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Winter Conference Highlights for 2014: Part 2

Added January 20, 2014.

It seems there are more and more options each year for producers to travel and learn from fellow farmers, consultants, and researchers. It is gratifying to see not only the wealth of information, but the knowledge that at these events, you can be sure to find a vibrant Trade Show area, delicious food, and time during the days and evenings to network and spend quality time with friends old and new. Below you will find conference highlights at a handful of conferences taking place in Ohio, New York, Vermont, and Wisconsin. More events can be found on the Calendar page.

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm
Association (OEFFA) 35th Annual Conference:
Affirming Our Roots, Breaking New Ground

February 15 - 16th, 2014, with pre-conference events taking place on Friday, February 14th.
Granville Middle and High Schools in Granville, Ohio.

Enjoy keynote sessions with former US Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan and organic farmer and activist Atina Diffley; two in-depth pre-conference events; a trade show; locally-sourced and organic homemade meals, and more.

As part of the 2014 conference, OEFFA will also host the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) program’s Farmers Forum. Farmers, ranchers, and others funded by NCR-SARE grants will present workshops about their research projects.
Many workshops will be geared specifically toward organic dairy and livestock producers:

  • Dr. Gustavo Schuenemann, an Assistant Professor and dairy Extension specialist in the Ohio State University’s Department of Veterinary Preventative Medicine will lead a workshop on dairy herd health.
  • Organic dairy farmer Vernon Coblentz of Blue Sky Farm will share why he sprouts grains for feed and ideas for simple, affordable setups so you can make hay when the sun doesn’t shine.
  • During his SARE Farmers Forum workshop, veterinarian Bo Norby will provide attendees with information on non-antibiotic treatment options for bovine mastitis, and review new research on the topic.
  • Learn how to select the most appropriate forage species and varieties based on your farm’s soil type and soil fertility levels in this workshop by Retired State Grassland Conservationist and Ohio State Conservationist Hall of Fame member Bob Hendershot.
  • In a second workshop, Bob Hendershot will discuss how including forage plant species and legumes into a crop rotation can result in healthier, more productive livestock, and improved weed and pest management control.
  • Norm Conrad, program specialist with NCAT/ATTRA, will discuss how farmers can manage flies in their livestock operations.
  • Bruce Rickard will share his methods for year-round cattle grazing on grass and explain the importance of a whole farm perspective on the role of cattle in managing grassland.
  • Inspector Michelle Gregg will share tips for record keeping and organization that will help organic farmers prepare for their annual inspection and audit.
  • Inspector and certified organic farmer Mark Seeley will provide an overview of how organic records can be used as a basis for analyzing farm business performance and profitability.
  • Jake Schmitz, of Organic Valley, Dave Shively, an organic grain grower, and Alan Sundermeier, OSU Extension Educator, will discuss organic corn variety test plot results and how to select the best corn varieties for your farm.
  • Dave Campbell of Lily Lake Organic Farm in Illinois and Doug Doohan of OSU’s Organic Food and Farm Education and Research (OFFER) Program will discuss strategies for organically managing weeds in field crops, including crop rotations, cover crops, and appropriate tillage.

For more information about the conference, or to register, go to: or call: (614) 421-2022. Past conferences have sold out in advance, so early registration is encouraged to avoid disappointment.

NOFA-VT Winter Conference
February 15 – 17, 2014
The Davis Center, UVM in Burlington, VT.

This year’s conference features over 75 workshops, roundtables, and events over three days, providing many opportunities for farmers to build their skills, and network with one another. There will be a track for advanced commercial livestock farmers on Saturday, February 15th, featuring:

  • Better Soils are Better Business: Research from Vermont Dairy Farms with Brent Beidler, Guy Choiniere, Heather Darby, and Jack Lazor
  • Cow & Calf Health Today for Tomorrow’s Production with Dr. Amy Bartholomew
  • Getting the Most from Your Harvested Forages with Seth Gardener, Dan Hudson, and Mike Thresher
  • Grazing and Pasture Management: Improving Design and Troubleshooting Problems with Sarah Flack and Adam Wilson
  • Milk Quality & Nutrition: From Glass to Farm with John Barlow and Jana Kraft

On Monday, February 17th, NOFA-VT will provide an all-day intensive with Jerry Brunetti, Jack Lazor and Heather Darby titled: Chicken Soup for the Soil: Building Nutrient-Dense Soil for Nutrient-Dense Crops - Soils, crops, and livestock are all interrelated and have the potential to add up to a thriving, healthy whole farm system. This workshop will start with strategies for building first class productive soils that produce nutrient-dense crops. Jerry Brunetti will tell us how to do it from the ground up. Jack Lazor and Heather Darby will describe their research and practical approaches to producing superior quality crops here in Vermont.

Learn more about registration details, scholarships available, and the rest of the conference line up at: or contact the NOFA-VT office to request a brochure at 802-434-4122.

The 2014 MOSES Organic Farming Conference
February, 27, 28 and March 1, 2014
La Crosse, Wisconsin

Please join us to celebrate the 25th anniversary of this remarkable gathering! The 2014 Conference offers organic dairy and field crop farmers a diverse selection of all day courses on Thursday, February 27, and several 90 minute workshops on Friday, February 28 and Saturday, March 1. Below you will find a sampling of these opportunities. Many more (10 Full Day Courses and 65 Workshops) are planned for every type of organic or transitioning farmer. For full details about the conference, and for registration options, please visit the MOSES website:

Organic University Full Day Courses

  • Overcoming Weeds Organically, Jeff Moyer, Rodale Institute
  • Good Start: Organic Dairy Calves and Replacements, Dr. Guy Jodarski and Jim Langmeier


  • Precision Cover Cropping, Joel Gruver, Western Illinois University
  • Making Soybeans a Successful Part of Your Rotations, Charlie Johnson, Johnson Farms
  • Weed Management for Organic Field Crops, Dave Campbell, Lily Lake Organic Farm
  • Converting CRP Land to Organic Production, Bob Yanda, Midwestern BioAg of Iowa
  • Organic Row Crops: Challenges and Rewards, Carmen Fernholz, A-Frame Farm
  • Farm-Scale Permaculture: Know Your Biome, Mark Shepard, New Forest Farm, LLC
  • Keyline Design and Water Management, Wayne Weiseman, Kinstone Academy
  • Get the Most Out of Animal Manure, Edwin Blosser, Midwest Bio-Systems
  • Cover Crop Considerations for Organic Field Crops, Dean Baas, Michigan State University
  • Value-Added Small Grains: Einkorn, Emmer and Spelt, Steve Zwinger, North Dakota State University
  • Building Blocks of Quality Hay Production, Karl Dallefeld, Prairie Creek Seed
  • Tinctures for Livestock, Dr. Paul Dettloff
  • Analysis of Sprouted Barley Fodder in Dairy Rations, Dr. Silvia Abel-Caines and John Stoltzfus
  • Flaxseed for Dairy Cows, Andre Brito, University of New Hampshire
  • Robotic Milking: Lessons Learned, Peter Ruegemer, Ruegemer Organic Dairy
  • Organic Dairy Forages across the Seasons, Heather Darby, University of Vermont
  • Healthy Organic Dairy Calves and Heifers, Dr. Guy Jodarski

The 2014 Vermont Organic
Dairy Producer Conference
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Vermont Technical College in Randolph Center, Vermont

The conference is a collaborative effort with UVM Extension and NOFA-Vermont that providing Vermont organic dairy farmers with an annual gathering to learn timely research-based information on organic dairy production systems.

This year, the conference will focus on farm resiliency in the face of weather extremes.
Dr. Fred Magdoff, UVM Department of Plant and Soil Science emeritus soil scientist, will provide a keynote presentation on practical ways to build farm resilience through soil health, forage crop diversification, and other agronomic practices.

Dr. Silvia Abel-Caines, veterinarian and ruminant nutritionist with Organic Valley / CROPP Cooperative, will provide a keynote on balancing livestock nutrition on a pasture-based diet.
Tom Kilcer, certified crop advisor with Advanced Ag Systems, will present on the hay-in-a-day technique and considerations for optimizing stored forage quality.

Due to their continued popularity, we will also offer our updates on recent organic dairy research and we will have farmer panel—this year. Both will address the value of high quality forages.

More information about the conference can be found at:

NOFA-NY 3rd Annual Organic Dairy & Field Crop Conference
March 7th, 2014
The Holiday Inn in Auburn NY

We are pleased to announce our experienced organic keynote speaker Gary Zimmer, President of Midwester BioAg. Gary is recognized around the world for his commitment to improving farming through restoring soils. Through a lifetime in agriculture, he has never stopped learning or teaching. Raised on a Wisconsin dairy farm, Gary studied dairy nutrition, earning a bachelor’s degree from the Univ. of Wisconsin and a master’s degree from the Univ. of Hawaii, and has combined his formal education with years of hands-on farming experience. He began asking questions about the soil and how it relates to healthy and productive plants, which lead him to read The Albrecht Papers. For the past 25 years, Gary has evaluated farming practices as a consultant, on his family’s farm, and as president of Midwestern Bio-Ag, a biological farming consulting company located in Blue Mounds, WI. Gary’s keynote talk will focus on how soil is the source of nutrients on a farm, and how healthy soils will produce healthy plants for healthy livestock and healthy humans. He will also share how, as organic dairy and field crop farmers, you can balance your soils to mitigate the risks of extreme weather patterns and maintain overall production during inclement conditions.

Here is a preview of some of the many workshops to look forward to at this conference:

  • Cover Crop Systems ~ Norm Conrad;
  • Distilling Grains ~ TBD;
  • Small Grains ~ Robert Perry;
  • Heifer Health ~ Dr. Guy
    Jodarski; Farm Bill Update ~ TBD;
  • Hay in a Day ~ Dave Johnson;
  • Herd Health ~ Dr. Guy Jodarski;
  • Milk Quality ~ TBD;
  • Transitioning to Organic Field Crops ~ Robert Perry;
  • Mineralized Balanced Agriculture ~ Gary Zimmer;
  • Processing Your Products ~ TBD

Take time to visit our tradeshow, and remember that NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC staff will be available to answer questions on organic certification. Partake in a delicious organic meal prepared with food donated by local farmers and business members. Enjoy learning, networking and information exchange. We look forward to seeing you there!

For more program details visit our website at: or contact NOFA-NY: 585-271-1979 x 513 email: