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NODPA’s 9th Annual Field Days And Producer Meeting
Thursday August 13 at Noon to Friday August 14th at 5:00 pm
Roman Stoltzfoos' Spring Wood Organic Farm, Kinzers, Pennsylvania

Deerfield, MA, August 1, 2009: This year’s NODPA Field Days and Annual Meeting are in beautiful Lancaster County PA at the farm of one of the pioneers of organic dairy and founders of NODPA. Recognizing the extreme financial hardship that organic dairy producers are suffering, this year’s Field Days have a theme of “Practical and Efficient Organic Dairy Farming Practices in Hard Economic Times,” and features many practical workshops from leaders in the organic dairy industry.

NODPA will be offering free registration to organic dairy producers. “We want as many organic dairy producers to attend in this difficult year for organic dairy,” says Henry Perkins, NODPA President, “so there will be no registration charge for organic dairy producers and we thank our sponsors for subsidizing the cost of the food to make it as easy as possible for producers to attend.”

NODPA’s annual Field Days promise to be full of learning opportunities, networking time and planning for the future, with plenty of hands-on, practical strategies to increase the profitability of organic dairies. Kicking things off on Thursday afternoon, Roman and Dwight Stoltzfoos will lead a panel discussion on the benefits of hedgerows followed by a pasture walk that will incorporate information stations to focus on plant identification, fence line and water systems, pasture management and forage quality. Experts will be available to discuss the relevant topics and there will be grass demonstration plots courtesy of King’s Agri-Seed—if the weather cooperates!

Friday’s early workshops will include a discussion on economically balancing rations and affordable ways to keep your herd healthy featuring Hue Karreman, Kathy Soder, Ken Muckenfuss, Sarah Flack and Jeff Mattocks. Keynote speaker, James Landis, will lead the final two workshops. Mr. Landis, along with his son and two sons-in-law are currently milking 1200 cows on 4 different farms in Georgia. Mr. Landis will set the stage by looking at the beliefs that drive us, and then focus on counting the cost to produce 100 pounds of milk.

Summing up the fear that now permeates the organic dairy industry, Mr. Landis reflects “Somewhere in the recesses of your subconscious mind you harbor the realization that the costs of producing milk on your farm must not exceed the income from the sale of the milk. Somewhere in the past or present prowls the fear that you may go broke or that the children will not want to be a part of this difficult venture.”

James has created a cost/cwt spreadsheet program that he uses to help farmers analyze the profitability of their own dairy farms and after a hearty lunch break, he will focus on the heart of the dairy: swift, simple, pleasant milking; mob handling, controlling feed costs; raising heifers on pasture and last, but not least, turning youngsters into adults in farming. Roman and Dwight Stoltzfoos have worked closely with James Landis and will join him in leading a tour of their dairy to bring Mr. Landis’ strategies to life.

“For the first time organic dairy farmers do not know what they will be paid for their organic milk and have no security for the future,” says Ed Maltby, NODPA Executive Director, “We planned these Field Days so farmers can learn from experts and each other about different ways to survive in these difficult times and hopefully enjoy the companionship of their colleagues and peers.”

To register online for Field Days, click here. The Field Days brochure can be found at http://nodpa.com/2009_fielddays_schedule.shtml or call Nora Owens at 413-772-0444 for more information. This year’s event is sponsored by Horizon Organic, Organic Cow, Lakeview Organic Grain, Natural By Nature, Organic Valley, PA Certified Organic, and PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture.