The 14th Annual NODPA Field Days and Annual Meeting September 25 & 26, 2014
Stonewall Farm, Keene, NH
By Nora Owens, NODPA Field Days Coordinator
Added July 21, 2014.
For the second time in NODPA’s 14-year history, New Hampshire will host NODPA’s Field Days this year. We will gather in Southwestern New Hampshire at Stonewall Farm, in Keene, at the height of the autumn color, on Thursday, September 25th and Friday September 26th. NODPA’s Annual Field Days event will offer a rich array of national and regional leaders who will share their knowledge, ideas, business experience and herd health practices that are essential for running a successful organic dairy business.
This year’s program is packed with compelling, practical workshops, a tour of the diverse enterprises at Stonewall Farm, a large trade show, delicious local and organic meals, a social hour, and plenty of time to network with fellow farmers. We are excited to announce that Miles McEvoy, Deputy Administrator of the National Organic Program, USDA-AMS, Dr. Jean Richardson, Chair of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), and Henry Perkins, President of the Maine Organic Milk Producers, past President of NODPA, and long-time certified organic farmer, will share their thoughts on the future of organic certification following the Thursday evening banquet and NODPA’s annual meeting. As always, there will be plenty of time for questions and discussion.
As the NODPA Field Days’ title suggests, half of this year’s program focuses on improving the farm’s financial bottom line while the other half focuses on organic dairy’s bottom line: the cows.
Dr. Hubert Karreman, VMD and Dr. Cynthia Lankenau, DVM, will team up to provide practical knowledge and tools so you can keep your herd in peak condition.
From the business perspective, we will have workshops that focus on creating sustainability through diversity and planning for the next generation; ways to maximize farm income without large-scale capital investment or changing production practices; and trends and opportunities for grass based dairies in the wholesale organic milk market. Herd health workshops will include the very popular Odairy Live! Ask the Vets: Q & A session, and an extended, hands-on workshop on Alternative Cow Care: Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Acupressure and more which will be led by both Dr. Karreman and Dr. Lankenau, using cows generously donated by Stonewall Farm.
Thursday morning kicks off with a tour of Stonewall Farm’s diversified enterprises that sustain this 125-year old non-profit farm. As the cost of production has outpaced the pay price for organic milk, they recognized that diversification and niche marketing were important components of their business model. In addition to organic milk, they produce cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and beef, and have a vegetable operation. They operate a CSA and farm store; maintain a year-round education program - including a beginning farmer education program; are launching a micro-fodder system for sprouted grains; and are involved in the development of a small grains cooperative.
Following the farm tour, attendees will have a short walk from the barns to the education center for lunch and Field Days registration, followed by a compelling lineup of afternoon workshops.
The education program gets under way with timely follow up to the morning tour with Stonewall Farm’s Executive Director, Josh Cline, giving an overview of their farm, the mission and the opportunities and challenges of running a non-profit farm in “Organic Family Farm Opportunities: Creating Sustainability through Diversity, and Planning for the Next Generation”. Joining him will be Stonyfield Farm’s new Farmer Relationship Manager Kyle Thygesen, who will discuss the opportunities for organic dairies that their new program offers, and Kathy Ruhf, executive director of Land for Good, who will focus on sustainability through planning for your farm’s future. Land for Good works with farmers throughout the Northeast on planning for succession and generational transfer of the farm business.
Next, in “How to Sell More Than Milk from your Farm: maximizing the farm income without large scale capital investment or changing production practices”, Margaret Christie, Special Projects Director at Massachusetts based Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), will share her research findings on infrastructure and aggregating needs related to large volume sales of locally grown products. She will also describe opportunities available to farmers who provide services and products to other farmers that are marketing direct to the consumer. Liz Bawden, organic dairy producer and NODPA President, will provide information on her farm’s very successful heifer hay and bedding hay operation, discussing the route her family took to diversify their income stream. Additional presenters (TBD) will focus on organic meat production opportunities, and how farmers can create income streams by providing services to smaller, low acreage, and/or part-time farms.
Following Thursday’s education program, we will have our Social Hour where attendees will have time to catch up with friends old and new and visit the Trade Show. Our Banquet will follow, featuring a pig roast and local and organic foods, highlighting the rich New England harvest.
Immediately following dinner, we will have NODPA’s Annual Meeting, with NODPA President, Liz Bawden, and Executive Director, Ed Maltby, presenting the year in review and looking forward to the year ahead. Following NODPA’s annual meeting, Miles McEvoy, Dr. Jean Richardson, and Henry Perkins will share their thoughts on the Future of Organic Certification, then will take questions and facilitate what will likely be a spirited discussion to close out the evening.
Friday morning begins with an early continental breakfast, followed by a Producer-Only Meeting, facilitated again this year by Henry Perkins, where producers can speak about their concerns, challenges and successes without fear of their views and opinions hindering their relationships with processors. This is a unique opportunity for producers to help direct the future activities of NODPA and clearly express their views on topics that they feel are important.
Friday’s workshops begin with Peter Miller, CROPP Cooperative, Joe Miller, Trickling Springs Creamery, Mike Davis, Upstate Niagara, invited, Max Winter, Dairy Buyer, Brattleboro Food Cooperative, and a producer (TBD) discussing new marketing opportunities that will increase pay price by utilizing current production practices in “Trends and Opportunities for Grass Based Dairies in the Wholesale Organic Milk Market”.
Ed Maltby, NODPA Executive Director will provide updates on activities and policy impacting Organic Dairy, and Miles McEvoy and Dr. Jean Richardson, will be on hand to answer your questions during the session on “What’s Happening in Washington?”
Back by popular demand, “Odairy Live! Ask the Vets: Q & A” will feature Drs. Hubert Karreman and Cindy Lankenau taking your questions and leading the discussion in which everyone shares their best information and experiences in cow health and comfort.
After a full morning of workshops, lunch follows, with plenty of time to visit the Trade Show professionals, network with fellow attendees and wait for your name to be called as we have our ever-popular Door Prize Drawings, where there’s something for everyone, and you can win great prizes donated by our sponsors, supporter and trade show participants.
We round out the 14th Annual NODPA Field Days with a very special 2-hour, hands-on workshop, “Alternative Cow Care: Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Acupressure and More” featuring the leaders in this field, Dr. Hubert Karreman, VMD and Rodale Institute, Kutztown, PA, and Dr. Cindy Lankenau, DVM, Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist (CVA), Veterinary Chiropractor and Homeopath, Holistic Center for Veterinary Care, Colden, NY.
Drs. Karreman and Lankenau will provide practical information, effective diagnostic tools and alternative treatment methods to keep cows comfortable and healthy. We are especially fortunate to be at Stonewall Farm, an educational farm where the animals are accustomed to being handled, because their dairy cows will be available for hands-on experience throughout this workshop.
This year, participants are strongly encouraged to make plans early for lodging. NODPA’s Field Days is in the heart of ‘leaf-peeping’ season, so lodging options will fill up fast. Keene, NH is only a few minutes away from Stonewall Farm and Brattleboro, VT is just a few minutes further, and both have a number of hotels, inns, and B&B’s. There is camping nearby at Swanzey Lake, www.swanzeylake.com/, and KOA Campsite in Brattleboro has cabins, trailer hook-ups and tent sites available; call 800-562-5905 or visit www.KOA.com for more information. And finally, visiting travel sights such as www.expedia.com or www.kayak.com will help you find good travel options in the Keene area.
Watch your mailbox for your 14th Annual NODPA Field Days brochure, which will be mailed out in early August and will be available for download from NODPA’s website. Visit the Field Days page of the NODPA website, www.nodpa.com/fielddays_registration_2014.shtml, for online registration, updates on speakers, sponsors and other program details as we get closer to the event.
If you have questions or need assistance with anything related to this event, please contact the NODPA Field Days Coordinator, Nora Owens, by email, firstname.lastname@example.org or phone, 413-772-0444.