DELHI, DELAWARE COUNTY, NY -- Unlike a farmer's work day, a farmer's education never ends. Learning and keeping up on the latest trends, science and break-throughs can be a year-round affair. To meet that yearning for learning, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County (CCE) and the Watershed Agricultural Council (Council) are hosting the Catskill Regional Dairy, Livestock and Dairy Conference from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 12 at Sanford Hall, SUNY Delhi.
"We're inviting regional farmers to get out of the barn, meet up with friends and learn about the most recent and relevant information in the areas of grazing, livestock and dairy improvements," noted Meghan Filbert, CCE Dairy/Livestock Educator and conference coordinator. "Anyone can attend and pre-registration by January 6 is highly recommended." Conference attendees can download the registration form from nycwatershed.org or call Kim Holden at (607) 865-7090, ext. 241.
Now in its ninth year, the Conference brings regional farmers, extension educators, university professors and industry experts together to share their knowledge on various topics at the centrally located SUNY-Delhi campus. "We're encouraging conference attendees to attend one of our Early Bird sessions this year, as we feel all farmers can benefit from knowing more about the morning's two key topics: grazing and disaster preparedness," Filbert continues. "Early morning risers won't be disappointed. Feeding livestock on pasture has its economical benefits as well as dietary fulfillment. And after this summer's flood event, everyone can use a refresher on preparing for the next disaster, be it natural or man-made.''
Jackson Wright, Dairy Management Specialist for Northwest New York Dairy, Field Crops and Livestock Team at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ontario County, will host the 10 a.m. workshop entitled Preparing the Farm for a Disaster. "Based on audience demand, we may offer this farm certification later in 2012," added Filbert. "The Conference workshop gives people the basics of farm crisis management and serves as a teaser to the in-depth, day-long workshop that Wright teaches." From vehicle accidents to collapsed barns, many farms are vulnerable and could be slow to recover from a natural or human-induced disaster. Wright will discuss ways for farmers to be prepared, to mitigate risk, and to bounce back from a disaster.
Also at 10 a.m., Dave Roberts, USDA NRCS grazing specialist, leads the discussion around Management Intensive Grazing Basics. Grazing has been the foundation of raising livestock for centuries, but with advances in tools, techniques and scientific understanding of the interaction between plant and animal, performance metrics have changed considerably in the last 20 years. Roberts will share his perspective on Management Intensive Grazing and offer his insight into both the concepts and tools of successful grass-based systems.
On conference day, registration opens at 9:45 a.m. with the 10 a.m. Early Bird sessions followed by three concurrent session tracks targeting dairy, livestock and grazing starting at 11 a.m. The Dairy Track offers calf disease diagnosis and treatment; high forage diets and corn silage processing; and a farmer panel on homegrown grain experience. In the Livestock Track, sessions include kosher processing and ethnic market approaches; raising organic meats; and practical management for small ruminants. The Grazing Track highlights expert perspectives on extending the grazing season; winter feeding components for grass-fed systems; and grazing heifers.
Dewey Hakes, financial consultant for New York FarmNet, headlines the luncheon of local foods prepared by CADI at SUNY-Delhi. Dewey answers the burning question: What does it take for a farm to thrive through increasingly volatile business cycles, threats of natural disasters, personal tragedy or hardship? FarmNet provides farm families with a network of information, contacts and services that are uniquely suited to the financial and personal challenges of agricultural business management. FarmNet covers every aspect of high-pressure decision-making from partnerships and transfers to stress management, family communication, and domestic concerns.
Pre-register for the Dairy, Livestock and Grazing Conference by January 6 and pay $25 which includes lunch and all conference materials. Late registrations will be accepted at the door for $35; lunch availability may be limited. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by calling Kim Holden at (607) 865-7090 by January 6, to ensure sufficient time to make arrangements. Requests received after this date will be met when possible.
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County provides equal program and employment opportunities. The Watershed Agricultural Council is an Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer and is funded by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, U.S. Forest Service, U.S.D.A. and other sources. For more information, visit www.nycwatershed.org.
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