11/17/2012 7:00 AM
By Lorraine Merrill New Hampshire Agriculture Commissioner
A highlight of the New Hampshire Farm Bureau Federation (NHFBF) annual meeting is the announcement of the organization’s prestigious Profile Award recognizing individuals for outstanding service to agriculture and rural life.
At the annual meeting held Nov. 2-3 in Portsmouth, the organization honored John Porter with the 2012 Profile Award.
Best known for his long career as University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension dairy specialist, Porter has earned the respect and affection of many in the farming community for his tireless dedication and service, his thoughtful and informed advice, and his knack for connecting people with the resources and contacts they need.
Since retiring in 2006, he has continued to work part time for UNHCE, and has provided consulting services in farm planning throughout the Northeast.
NHFBF President Jeff Holmes noted that Porter “always considered his position more than just a job — it was an opportunity to be part of the agricultural community in which he grew up and desired to continue to serve.”
This sixth-generation New Hampshire farmer also continues market gardening and a pick-your-own blueberry enterprises at the home he shares with his wife, Martha, in Boscawen. He grows bell peppers for sale to local restaurants as Porter’s Perfect Peppers, and has added Porter’s Perfect Potatoes to his portfolio.
He grew up on a dairy farm on Hardy Hill in Lebanon, where he worked with his family until graduating from UNH in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in animal science. Those early experiences growing up on the farm inform the popular stories he contributes to the Weekly Market Bulletin.
He went on to earn an master’s degree in animal nutrition and a minor in farm management at Cornell, and a master’s in education administration from Bob Jones University.
Holmes noted that Porter is always willing to help out the farming community as a volunteer with countless programs and organizations, including Granite State Dairy Promotion, 4-H dairy programs, shows and judging, Farm & Forest Expo board, farm safety initiatives like the NH ROPS Rebate Program, NH 4-H Foundation, NH Grange Foundation, National Dairy Practices Council, New Hampshire Historic Barn Committee and New England Green Pastures committee.
Porter is active in his local community and church, and is co-author with retired UNHCE engineer Francis Gilman of “Preserving Old Barns” and editor and co-author of “The History and Economics of New Hampshire Dairy Industry.”
On their tour two weeks ago, members of the Ag Advisory Board expressed wishes that more people could tour the extensive greenhouses at D.S. Cole Growers in Loudon.
The series of high-tech houses from the Netherlands are high, wide and filled with color. D.S. Cole produces large volumes of high-quality flowering plants for wholesale markets, including many independent farms and garden centers.
This Saturday, D.S. Cole opened the wholesale growing greenhouses to the public for holiday open house tours.
“This is not a sales event,” Doug Cole stressed. “As a wholesale operation we do not sell to the general public. Please come enjoy the spectacular color of over 32,000 poinsettias and 10,000 cyclamen that have been grown for the holiday season.”
D.S. Cole Growers is located at 251 N. Village Road, Loudon.
Funding Deadline Nears
State Conservationist Rick Ellsmore reminds folks that the deadline for the next round of USDA Natural Resources Service program funding is Dec. 3.
Those new to the system need to allow extra time to establish landowner eligibility with USDA. See Ellsmore’s guest column in the Weekly Market Bulletin, and contact your county NRCS office for assistance.
Lorraine Merrill is New Hampshire’s Commissioner of Agriculture, Markets & Food.