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NODPA’s 12th Annual Field Days And Producer Meeting
Farming Smarter: A Nutrient and Energy Dense Agenda
To Help Farmers Become More Self-Reliant

September 27 and 28, 2012, Vermont Agricultural Business Education Center
8 University Way, Brattleboro, Vermont

To print out a PDF version of the schedule, click here.


Thursday, September 27
9 – Noon   Farm Tours
We will visit the Franklin Farm in Guilford with David and Mary Ellen Franklin, hosts, and the Miller Dairy in Vernon, hosted by the Miller family. We will see two types of dairy farms, based on land-base & soils, (small valley & hill-farm vs. Connecticut River flat silt-loams), as well as their approaches to dairy farming over the past 20 years and how they came to be certified organic. Diversification, extended season grazing, summer annuals, multi generation, as well as inter-generation, and external partnerships are all parts of these farming complexes. The two farms both have herds of 100 or less; feed very different rations; and expect/aim for different production results. Tours organized and facilitated by Dairy and Livestock Specialist Willie Gibson and in partnership with NOFA-VT
Noon – 1:30   Registration and Lunch
1:30 – 3:00   There are No Shortcuts to Productive Pasture! The 10 top mistakes in pasture management and how to avoid them
Leading national organic grazing experts Sarah Flack (Vermont), Cindy Daley (California) and Kathy Soder (Pennsylvania) will 'dig' into their experiences of managing organic pasture across the country. The presenters will challenge participants to add their own 'learning practices' in this interactive session.
3:00 – 3:30   Milk Break
3:30 – 5:00   How to Maintain Cow Health, Realistic Production Goals and Good Cash Flow to Stay in Business
A panel of practitioners and experts in the feed business who will discuss projections for winter feed supply and the most efficient feed utilization based on existing market conditions and anticipated pay price. Les Morrison from Morrison Feeds, Klaas Marten (invited), Lakeview Organic Grain, and Bob Parsons, UVM Extension Ag Economist, and Karen Hoffman, Resource Conservationist, Animal Science, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, New York
5:00 – 6:00   Social Hour and Trade Show
6:00 – 7:00   Banquet and welcome by NODPA President Liz Bawden
Year in Review by NODPA Executive Director Ed Maltby
7:00 – 8:00   Keynote Speaker: Cheyenne Christianson,
Wisconsin Organic Dairy Farmer
The keynote speaker at the NODPA annual meeting and banquet will be nationally acclaimed farmer and educator Cheyenne Christianson who will describe his experiences in taking a conventionally managed farm to a vibrant biological system that's practically self-sufficient. For the last twenty years, Cheyenne and Katy Christianson have been operating a 325 acre grass-based, no-grain organic dairy in Wisconsin. Cheyenne will speak about his experience of zero grain consumption and his philosophy on the organic dairy industry staying true to its original mission.
8:00 – 9:00   Q and A session with Cheyenne Christianson and NODPA Annual Meeting

Friday September 28
6:30 – 9:00 am   Continental Breakfast
7:00 – 9:00   Producer-Only Meeting and continuation of NODPA Annual Meeting
9:00 – 10:45   Nutrient Dense Forages and Soil Health,
the Basis for a Sustainable Future?
This interactive session will be a rare opportunity to learn from the 'grandfather of organic dairy' Jack Lazor and two of the top organic educators in the nation, Cindy Daley and Heather Darby as they share
their experience with nutrient-dense land management and managing soil health. Jack and Anne Lazor have been operating a certified organic dairy farm in the Northeast Kingdom, Vermont since 1979; Dr. Cynthia A. Daley has lead the transition and growth of 85 acres of organically certified land at the University of California, Chico University Farm while developing a Center for Organic Dairy Production in the West and Heather Darby, Associate Professor of Agronomy, who is a leader in implementing
research and outreach programs in the areas of fuel, forage, and grain production systems in New England. They will present their ideas and philosophies on the importance of whole-farm health with practical examples on improving the soil for a sustainable future while continuing to cash flow the organic family farm and remain profitable.
10:45 – 11:00   Milk Break
11:00 – 11:45   What's happening in DC in this election year and what the
2012/2013 Farm Bill will contain

Annette Higby, New England Farmers Union Policy director, Dave Rogers, NOFA-VT Policy director and Ed Maltby, NODPA Executive Director will be on a panel that discusses relevant policy issues and how they will affect organic dairy farm families in the future.
12:00-1:30 pm   Lunch and Door Prize Drawing
1:30 – 3:00   Diversification and your Farm's Future: Is it possible to enjoy greater profits by diversifying farm and non-farm operations?
In this session, the panel will explore the opportunities and challenges of diversification, including direct marketing, leasing land to energy companies (gas, solar, wind, cell towers), selling more crops and milking fewer cows, and more. Faye Benson, team leader for the Cornell Small Dairy Team, will
moderate a panel discussion which will include Massachusetts organic dairy farmer, raw milk producer and cheese maker, Jeanette Fellows; Pennsylvania organic farmer Dave Johnson; retired Maine organic dairy farmer Henry Perkins and Wisconsin dairy farmer Cheyenne Christianson.
3:00 – 5:00   Organic Trade Association's proposal for an Organic Check-Off program
The day will end with a panel presentation examining the benefits of the Organic Trade Association's proposal for an Organic Check-Off program; what it will look like and what alternatives there might be. Participants will have the chance to weigh in on what they'd like to see happen and if a check-off program is the best way to go.