Grazette Newsletter - December 2012
The holiday season is upon us again, and pasture related event planners are giving farmers a break! We hope you and your family have a happy and healthy holiday month.
Please continue to send in notices of pasture walks and workshops by three days prior to the end of each month. The Grazette is distributed monthly.
Upcoming Pasture Workshops and Related Events
5th National Conference on Grazing
When: December 9th to 12th
Where: The Caribe Royale, Orlando, Florida
Hosted by the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative, the conference objective is “To Heighten Awareness of the Economic and Environmental Benefits of Grazing Lands”. The target audience includes producers, academics, consumers, government agency officials, conservationists, environmentalists, urban based resource interests, grazing land managers, landowners, and others interested in effective natural resources management.
The 5th National Conference on Grazing Lands (5NCGL) is designed to provide a forum for discussions and exchange of information, technology transfer, identification of research and program needs, marketing of products, services, and other benefits of grazing. Concurrent sessions are broken down into four “tracks” of western, central, and eastern grazing lands, as well as dairy grazing land management.
Come learn how sound, scientific technical assistance can help you improve your management systems and how you can increase public awareness of the economic and environmental benefits of grazing.
For more information and to register, visit the 5th National Conference on Grazing Lands Web page.
5th Anniversary Winter Green-Up Grazing Conference
When: January 25th and 26th, 2013
Where: The Century House, Latham (Albany County)
This conference promises some great speakers, including Jeremy Engh who owns and runs Lakota Ranch in Virginia where he is a Red Devon breeder and grass-finisher. He also runs the Lakota Bull Test, an all-forage/grazing test for all beef breed bulls that measures their performance in contemporary groups, while also conducting Breeding Soundness Exams and other pertinent pre-breeding season data collection.
Paul and Phyllis Van Amburgh, who own and operate Dharma Lea Farm in Sharon Springs, New York will discuss their approach to animal production on their certified organic, 100 percent grass-fed farm where they produce grass-fed beef alongside their year round grass-fed dairy.
Dr. tatiana Stanton, New York State’s Small Ruminant Specialist will talk about her initial research into applied pasture lambing and how the results compare to jug lambing. Her previous work with the Goats in the Woods Project has helped pave the way for the growing exploration and research into Silvopasturing here in the Northeast. Tatiana will talk about these and other matters relating specifically to the pasture rearing and finishing of goats and sheep. For more information please contact Gale Kohler at Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Albany County by phone at 518-765-3500, or you may e-mail Gale or Morgan Hartman.
Sponsored by New York State Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative, Hudson Mohawk Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council, and Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE).
2013 Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY) Winter Conference
When: January 25th to 27th, 2013
Where: Saratoga Hilton and City Center, Saratoga Springs
The theme of this year’s conference is “Resilience” – More than 1,300 sustainable farm and food experts and members of the public will exchange knowledge and help shape the future of New York State’s organic movement at the premier sustainable farming educational event in New York State. We will explore topics including urban food production, Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) labeling, farming with alternative energy sources, and improvements in organic farming practices from grains to apples to livestock during three days.
Members of the public, including consumers interested in food and farming issues, gardeners, farmers, policy makers, restaurant owners, and social service agency leaders are encouraged to attend the three-day event, with registration packages available for partial days as well as the entire event.
Farmer Scholarships Available: To help make this event more affordable for farmers, NOFA-NY will offer scholarships to beginning and experienced farmers. Scholarship applications (due December 3 by 12pm) and more details about the application process are available online. Please e-mail Rachel or call with questions at 585-271-1979, extension 511.
Early Bird Discount through December 11: To receive an Early-Bird Discount of $10 off regular registration prices, attendees must register by December 11 online or over the phone with Charlene at 585-271-1979, extension 515. Child care is available for children 3-5, and a children’s conference with special activities for young people is open for ages 6-13.
For more information, visit the NOFA-NY web site.
Pasture Management Tips
Learning from Drought – Part 2 of 2
Continued from the November issue of GLCI Grazette
The second consideration regards bolstering the current yield of the supply. Techniques vary by source and in effectiveness. Perhaps the supplies that comes to mind the quickest are spring developments. Tapping additional enduring seeps uphill even from a distance can make advantageous contributions. This might also help dike ponds water levels from dropping excessively. However, enlarging the drainage area of such ponds by constructing diversion ditches to capture & redirect more surface water should only be considered when working with knowledgeable, experienced, and qualified professional(s) having engineering background and ability to evaluate the existing structure and site conditions. If not done properly, catastrophic failure of the pond could result in loss of life and property damage during or even after a major storm event. For water wells, some drillers offer the service of “re-stimulating” the supply. Outcome of this technique can be erratic.
Conservation doesn’t just apply to energy consumption. This likewise is another important step to incorporate prior and certainly during droughts. Malfunctioning/faulty float valves that don’t shut off once the full level is reached in the water trough will not only waste a considerable amount of limited water, but contribute to creating a mud hole. Another related dilemma comes about when lightweight portable troughs are not set on relatively level spot so the full level reaches over the top edge & drools down the outside. Like a leaky faucet, you can loose a lot of water even over a seemingly short time this way. Pipeline connections can also be a potential loss point. Sometimes the fit is not entirely watertight (not enough pipe over barbed connector, insufficiently banded, etc.) or in some cases a complete separation has occurred creating unmistakable drops in pressure and flow further out in the distribution system. Monitoring for any significant changes in system characteristics and immediately determining the actual cause(s) can prevent further supply problems. For pumps driven by AC electric motors, new devices on the market called pump protectors can detect and shut down the system for various maladies, including dry well and rapid cycling, to prevent premature damage and failure of the motor. This offers reliable protection for such components for modest investment.
Contingency planning pays has a great payback when the day comes again that water is in short supply. Your plan need not be extensive or fancy. The main point is carefully and thoroughly thinking through all the different options available in practical terms and being able to refer to it when necessary. This should include preparation, prevention, and mitigation.
Contributed by Rob DeClue, Chenango County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and New York State Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (NYS-GLCI).
Groundswell Center, Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Tompkins, and Alternatives Federal Credit Union (FCU)
Team Up to Offer Winter Farm Business Planning Course for Beginning Farmers
In collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County and Alternatives Federal Credit Union’s Business CENTS Program, Groundswell will offer an intensive Farm Business Planning Course in the winter of 2013. The class covers all major aspects of the farm business start-up process, including:
assessing your resources
legal and regulatory issues
budgets and recordkeeping, and more
It is also appropriate for established farmers who want to improve their business planning and management skills.
Groundswell Farm Business Planning Course Dates
When: January 10 - March 14, 2013 every Thursday evening for ten weeks. Time: 6:00 - 9:00 PM
Where: Location: Ithaca
The course is designed for those who:
Have at least a year of hands-on farming experience, OR have completed Groundswell’s Sustainable Farming Certificate Program
Have a clear business concept and expect to get started within a year, or are in already in business
Can fully commit to an intensive ten-week course with substantial outside research and homework
The class will run for ten weeks, meeting every Thursday evening from 6-9pm from January 10 through March 14. Instructors are Monika Roth, Agriculture Program Leader and Matt LeRoux, Agriculture Marketing Specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, and Leslie Ackerman, Director of the Business CENTS Program of Alternatives Federal Credit Union, along with area farmers and business owners whose stories illustrate the benefits of business planning and financial management skills.
"This is a rigorous course for the serious farming entrepreneur,” says Joanna Green, Director of the Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming. “We are really pleased to be working with Monika, Matt and Leslie. They are very skilled teachers with a lot of practical knowledge to offer.”
Groundswell is committed to supporting a new generation of farmers that reflects the diversity of culture, color, and class in our community. Tuition for the class is on a sliding scale, from $120 – $400 depending on household income. It is NOT a requirement that you own land or have the financial resources to own land. This course will examine opportunities to lease land for farming in the Tompkins County area, and to secure financing through agricultural and commercial lenders or local “Slow Money” investors.
Farm Business Planning Course 2013 Class
Schedule and Topics
Orientation, Setting Your Goals - Week 1, January 10
Farm Business Basics - Week 2, January 17
Production Planning - Week 3, January 24
Marketing Basics & Strategy Development - Week 4, January 31
Accounting Basics & Financial Feasibility - Week 5, February 7
Financial Statements & Sources of Funds - Week 6, February 14
Mechanics of Marketing - Week 7, February 21
Loose Ends: Taxes, Legalities, and More - Week 8, February 28
Final Projects - Week 9, March 7
Final Projects - Week 10, March 14
Online applications are now available. If you have any questions, you may e-mail Groundswell or call 607-319-5095. Groundswell is an initiative of the EcoVillage at Ithaca Center for Sustainability Education, which is a Project of the not-for-profit Center for Transformative Action. Tax ID: 16-0990318
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Brought to you by the NYS Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative
The Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative is a grass-roots coalition of producers, agricultural industry, and conservation groups with an interest in the sound conservation of private grazing lands. The goal of this newsletter is to increase awareness of grazing events around New York and in neighboring states, as well as to provide information that is useful on the farm. For more information on GLCI, check out the national GLCI Web site. Information on the NYS-GLCI can be obtained from GLCI Coordinator Karen Hoffman at the e-mail address above.
For information on facilities or services, or to request sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids at meetings, please contact the individual listed for the event at least 10 days prior to the meeting date.
"Promoting Clean, Green, and Profitable Agriculture"
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