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Grazette Newsletter - October 2012

Web graphic: New York Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative - Grazette Newsletter

October 2012 Edition

On the farm, it always seems to rush by so quickly and then suddenly it’s time to think about fall harvest, transitioning to stored feeds, and getting ready for other fall and winter tasks. For some school children, however, the summer is just a little too long and they eagerly anticipate the fall and winter school activities by now. Perspectives definitely change through the years!

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.

Web image: Photo of a cow with a mouth full of grassUpcoming Pasture Workshops and Related Events

2012 Southwest Pennsylvania Project Grass Conference

Web link graphic: Southwest Project Grass logoWhen: Thursday and Friday, October 11th and 12th
Where: Kovalchick Complex and Indiana Fairgrounds, Indiana, Pennsylvania

The first day of the conference will be held at the Kovalchick Complex, and will feature breakout sessions on grass finishing and meat palatability, parasite control, transitioning to organic production, and more. Keynote speech by Dr. Temple Grandin, well-known animal behaviorist and author. The second day will be tours to local farms and hands-on demonstrations at the Indiana Fairgrounds.

For more information, e-mail Jim Resh, Indiana County Conservation District, or call 724-471-4751 extension 5. You can register online at the Southwest Project Grass Web site.


Growing Health 2012

Web link graphic: Growing Health 2012When: Tuesday and Wednesday, October 16th and 17th
Where: Riverwalk Hotel and Conference Center, Binghamton (Broome County)

What do farms, food, and health have in common? More than you might think! Back for the fourth time is Growing Health 2012 - Cultivating Common Ground: Farms, Food & Health.

There is an important new twist this year: Growing Health 2012 will be a two-day event. On Tuesday, October 16th the event will debut a statewide meeting entitled: the “New York State Healthy Farms, Healthy People Meeting” to consider how agriculture in New York and the Northeast can improve the health of its residents. Participants will register by New York State region and focus on four critical issues which impact the effectiveness of accessing New York State food products to maximize nutrition and health.

Topics include:

  • NYS Agriculture Capacity and Infrastructure;
  • Individual and Consumer Access to NYS Food Products;
  • Business and Institutional Access to NYS Food Products;
  • NYS Food Coalitions, Networks, and Collaborations

The day of learning and discussion will be crowned by the well-known evening tasting event featuring locally grown and produced food and beverages.

Web link graphic: Rural Health Network of South Central New YorkOn Wednesday, October 17th, our morning kicks off with walking tours of the Binghamton Urban Farm or Binghamton Greenway. Six tracks of two sessions each will be offered throughout the day. A sampling of our topics:

  • “Local Foods on The Menu” with presenters Heather Birdsall, and Will Owen;
  • “Milk and Dairy Products in a Healthy Diet: Myth & Reality” with presenter Dr. Adam Lock;
  • “Why does the FDA Tell Me One Thing About Overuse of Antibiotics as a Farmer and Another as a Physician?” with presenters Dr. Ken Jaffe and Dr. Helene Marquis;
  • “Measuring Farmers Markets: Where Community Development Meets Public Health” with presenter Richard McCarthy;
  • “Value Added Agricultural Economic Development” with presenter Patrick Hooker

Attend the debut statewide meeting, the evening local foods tasting, the conference, or all three events for dynamic learning, tasting and discussion. Call 888.603.5973 or stay tuned to the Rural Health Network Web site for more details. Conference registration available online at the Growing Health 2012 Web site.  Space is limited – register before September 30th and take advantage of package discounts.

2012 Cornell Sheep and Goat Symposium

Web image: Photo of sheep grazingWhen: Friday and Saturday, October 26th and 27th
Where: Cornell Sheep Farm, Harford (Friday), and Morrison Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca (Saturday) / A “Pre-symposium Hands-on Activities” at the Cornell Sheep Farm from 11 am to 5 pm on Friday

Prospective or novice goat and sheep owners will learn how to trim hooves, give vaccinations, eartag and tattoo. They’ll also practice their skills at body condition and FAMACHA scoring. We’ll have goats and sheep for each group of farmers to work with, respectively. We’ll also cover general management, choosing a breed, and evaluating animals for soundness and productivity. Later in the day we’ll work on hay evaluation, pasture management, and tour the sheep farm.

Starting at 2:30 pm on Friday, more experienced farmers will have an opportunity to work with Dr. Mary Smith, DVM doing field necropsies and learning which photos to take if your vet is assisting you over the internet with the necropsy. This event will also take place at the Cornell Sheep Farm.

Saturday we will move over to Morrison Hall on the Cornell Campus, Ithaca, New York. Dr. Steve Hart from the American Institute for Goat Research is our guest speaker and will discuss “what’s new in parasite management” as well as leading several other workshops and a FAMACHA certification Program. We’ll have workshops on dairy goats and sheep, as well as on meat enterprises and fiber production. Speakers will include researchers and grazing consultants as well as several New York farmers and extension educators with lots of hands-on experience raising small ruminants.

Information about the symposium schedule, registration fees, and housing is available at the Cornell University Sheep Program Web page, and the Cornell University Animal Science Department Goat Management Web page.

Web link graphic: Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative

Advance Notice

5th National Conference on Grazing Lands

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. Web link graphic: Fifth National Conference on Grazing Lands

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.

Early bird, discounted registration ends on October 15th. 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)

Mark your calendars now for this conference that promises to be packed full of information and great speakers. One will be Steve Kenyon, a Holistic Management Educator/practitioner from Saskatchewan, Canada will discuss, in two separate sessions, the business and the practice of custom grazing cattle for profit. Additionally, Steve will touch upon winter management techniques that will have direct application to those of us in the cold Northeast.

Web link graphic: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Albany CountyAlso on the agenda is Jerry Brunetti, founder of Agri-Dynamics and a dairy nutritionist and expert in human nutrition too, is going to discuss these two intimately related topics of animal and human health. If we are what we eat, then we are what our animals eat. The more diverse the plants available to our dairy, beef, and small ruminant animals, the healthier they are and by extension the more healthy we can be by only consuming those grazed/grass-fed animals or their dairy products. Jerry will explain in amazing but accessible detail how these plant/animal/human interactions have direct and measurable impact on our health.

For more information please e-mail Gale Kohler at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Albany County or call 518-765-3500 or e-mail or Morgan Hartman.

Pasture News

Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI) Writing Contest Winner Announced

Congratulations to Lauren DeLorenzo, who won the New York State GLCI Steering Committee’s writing contest! Lauren wrote about grazing at Cross Island Farms, a certified organic farm on Wellesley Island where she “woofed” (a.k.a. volunteered) for a summer through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF). The farm is owned by Dani Baker and David Belding – be sure to look for the article in an upcoming issue of Cornell’s Small Farms Quarterly!

If you are in need of grazing-related articles for an Extension newsletter, Web site, or magazine, please e-mail Karen Hoffman for articles submitted in previous writing contests. Once the winning articles are published in Small Farms Quarterly, they are made available for reprinting!

Web image: Photo of an upstate New York farmMeasuring the Impact of Pasture for New York’s Dairy Farms

Since 1996 The Charles S. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has collected and published business summaries for 30-50 NY dairy farmers that make use of Intensive Grazing on their farms. The following are some of the excerpts from these Dairy Farm Business Summaries (DFBS).

 Intensive Grazing vs. Confinement Farms: Average 2006-2010*
Item Grazing Farms Confinement Farms  
 Number of cows 123.2 126 *This data was compiled from annual averages reported in the year-appropriate Dairy Farm Business Summary and Analysis (DFBS). The data set for each year may include different farms, as the farmers who return surveys vary.
 Milk sold per cow 16,278 pounds 20,875 pounds
 Operating cost per hundred weight (cwt) $12.82 $13.71
 Total cost per cwt $19.04 $19.07
 Net farm income per cow $508 $922
 Percent return on equity 3.5 percent 0.82 percent
 Purchased feed and crop expense per cwt $6.70 $6.50
 Veterinary and medicine expense per cow $76 $119
 Machinery cost per cow $635 $764




One of the biggest challenges confinement dairies face when they begin the transition to a pasture based dairy is the probable drop in milk production. For years there has been an unstated link between milk production and profitability. Many dairies will give up on the transition when the level of milk in the bulk tank starts to drop. For those that complete the transition and who have kept good records, they find that there is usually an economic return from pasture, (as indicated by the above chart). Profits are not the only benefits that New York dairy farmers have discovered by converting to a pasture based system. The Grazing-DFBS asks each year “Has the adoption of grazing impacted your family’s’ quality of life?” The respondents have answered positively 80% of the time. Some of the other comments are:

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Reduced chore time
  • Healthier cows
  • More opportunity to involve the children
  • Positive comments from neighbors and tourists

For more information on or to participate in the Cornell Dairy Farm Business Summary, visit the Cornell University Dairy Farm Business Summary and Analysis Web page, e-mail Linda Putnam, or call her at 607-255-8429, or contact your local Cornell Cooperative Extension farm management educator.

Copies of the summaries for grazing and organic dairy farms can be ordered at the Cornell University Extension and Outreach Publications Web page.

Provided by A. Fay Benson, Small Dairy Educator, Cornell Cooperative Extension SCNY Dairy and Field Crops Program


Web link graphic: Graze New YorkWant to submit an event? Interested in subscribing? Simply send an e-mail to Karen Hoffman with your event information, or with the subject line of "subscribe" to be added to the distribution list. If submitting an event listing, please submit it three days before the end of the month prior to the date scheduled, as this newsletter will only be generated at the beginning of the month. Not interested? You may also "unsubscribe" by sending an e-mail to Karen Hoffman, with "unsubscribe" in the subject line.

Brought to you by the New York State 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.

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 ten days prior to the meeting date.

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