Truxton Community Center, Truxton, NY
Resilience: perhaps the best word to describe farmers. These days, with so many unpredictable patterns — be it weather, global competition, new technology or milk supply — organic dairy farmers need to be more resilient than ever. The 17th Annual NODPA Field Days program will spotlight education and strategies so organic dairy farm families will be well positioned to embrace these challenges. Whether it’s preparing for the health of your farm’s soil, the infrastructure changes at the farm, or the diversification of your crops to manage unpredictable weather patterns, we will be addressing these topics and much more.
Reflecting the urgency of the topics being explored in the program, we have an amazing line up of nationally and internationally recognized speakers who are coming to share their expertise. Here’s a preview of the workshop topics and the excellent speaker line-up:
Neal Kinsey, renowned expert on soil fertility management, will present practical strategies for ensuring that you keep your soil healthy and fertile, especially in light of unpredictable weather patterns.
Jack Rodenburg, founder of Dairy Logix, Ontario and our keynote speaker, will be sharing his expertise in two areas. He specializes in dairy systems design and will address critical elements to consider when designing or updating your dairy infrastructure. As our keynote speaker, Jack, a certified “CowSignals” trainer and coauthor of four CowSignals books, will engage the audience in a lively, interactive presentation on CowSignals, a program designed to teach farmers and others to really understand what their cows are communicating by ‘reading’ their signals, and will offer strategies for utilizing this information to improve cow comfort, productivity and your farm’s infrastructure.
Dr. David Wolfe, Professor of Plant and Soil Ecology and Chair of the Climate Change Consortium, Cornell University, who’s professional focus is on the impact of climate change on agriculture, will focus on recent shifts in weather patterns and climate change projections and then identify the opportunities and challenges for dairy and associated crop production.
Sarah Flack, a consultant and educator well known to organic dairy farmers across the country, specializes in providing practical information on grass based and organic livestock production to farmers, organizations, institutions and individuals. She will offer strategies for making well-informed and financially sound decisions on major farm management changes, such as whether a robotic milking system fits into your farming and grazing system, and if your farm is suitable to convert to an all grass-based system.
In addition to a very timely, informative educational program, there will be two farm tours. This year we are adding a pre-conference farm tour on Thursday morning at the Casey Farm, Apulia Station, NY that is owned and operated by Joanne and Bill Casey. Casey Farm is an organic dairy that has diversified their income stream by adding a pick-your-own berry operation. The Friday afternoon Field Days Farm Tour will be at Twin Oaks Dairy, owned and operated by Kathie and Kirk Arnold. Attendees will have the opportunity to tour the Arnold’s new dairy barn, and benefit from Dairy Logix founder Jack Rodenburg’s expertise in barn design (Jack worked with Kathie and Kirk in their new barn’s design) during the tour.
The NODPA Field Days meeting will take place at the Truxton, NY Community Center and will include a full trade show, plenty of delicious local organic food, and time to connect with both old and new friends. We will of course have the producer only meeting on the Friday morning to commiserate over the dismal state of organic dairy, the deficiencies of the NOP and what the future may hold. We hope you will be able to join this very special NODPA Field Days.
There is free registration for producers and there’s plenty of space but we need to know you are going to attend. Register online, mail in registrations, or let us know you are attending. To register online and get more information, go to http://nodpa.com/fielddays_registration_2017.shtml, or call Nora Owens, Field Days Coordinator, at 413-772-0444.