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Upcoming Winter Conferences
In Northeast & Upper Midwest

This time of year brings us shorter days and (hopefully) some time to ruminate over the previous growing season and start to plan for the next. If a farmer is ever to leave the farm, wintertime is usually the time to get away – if only for a couple days. And what better place to vacation than to a conference where you can mingle with your peers, get inspired by new ideas, and connect with various resources/consultants that you have been meaning to contact for ages. In the November and January NODPA Newsletter we like to highlight some of the many conferences that are coming together. Some of these might be in your back yard, and others might be interesting enough to warrant a little traveling. If you have a conference that you attend or are planning to attend in the coming months, please tell us about it so that we can spread the word!

26th annual NOFA Mass Winter Conference
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Worcester State University, Worcester, MA

The 2013 NOFA Mass Winter Conference will be hosted at Worcester State University. Conference attendees register for a whole day of workshops, a keynote speech, over 75 exhibitors and vendors, a children’s conference and all-local organic meal catered by Worcester State University Dining Services.

The 2013 keynote speech will be given by Karen Washington, a New York City native who has been striving to make New York City a better place to live.

Workshops focus on a wide variety of topics including, but not limited to, farm and fiscal management, animal husbandry, vegetable and fruit production. One workshop of particular interest to dairy farmers is focused on Raw Milk Dairy Production. This session will be based on the recently published “Massachusetts Raw Milk Producers’ Handbook,” and will take participants step-by-step through the processes and regulations involved in producing, handling and selling raw milk to consumers in Massachusetts.

For more information: http://www.nofamass.org/
wc@nofamass.org or call 413-387-2316.

17th Annual VT Grazing & Livestock
Conference: ‘Global Grazing: Lessons Learned From Around the World’
Friday and Saturday, January 18 & 19, 2013, Lake Morey Resort, Fairlee, VT

The Vermont Grazing and Livestock Conference will be offering two day-long intensive workshops on Friday, and twenty four workshops on Saturday, January 19th for all types of livestock including a dedicated dairy track. The weekend will highlight local and organic foods, great company from over six states, and plenty of new ideas to take home. There will also be a kid’s conference for ages 6-12 on Saturday.

On Saturday, the conference will feature Keynote Speaker, Dr. Abdon Schmitt, professor at the University of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Dr. Schmitt teaches and researches topics that focus on agroecological systems; interconnecting ecosystem restoration, rural livelihoods and renewable agriculture. The conference will also feature many local and regional experts including sales coach Fred Ashforth, animal behavior expert Kathy Voth, nutritionist Jeff Mattocks, forage comparisons, research, and much more.

Contact conference coordinator Jenn Colby at jcolby@uvm.edu, (802) 656-0858 with any questions.

MOSES Organic Farming Conference
Thursday, Friday and Saturday, February 21 – 23, 2013 in LaCrosse, WI

The MOSES Conference draws more than 3,000 attendees to 70+ workshops with locally and internationally known presenters. Workshop categories include dairy, livestock, crops, soils, vegetables, fruits, marketing, finances and more.

The 2013 keynote speakers are award-winning filmmaker Jeremy Seifert, known for his recent documentary “Dive! Living Off America’s Waste,” and long-time organic activist Carmen Fernholz, owner of a 400-acre certified organic farm (A-Frame Farm, Minn.) and Organic Research Coordinator for the University of Minnesota.

The pre-conference MOSES Organic University, taking place on February 21st, includes ‘Breeding a High-Profit Herd’ with Gerald Fry; ‘Small-farm profitability’ with Josh Volk; ‘Increasing Crop Yields’ with Gary Zimmer and Jeff Moyer; and Value-Added Products’ with Jim Riddle and Carla Wright.

Details about the MOSES Organic University are online at www.mosesorganic.org/ou.html.

There will be a debate on the Organic Trade Association proposed mandated federal organic check-off program on Saturday the 22nd that will show the benefits and difficulties of establishing a multi-commodity federal program and the advantages of more regional models to support organic research and promtion. A sign up button is on the MOSES website homepage or sign up by calling the MOSES Organic Info Line: 715-778-5775. Learn more at www.mosesorganic.org.

33rd Annual Eco-Farm Conference:
‘Feed The World You Want To Live In’
Wed. – Sat., January 23-26, 2013
Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, CA

The Eco-Farm Conference offers more than sixty workshops featuring an array of educational sessions for farmers, ranchers, distributors, retailers, activists, consumers, students, and educators.

This year, activist and artist John Trudell will launch the opening plenary session, “Cultivating our Capacity to Feed the World.” Denise O’Brien, Iowa farmer and organizer will follow with Brian Halweil of the Worldwatch Institute and Edible Magazine. They will examine how we can create a food system where we restore the landscape, bolster rural economies, and actually nourish people. In addition to the plenary speakers, a variety of workshops will be led throughout the weekend by such ecological farming leaders as Dennis Klocek, Sandor Ellix Katz, and Penny Livingston-Stark, among others.

At a pre-conference session on January 22, The Ecological Farming Association (EFA) will be hosting a Butchery Skills Seminar with master butchers Rian Rinn of Wyeth Acres and Loren Ozki of Flea Street Café/CoolEatz.

To learn more: visit www.eco-farm.org, write info@eco-farm.org, or call 831.763.2111.

NOFA New York Winter Conference
Friday – Sunday, January 25-27, 2013
Saratoga Hilton and City Center, Saratoga Springs, NY

The weekend program will feature a multitude of workshops relevant to organic dairy farmers. Here is a preview of some of the many workshops to look forward to:

Farm Facility Improvements: Join farmers Vaughn Sherman, Paul Tillotson and Jason Karszes, Cornell University, and learn how to determine the best return on your investment.

Animal Processing for Organic Farmers: Dave Hardy of Organic Valley, Bill Eklund of Eklund Farms and Richard Beckwith of Hilltown Pork, Inc. will participate in round table discussion about processing options.

Principles of Grazing Livestock: Listen to Dave Roberts of NRCS as he explains techniques to improve pasture quality and forage quantities, enhancing desirable forage plants while decreasing weeds and other poorer quality forages.

Finding the Bottom Line: Hear Anne Phillips describe how Triple 3 Livestock uses a low grain diet to managing a seasonal herd.

Innovative Dairy Marketing: Milk Not Jails is a grassroots, statewide campaign for sustainable, regional and a dairy marketing and distribution company.

Grazing through Uncertainty: Good pasture management can determine livestock stocking rates, paddock residency periods and lbs. of forage produced but how do you manage when the forage is simply not there? Join Dave Roberts of NRCS and learn how to be prepared for the unexpected.

Breeding for Great Grazers: Join Paul and Phyllis VanAmburgh of Dharma Lea LLC. to learn how to develop a breeding program that focuses on pasture based genetics.

Cream of the Crop, No Kidding: Joyce Henion of Acorn Hill Farm will explain how she began processing goat milk in a certified home kitchen while establishing her market and building an on-farm creamery.

For more info: www.nofany.org, 585-271-1979 ext. 513, or email: conference@nofany.org