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Upcoming Winter Conference Highlights

CONTROLLING YOUR DAIRY DESTINY
PASA Announces Special Events Aimed at Helping Dairy Farmers

The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) will hold its nineteenth annual conference February 4 – 6, 2010 in State College, PA. with the following theme: The Sustainable Challenge: Providing for a Livable Tomorrow.

Unique to this year, the conference will feature three dairy-specific pre-conference tracks on Thursday, February 4, each providing a full day of information, including ideas for innovation and opportunities for networking with other dairy farmers.

The Value-Added Dairy explores the nitty-gritty of turning excess fluid milk into cash flow for your dairy operation. Frank Kipe from MicroDairy Designs and Peter Dixon of Consider Bardwell Farm will be among the presenters offering down-to-earth advice about facility planning and equipment sourcing, as well as business planning, raw milk logistics and basic cheese making.

Intermediate Cheese Making: Experienced cheese makers will fine-tune their craft and gain knowledge of how to improve their cheeses using information and experience gleaned in this workshop. After morning sessions on caves and cultures, artisan cheese experts Jenny Harris and Jill Erber will lead the afternoon’s cheese tasting and conduct evaluations of participants’ own cheeses.

Controlling Your Dairy Destiny will help producers think their way to a better long-term return for their efforts by illustrating the many avenues to success. Part of negotiating those paths involves understanding how the current state of affairs has come to be. John Bunting, a dairyman from NY who writes for Milkweed, and Michael Stumo, CEO of Coalition for a Prosperous America, will give the background behind pricing structures and explore antitrust law as it relates to the dairy industry. Sue Miller, Kim Seeley, Duane Hertzler and Francis Thicke will be sharing their stories of how they each gained control of their dairy’s destiny and what they envision the future of dairy farming to be.

This year’s emphasis on dairying also does not end on Thursday. Tucked among workshops on composting, small grain production and integrated pest management are Friday and Saturday workshops at which presenters will share their knowledge and experience about running a goat micro-dairy, changing raw milk regulations across the country and organic dairy production.
Information and registration for the Farming for the Future conference, including the pre-conference tracks on dairying and other topics, can be found online at www.pasafarming.org/conference2010 or by contacting the PASA office at 814-349-9856. Scholarship and work-share opportunities are available.

ADVANCED ORGANIC DAIRY WORKSHOPS
NOFA Vermont’s 28th Annual Winter Conference

The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont will host a full day of advanced workshops and roundtable discussions for organic dairy farmers during its 28th annual Winter Conference (“Celebrating the Heart of Organic”) to be held February 13th and 14th on the campus of the University of Vermont in Burlington, VT.

Organized by NOFA Vermont’s Dairy and Livestock Technical Assistance Program and a number of organic dairy farmers, the organic dairy workshops, Getting Down To Business In A Down Economy: What is Working For Vermont’s Organic Dairy Farmers, will take place on Sunday, February 14th from 9am - 5 pm.

Workshops and roundtable discussions will be led by some of Vermont’s most innovative organic dairy producers and experienced dairy professionals. Topics include:

  • Improving the Bottom Line: What Works
  • Milk Quality - Making money with SCC under 150,000
  • Behavior-Based Grazing Management: Principles to Practices
  • Treating and Preventing Common Herd Health Issues
  • Balancing Diversification
  • Selling Raw Milk in Vermont -- Understanding the Regulations
  • Buy Less Energy, Increase Farm Cash-flow: Strategies for Reducing Farm Energy In-Puts
  • Transferring the Farm: Challenges of Farm Business and Farmland Transitions.

The Winter Conference’s keynote speaker on Sunday will be Jack Lazor of Butterworks Farm in Westfield, Vermont.

For more information about the NOFA Vermont Winter Conference, including advanced organic dairy workshops, visit NOFA Vermont’s webpage, www.nofavt.org, or contact NOFA Vermont at 802-434-4122, info@nofavt.org. If you have questions about the advanced organic dairy workshops or would like more information about them, contact Sam Fuller, Dairy and Livestock TA Program, sam@nofavt.org.

NOFA-NY’S 28TH ANNUAL ORGANIC
FARMING AND GARDENING CONFERENCE

Join us at NOFA-NY’s 28th Annual Organic Farming and Gardening Conference, taking place January 22-24, 2010 at the Saratoga Hilton Hotel & Conference Center in Saratoga Springs, NY where over 80 workshops, 3 keynote speeches, organic trade show, entertainment and local organic meals will be offered. Organic Dairy Highlights include Dr Richard J Holliday, DVM as the Guest Organic Dairy Speaker. Dr Holliday had a private mixed practice in northwest Missouri for 25 years, was employed as a Technical Services Veterinarian by Impro Products, Inc. for many years, and is currently the Senior Veterinary Consultant for Helfter Feeds. Dr. Holliday became certified as a Veterinary Acupuncturist in 1988 and has been actively involved in promoting organic agriculture and holistic veterinary medicine for over 40 years. His workshops include:

Cow Health and Disease: Back to the Basics, Saturday Jan 23rd at 9:30am
Applying the Basics to Improve Herd Health, Saturday Jan 23rd at 2:30pm, and
How to Read a Cow; Simplified Veterinary Acupuncture for the Dairyman, Saturday Jan 23rd at 4:15

Other Dairy Workshops include:

Johnes Disease from a Farmers’ Perspective, Saturday Jan 23rd at 8 am
Sally and Tom Brown are long time organic dairy farmers. In this workshop they will explore these questions about Johnes: Do you have it in your herd? Do you know what it is? What are the economic implications of not knowing the status of your herd? How do you follow organic guidelines for treatment?

Forage Production 201, Sunday Jan 24th at 8am
Producing forage and incorporating it into good rations should be based on solid information such as forage analysis. Join NRCS nutritionist and grazing expert Karen Hoffman and Jim Gardiner (Hidden Opportunities Farm) to learn about taking forage samples and why it is important for balancing your rations.

Cheesemaking: A Farmer’s Perspective, Sunday Jan 24th at 9:45 am
Thistle Hill Farm is a certified organic dairy farm located in North Pomfret, VT, owned and operated by John and Janine Putnam and their four children. Join the Putnams as they discuss balancing milking, cow care, and field work with cheesemaking and marketing.

Questions? Contact Greg Swartz, Conference Coordinator conference@nofany.org (570) 224-8515, or Register online: http://www.events.org/nofany-conference/cpage.aspx?e=21411. Walk – in Registrations are accepted.

WISCONSIN IN FEBRUARY?
Come to the MOSES Organic Farming Conference!

The MOSES Organic Farming Conference will take place Thursday, February 25 through Saturday February 27, 2010, with Organic University courses held from 10:00-5:30 on Thursday.

There will be much to interest organic dairy producers, or those thinking about transitioning their dairies to organic, at this year’s MOSES Organic Farming Conference (OFC). The day-long Organic University course entitled “Quality Forages and Dairy Rations” will provide an encompassing look at how to grow diverse and high-quality forages, as well as how to develop a balanced dairy ration. Focus will be placed on using small grains in the ration; a good alternative for farmers looking to move away from strictly corn or beans. The feeding of molasses and proper mineral supplementation will also be discussed.

Dairy nutritionist and president of Crystal Creek, Dan Leiterman, will lead up two dynamic OFC workshops: “Creative Ways to Improve Profitability on the Organic Dairy Farm,” which will explore many approaches producers can implement to increase their profitability in tough economic times, as well as “Parasite Control on Organic Livestock,” which will address the options available for controlling parasites as part of an organic system.

Organic Valley staff veterinarian Guy Jodarski will share his extensive knowledge with two practical dairy workshops at the conference. The workshop “Winter Management of Dairy Cattle” will cover out-wintering and the nutritional and physical needs of dairy cattle under this kind of management. Guy’s second workshop, “Dairy Young Stock Disease Prevention,” will discuss holistic approaches including: disease prevention, grazing management, grouping strategies, facilities as well as best management practices for raising healthy calves on organic dairy farms.

There will also be numerous workshops of relevance to organic and sustainable farmers, including those on creating healthy soils, the use of cover crops, weed control, crop rotations, field crop management, marketing, business issues and more. For more detail on the conference and Organic University classes, including in depth workshop descriptions and online registration, go to the MOSES website at www.mosesorganic.org or call the MOSES office at 715-778-5775 to have a flyer mailed.