepare for the next one. After the dust and dirt is blown out and the manure is removed, fresh new shavings are spread. Water lines are flushed and the buildings are disinfected to ensure the new chicks are coming in to a clean, healthy environment.

Spickler Chick 1

By: Lori Dotterer-Butler
Clinton County
District 6 Representative

Here at Paul Dotterer and Son’s we are planning for a big farm tour in June. We are doing this as part of our township’s 175th Anniversary and the farm’s 65th year in business. Along with the various events the township will be having, one of the big events is a tour of our dairy.

Butler 4 image3

By: Jodi & Ryan Calkins
Bradford County


This time of the year is a busy one as we are prepping for spring field work; both kids are in softball and t-ball respectively, my husband, Ryan, is at his day-time job, and I am home sitting under one of my many hats that I wear. Plus the busyness of 4-H, Farm Bureau, and school work makes for a full schedule. In fact, this past weekend we had our county calf sale, where Ryan helped as a fitter. A fitter trims the animal’s coats with clippers to make them look their best for the sale.

calkins 1 web

By: Jeff Bloss
Luzerne County


After the month of March brought above-normal temperatures here in Pennsylvania, the first week of April has been quite cold, with several morning low temperatures near the records. During the last week of March, all of the grass hay fields received the needed fertilizer according to soil test results. Fertilizer is used so optimum nutrients are available to the hay crop so it can grow enough for a successful first cutting, to be harvested around the second week of May, for top dairy-quality forage.  The following picture shows an alfalfa-orchardgrass stand that has sprung up with the early spring but is now at a standstill until the cold temperatures moderate once again.  This perennial forage mixture was planted in late April 2015 using no-till methods in an effort to reduce labor, fuel use, and topsoil erosion.


bloss alfalfa bloss 4 web

By: Don & Kristen Buckman
Bucks County

Like many farm families, 4-H has been part of our lives for many generations. My dad was very involved in training horses, raising pigs and many other types of animals. Growing up, my brothers and I were involved with several different clubs. Everything from gardening to air rifle was offered at that time. My daughter, Hailey, is the first of the next generation to be involved in 4-H. Her brothers are anxiously waiting until they can participate, once they turn eight, and many of their cousins are also waiting in the wings.

Buckman Hailey w goat

By: Dave Nogan
Lackawanna County, District 1


As one of the new members to the PA YF&R Committee, I would first like to introduce myself and tell you a little bit about myself and what we do here at Applewood Farm. I am David Nogan and I am the District 1 representative covering Wayne, Pike, Susquehanna, Wyoming and Lackawanna Counties. Along with my brother Ben and my father Jeff, we run a cow/calf herd and finish out steers in a conventional feedlot.


Nogan family1 web