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Upcoming Winter Conferences
In Northeast & Upper Midwest, Part 2

Lisa McCrory, NODPA News Editor

From the Editor: As promised, below is a collection of upcoming conferences taking place February and March in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and New York. I hope that this is useful and encourages you to get out there, learn, share, network and plan for the coming growing season

PASA’s 22nd Annual Farming For the Future Conference
February 6-9, 2013
Penn Stater Conference Center in State College, PA
Conference theme: ‘Starting Fresh, Starting Local, Starting Now’

Over the past two decades, the Farming for the Future Conference has secured a reputation as a premiere gathering place for leaders in the global sustainable food movement. The 2013 conference is expected to attract more than 2,000 farmers, chefs, students, business leaders and others from over 30 U.S. states and several foreign nations. There will be fodder for Dairymen, Graziers and Small Ruminant Shepherds and more. The following conference presentations and pre-confrence workshops are only a few of the many offerings geared to the dairyman, the grazer and those interested in small ruminant care.

  • Abe Collins is committed to making topsoil through grazing and agricultural management and works to make connections between rural providers and urban beneficiaries, communicating an appreciation of the actual value of environmental services and benefits found in well-managed topsoil. Abe’s pre-conference track is designed to help grazers manage the most complex systems imaginable: microorganisms, plants and animals, soil and society. Abe will lead attendees through a day that will combine practical grazing and land use experience with functional lessons in land and water management, including the use of Keyline plowing, and in-depth aspects of soil building.
  • Giancalis Caldwell from Pholia Farm in Oregon will spend a whole day with cheesemakers in a pre-conference track that is focused on “Taking Your Cheesemaking to the Next Level”. The day will be built on the products and processes for the attending cheesemakers – and will include a tasting, evaluation and coaching on building the farmstead designer cheese story. The day will also include some serious discussion about biological monitoring, food safety plans and the finer points of buffering.

Other pre-conference tracks have Roman Stoltzfoos, Jeff Mattocks and Mary-Howell and Klaas Martens digging into the Alternatives to Feeding Corn and Soya (including fodder systems, small grains and feed formulations), and Susan Schoenian, Jeff Semler, Sandy Miller and the crew getting into the nitty-gritty of breeding and selecting small ruminant stock for parasite resilience. If those don’t pique your interest, Bill Day from the Pfeiffer Centre has a day for beginning beekeepers, organized around a year for the hive; Eliza MacLean and Chuck Talbott have an all pigs - on pasture and in the woods – day and Dave Mortenson, Doug Gurian-Sherman and their colleagues will appraise the data, research and potential problems around GM crops and stock.

In addition to keynote addresses by Ben Hewiit and Charles Eisenstein, the main conference will offer over a hundred workshops The roster of speakers is amazing and include: Jerry Brunetti, Eric Burkhart, Joan Norman, Troy Bishopp, Lee Reich, Brian Reasor, Brooks Miller, Byron Shelton, Mac Mead, Jack Algiere, Mike Brownback, Susan Beal, Melanie Dietrich Cochran and her mom, Sue, and Kim Miller.

Registration is available by going to: pasafarming.org/conference or you can write or call for a printed brochure: 814-349-9856.

Northeast Pasture Consortium Annual Meeting
February 7-8, 2013
Radisson Hotel in Manchester, NH

This two-day meeting will be filled with workshops, discussions, and speakers on topics ranging from the economics of confinement vs. grazing operations, bedded packs, current research, and much more. Pasture research coordination and facilitation is a big part of the program this year. This is a new addition that we want to become an annual event. Contact Jim Cropper for more information at jbcropper@yahoo.com. Phone: 336-855-7594

NH Grazing Conference Focuses on Economics of Pasture
February 9, 2013
Radisson Hotel in Manchester, NH

We’ve all heard the joke before: The farmer has just won the lottery, and reporters ask what he’s going to do with his windfall. His reply: “Reckon I’ll keep farming until it’s all gone.”
Profitability is central to sustainability, and the seventh annual Granite State Graziers conference focuses on topics that will help grass farmers improve their bottom lines.

“In planning this conference, we asked farmers for feedback about where their businesses could do better in terms of either generating revenue or reducing costs,” said Bill Fosher, conference coordinator and GSG board member. “We located speakers who could talk about some of the key areas, and have developed a program to try to address those concerns.”
Steve Taylor, New Hampshire’s retired commissioner of agriculture who also happens to be a dairy farmer and ag journalist, will kick off the day with a keynote address. Taylor is a student of his state’s farm economy both in the current day and through history, and he’ll provide us with historical perspective on the topic.

In the workshop sessions, the following topics will be covered:

  • Livestock health and the immune system
  • Alternative pasture crops and tillage systems
  • Pasture Economics
  • Pastured pork production
  • Grazing season extension and winter feeding strategies
  • Grazing management in drought
  • Soil Health for Graziers
  • Managing parasites in small ruminants

The conference is being held in conjunction with the New Hampshire Farm and Forest Exposition, and is supported by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Additional support comes from Organic Valley Cooperative. Registration is free with a $25 annual membership in Granite State Graziers (including those who join at the door) or $15 for non-members. Pre-registration is not required. Registration opens at 8 a.m., and the main session starts at 9 a.m.

A full program, including descriptions of each session and a schedule of events, is available on Granite State Graziers’ website, http://www.grazenh.com. For more information, contact Bill Fosher, news@grazenh.com or 603-399-9975

NOFA-NY’s 2nd Annual Organic Dairy and Field Crop Conference
March 1, 2013
Holiday Inn in Auburn, NY.

Featuring experienced organic keynote speaker: Jerry Brunetti, founder of Agri-Dynamics. Jerry will share his perspective on how we as organic dairy and field crop farmers can address the current challenges in agriculture. Learn how building soil health can help protect your farm with increased sustainability in your land, crops and livestock. Find ways to utilize warm season grasses, perennial polycultures, silvopasturing and sprouting for increased feed efficiency. Hear about new successes for capturing the retail market with third generation “co-ops” and raw milk cooperatives. Here is a preview of some of the many workshops to look forward to:
Transition to Organic Dairy Farm Management

Join Lisa Engelbert of NOFA-NY Certified Organic LLC, and Organic Dairy Farmers: Paul Tillotson of Cottonwood Dairy, Paul Knapp of Cobblestone Valley Enterprises LLC, Kevin Engelbert of Engelbert Farm and Ryan Murray of TBD for a half day intensive workshop focusing on the Transition to Organic Dairy Farm Management, including on-farm experiences, livestock management changes, crop, herd health, pasture systems and more.

Farm Transfer: What’s Right for Your Business
There is no time like the present to begin planning for your future! Join Ed Staehr director of NY FarmNet/FarmLink to learn how to plan for your Farm Transfer. Hear farm business model options, ways to transfer assets, and how to successfully transfer ownership of your operation.

Improving your Pasture Management Decision-Making with a Planned Grazing Chart
Join Troy Bishopp, the Grass Whisperer, as he describes how they use their daily grazing planning chart to maintain high quality pastures, improve fertility and biological life, take vacations, and keep more money in the checking account.

Sprouting Fodder for Feed
John Stoltzfus of B-A Blessing Farm and his wife, Tammy, have been farming together for 22 years, became certified organic in 2000. Four years ago, they began soaking grains they were feeding to their herd and researching ways to produce barley fodder. Currently they produce 600 to 650 pounds of fodder daily and feed their milking herd at a rate of 10 pounds per cow.

Annual Forages to Enhance and Extend the Grazing Season
This session will be broadcast live from our friends in Vermont, with thanks to eOrganic.info. A panel of Vermont farmers will share their experiences, facilitated by University of Vermont Extension agronomist Heather Darby.

Bio-Diversity in the Paddock: The Keystone of Farm Resilience
Perennial prairies once were hosts to hundreds of plant species that nurtured the largest grass fed beef herd in the world, the bison. Join Jerry Brunetti, founder of Agri-Dynamics, to learn how diversifying your paddock species can provide a natural pharmacy for your grazing herd.

Soil Sampling and Test Interpretation for Improved Crop Performance
CROPP Cooperative’s soil agronomist Mark Kopecky will explain how to properly sample soil, read, and understand the results so you can put that information to work in your crop and pasture fertility management plan. Bring in your soil test results and learn from Mark what might be the missing in the link to soil health and crop productivity.

Oats and Peas and Barley Grows: The Real Dirt on Filling the Grain Bin
Join Klaas Marten of Lakeview Organic and Troy Sherman of Jerry Dell Farms as they explain the key elements in high yield grain production on an organic farm. With changing weather patterns, drought, and increasing seed and input costs, attention to detail is critical. Fertility, seed, and weed control are what determine success.

Marketing: Discovering Value in Your Cereal Grains
Producing organic grains for markets that demand consistent quality comes naturally to veteran farmers Mary Howell Marten of Lakeview Organic and Joel Steigman of Small Valley Milling in Pa. Join them in this discussion on growing high value grains and what separates livestock feed from the value added grains we eat.

And be sure to attend the Pre-Conference Field Day, Cornell University, Ithaca NY on February 28th covering Organic Cereal Grains Seed Production and the NYS Certified Foundation Seed Program.A full day short course on producing and processing organic seed grade grain in New York State will be conducted at Cornell University on February 28th, 2013 from 10:00am until 4:00pm in Ithaca, New York.

For more program details visit their website at: www.nofany.org/dairyconference or contact NOFA-NY directly: 585-271-1979 email: bethany@nofany.org