cows in field

Field Days 2015

The 15th Annual NODPA Field Days
October 1 & 2, 2015

BW’s Restaurant and Banquet Facility
Davis Countryside Meadows, Pavilion, NY 14525

Organic Dairy -- Preparing for the Next Generation

Western New York will play host to the 15th Annual NODPA Field Days on October 1st and 2nd, in Pavilion NY, an active farming community south of Rochester, NY. This year, we tackle the critically important topic of how to attract and retain the next generation of organic dairy producers. With the average age of a US farmer creeping up to the late 50’s, it’s time to figure out how to adapt the farm to the changing needs of our children and grandchildren if we hope to keep organic dairy alive in the United States. We are hearing a lot from this next generation, with some saying that they just can’t farm 24/7 as their parents and grandparents have done, and are seeking new ways of getting the work done, and others are saying that the lifestyle of organic farming is very important to their young families. They want to be able to support themselves without having to rely on off-farm income, and they want to utilize new technology to make their farms operate efficiently, less labor-intensively, AND allowing for regular time off. The NODPA Field Days program will explore the current obstacles and opportunities for the next generation of organic dairy farmers, and will present success stories where family farms are adopting new and creative practices for the 21st century, and will hear from young farmers who will inform the discussion.

The next generation won’t be the only topic on the program; we will hear from a diverse group of national and regional leaders and educators who will share with producers and service providers their knowledge, ideas and business experiences that are relevant to the important topics facing organic dairy farm families, today. We will get an update on the grass-fed milk trend; have an extended, on-farm workshop on cow comfort; and will hear about robotic milking in the Netherlands, where it all began. We are excited to announce that Liana Hoodes, the founding director of the National Organic Coalition will be NODPA Field Days’ keynote speaker. She will share her experiences and observations about the future of the Organic brand, and following her presentation, everyone will have a chance to jump into the conversation during a discussion facilitated by Fay Benson, that we are calling Working Together for a Sustainable Organic Dairy Future.

This year, we wrap up Field Days with a special event. The New York Organic Dairy Initiative will host a cookout at the nearby Letchworth State Park, often called The Grand Canyon of the East, to conclude this year’s NODPA meeting. It’s a beautiful time of year to view the magnificent falls of the Genesee River.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

8:30 – 9:00 am Farm Tour registration.
Cottonwood Farms, The Tillotson Family Farm, 10770 Cook Road, Pavilion NY, 14525. Coffee and light refreshments will be available.

9:00 – 11:30 Farm Tour

Noon – 1:00 Field Days Registration and Lunch
BJ’s Restaurant and Banquet Facility, Davis Countryside Meadows, 11070 Perry Road, Pavilion NY 14525

1:00 – 2:30 Organic Dairy and Robotic Milking: a useful tool to balance a farmer’s life or an expensive toy?
Richard Kirshbergen, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, who recently spent time in the Netherlands studying robotic milking systems, will share his experiences and discuss the future of robotic milking in the US.

2:30 – 3:00 Milk Break

3:30 – 5:00 The Next Generation of Organic Dairy Farmers: What do ‘Millennials’ see as the future of farming?
A panel of young men and women who have chosen to farm will give their perspectives on farming in the future and why they’ve chosen farming as their career path.. Virginia Chamberlain, Alfred State University Farm Manager,, Stephen Gould, HAR-GO Farm, Pavilion, NY, Peter Martens, Lakeview Organic Grain, Penn Yan, NY, invited; moderated by Joan Petzen, Farm Business Management Specialist, Cornell Cooperative Extension.

5:00 – 6:00 Social Hour and Trade Show

6:00 – 7:00 Banquet Dinner and NODPA Annual Meeting

7:00 – 8:00 The Organic Brand: Where we’ve been and where we are going
Keynote speaker and recent National Organic Coalition Executive Director Liana Hoodes will share her experiences and thoughts about how the Organic industry is evolving, or not. Liana Hoodes has worked on organic and sustainable agriculture policy for over 20 years, most recently as the founding Director of the National Organic Coalition, which she left in January 2015. Currently, Liana is consulting and organizing to advance high-integrity organic as the alternative to the current United States food and agriculture system in the grassroots, regional, and federal arenas.

8:00 – 9:00 Working Together For a Sustainable Organic Dairy Future
A discussion facilitated by A. Fay Benson, Project Manager NY Organic Dairy Initiative, Cornell University Cooperative Extension, Cortland, NY

9:00 pm Meeting ends

Friday, October 2, 2015

6:30 – 9:00am Continental breakfast

7:00 – 9:00am Producer-only meeting
Henry Perkins, facilitator, Maine Organic Milk Producers
President and past NODPA president

9:00 – 9:45 Grass Milk
Checking in on the trend of grass-fed organic dairy and the ‘grass-milk’ market. Speakers to be announced

9:45 – 10:00 Milk Break

10:00 – 10:45 What’s New in Washington?
Q & A with Ed Maltby, NODPA Executive Director and Miles McEvoy, Deputy Administration, NOP, USDA-AMS (invited)

10:45 – 11:00 Travel to Cottonwood Farm, Pavilion

11:00 – 1:00pm Optimizing Cow Comfort in the Barn and throughout the Farm
Gerald R. Bertoldo, DVM, Dairy Management Specialist, NWNY Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Team, Cornell University/Pro-Dairy, will lead this on-farm workshop in which participants will identify key factors impacting cow comfort and strategies for optimizing cow comfort and health.

1:00 – NODPA Field Days Cookout
The New York Organic Dairy Initiative will host a cookout at Letchworth State Park to conclude this year’s NODPA meeting. Door Prize Drawing will take place at the cookout. It is a beautiful time of year to view the magnificent falls of the Genesee River.

Supporters & Sponsors of the 15th Annual NODPA Field Days