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Grazette Newsletter - February 2012


February 2012 Edition

February means winter weather, warm fires, and catching up on reading back issues of farm magazines. There are also many opportunities to get away from the farm to learn more about grazing, crops, or animal health and nutrition. Events with other farmers are also a great way to catch up with neighbors and talk about the weather – especially the weird one we’ve been having so far. Anybody who stockpiled grass this fall might still be able to graze some animals right now, which is also unusual. It will be interesting to see how both February and March turn out, and how early we will get to the grazing season this year!

New! We've added some of our past newsletters at the end of this page.

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

Farm Business Planning Course

When: Thursday, January 5th, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Where: Ithaca (Tompkins County)

In collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County and Alternatives Federal Credit Union’s Business CENTS Program, the Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming in Ithaca will be offering an intensive Farm Business Planning Course this winter. The class will cover all major aspects of the farm business start-up process including assessing your land, infrastructure and equipment needs; legal and regulatory issues; production planning; marketing; financial feasibility, budgets and record keeping; and more. The class will run for fourteen weeks, meeting every other Thursday evening from 6-9pm from January 5 through April 12. 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 whose stories illustrate the benefits of business planning and financial management skills. For more information and an application visit the Groundswell Center Web site.

2012 Regional Northern New York Beef 101 Day

When: Saturday, February 11th, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
Where: 911 Building, Malone (Franklin County)

This one-day program is for beginning beef producers from across the six northernmost counties of New York State (Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence). Instructors will cover the basics of production, herd and health management, feeding programs and marketing. Chateaugay veterinarian Dr. Bill Pfaff will discuss the basics of vaccinating cattle and working with a veterinarian. Rick Jackson from Merck Animal Health will cover deworming strategies. Adirondack Beef Company owner Steve Ledoux of Croghan will talk about marketing your farm and your beef products. The program is free with lunch provided by Merck Animal Health, but participants must preregister by Wednesday, February 8th with their local Cornell Cooperative Extension office: Clinton County: 518-561-7450, Essex County: 518-762-4810, Franklin County: 518-483-7403; Jefferson County: 315-788-8450; Lewis County: 315-376-5270; St. Lawrence County: 315-379-9192.

Southwestern New York Pasture Expo

When: Monday, February 20th, 10:30 am to 3:00 pm
Where: Randolph Fire Hall, 70 Main Street, Randolph (Chautauqua County)

Featured speakers are Wally, Jr. and Eric Sheffer, from Sheffer’s Grassland Dairy in Hoosick Falls, New York, who rotationally graze their seasonal dairy herd. The Sheffer’s will share their grazing experiences, including their management decisions to grow their herd, as well as discuss key financial parameters they use in successfully managing their grazing dairy. Other speakers will include Jim Youngers, dairy grazier from East Arcade, New York who will speak about his family’s rotational grazing system and group calf feeding program. Agribusiness exhibitors will be sharing their products and services, beginning at 10 am. The program is organized by Cornell Cooperative Extension - Chautauqua County with financial support from local agribusinesses and Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI). The fee is $15 for adults and $8 for students, which will include morning refreshments, a local catered lunch, and the program. Contact Lisa Kempisty, Cornell Cooperative Extension - Chautauqua County at 716-664-9502 extension 203 or email for more information.

Direct Marketing Grass Finished Beef: One Small Scale Approach

When: Monday, February 20th, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Where: Junius Fire Hall, 647 Dublin Road, Clyde (Wayne County)

Bill Hodge, Sustainable Genetics and Hodge Ranch will talk about what he’s learned (positive and negative) from 10 years of direct marketing beef & other sustainably raised meats (including pastured eggs). Cost is $10.00 per person. To register, call Cathy Wallace at 585-343-3040, extension 138. For more information, contact Nancy Glazier, 585-315-7746. Sponsored by NYS GLCI and Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Team.

Step it Up Winter Grazing Conference

When: Tuesday, February 21st, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
Where: BW’s Restaurant and Banquet Facility, 11070 Perry Road, Pavilion (Genesee County)

Joan Petzen, Farm Business Management Specialist will cover Managing Forage Inventory, Managing Your Shortfalls. Next up will be Bill Hodge will cover Sustainable Genetics: Breeding for Your Microclimate. Wally and Eric Sheffer from Sheffer’s Grassland Dairy in Hoosick Falls will talk about their farm and Roadmapping Your Farm’s Future. Nancy Glazier, Small Farms will highlight some Grass Management Tools for Dairy and Beef. The rest of the afternoon will be divided into breakout sessions for dairy and beef. Cost is $35 first person, $25 additional people from same farm. Registration deadline is February 13th. Call Cathy Wallace at 585-343-3040 extension 138 to register. Questions? Call Nancy Glazier at 585-315-7746. Sponsored by NYS GLCI, NESARE, and Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Team.

Vermont Organic Dairy Conference

When: Tuesday, February 21st, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Where: Red Schoolhouse, Vermont Technical College, Randolph Center, Vermont

Organic dairy farmers will learn about successful calf-raising strategies, grazing innovations and the latest organic dairy research. The keynote address will be given by Jon Bansen, a seasoned organic dairy farmer from a 200-head Jersey farm in Monmouth, Oregon. He will share his experiences with extending the grazing season and managing pasture under dry and wet grazing conditions. A panel of Vermont dairy farmers, led by NOFA-Vermont's Willie Gibson, will discuss their strategies, tips and tricks for successfully raising organic calves. Vermont and the Northeast have a long tradition of leading the nation with cutting edge research conducted by researchers who understand farmers' needs. This year conference attendees will learn about some of this innovative research on feed supplementation on organic dairy farms, pasture compaction and aeration strategies, mastitis management and analyses of Omega-3 and conjugated linoleic acids in forage and their influence on milk quality and greenhouse gas emissions. The fee is $20 per person and covers lunch and materials – due by February 10th. The brochure and online registration information is available at the University of Vermont Web site.

Farmers also may register by mail by sending a check, made payable to University of Vermont Extension, to Organic Dairy Conference, UVM Extension, 278 South Main Street, Suite 2, St. Albans, Vermont 05478. The conference is organized by University of Vermont (UVM) Extension's Northwest Crops and Soils Program and the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)-Vermont's Organic Dairy and Livestock Technical Assistance Program. For further information, email Deb Heleba or call Heather Darby at 802-524-6501, extension 437, or 800-639-2130 (Vermont calls only). To request a disability-related accommodation to participate, contact Deb or Heather by February 10th.

Northern New York Pasture Meetings

When: Wednesday through Saturday, February 22nd to 25th – times vary
Where: Canton (St. Lawrence County), Copenhagen (Jefferson County), Malone (Franklin County), and Plattsburgh (Clinton County), respectively

The Northern New York Cornell Cooperative Extension Team and the Adirondack North Country Association will present their annual NNY Pasture Meeting Series with guest speaker Dave Roberts, the USDA-NRCS State Grazing Lands Specialist in New York. Livestock and dairy producers can use the various grazing systems and techniques that Roberts will discuss for improving pastures, which, in turn, impacts production and farm profitability. A variety of speakers, including Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) educators and Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) staff at the various locations will discuss such topics as how to develop a farm pasture plan at no cost, grazing sheep and cattle together and one after the other, bale grazing, and how winter pasture management impacts forage quality, animal growth and weed control the following spring. For more information on times and exact locations, please contact one of the following county-based Cornell Cooperative Extension offices: St. Lawrence County: email or call 315-379-9192; Jefferson County: email or call 315-788-8450; Franklin County: email or call 518-483-7403; Clinton County: 518-561-7450.

Granite State Graziers 6th Annual Grazing Conference: Restoring Grazing Land

When: Saturday, February 25th, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm
Where: Holiday Inn, Main Street, Concord, New Hampshire

Featuring Kathy Voth of Livestock for Landscapes, who in 2004 developed a method for training cows to eat weeds in as little as 10 hours over 10 days, and will bring her experience to the conference to share with graziers here. Brett Chedzoy of Cornell University Cooperative Extension is a forester and owns and operates Angus Glen Farms, LLC with his wife Maria Jose near Watkins Glen, New York. The farm is a 250-acre grazing operation that includes 65 acres of silvopastures, and he will talk about the basic principles of silvopasturing and how to implement them on your farm. For more information, contact email Bill Fosher or call 603-399-9975. Check out the Graze New Hampshire Web site for full information and a downloadable brochure.

Small Farmers: Shape Your Future! 2012 Small Farms Summit

When: Wednesday, February 29th, 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
Where: Four locations around New York State: Voorheesville (Albany County), Canton (St. Lawrence County), Warsaw (Wyoming County) and Riverhead (Suffolk County)

The Summit is an interactive meeting with an opportunity for all participants to take part in lively discussion and provide important feedback, both locally, and across the state. A video connection will allow us to communicate across sites. At the 2012 Summit, participants will be asked to reflect on recent successes and identify new concerns and challenges affecting the growth of the small farm sector. We’ll be issuing a preliminary e-survey in early February to capture feedback from voices that cannot attend the Summit. In the morning session, we’ll discuss issues that emerged in the survey and generate additional ideas from participants. In the afternoon session, participants will work within their regional sites to prioritize areas of importance over the next five years. The Summit is free to attend and lunch will be provided. Farmer participation is especially encouraged but educators, agricultural service providers, policy makers, non-profit organizations, students and community members are all welcome. For hosts sites and registration information, please visit the Cornell Small Farms Program Web site, or contact us by email.

Advance Notice

Northwest Pennsylvania Grazing Conference – “The Nature of Grazing”

When: Thursday, March 22nd
Where: Zion Church, Clarion, Pennsylvania

This year’s conference will focus on the use of sound ecological principles of grazing management to improve soil health – “farming in nature’s image.” Sessions will also cover topics such as the importance of good planning and record keeping in grazing management as well as equine pasture management. The keynote speaker is Ray Archuleta, a 23 year veteran soil scientist with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Ray will talk about his passion – healthy soil – as the foundation of healthy pastures and healthy livestock. He is a Certified Professional Soil Scientist with the Soil Science Society of America. Early registration is $30 per person and includes a hot buffet lunch. Early registration must be postmarked by February 17th. Late registration is $50 and must be postmarked by March 7th. Mail the registration and fee payable to Headwaters Resources Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council, Attention: Brittany Dittemore, 109 North Brady Street. 2nd floor, DuBois, Pennsylvania 15801. Conference information can be downloaded from the Headwaters RC&D Web site or by calling 814-503-8653.


Pasture News

 Spring 2012 Online Courses for Beginning Farmers Open for Registration!

Winter is a great time for planning for your small farm future or taking courses to make your existing farm business even more successful. This spring we'll be offering 4 online courses - including a new Machinery and Equipment course - to help you continue your farming education. As always, our courses are taught by experienced Cooperative Extension educators, farmers, and other specialists. Courses run 5-8 weeks, cost $175, and include both real-time meetings (online webinars) and on-your-own time reading and activities. We do not offer any academic credit, but those who successfully complete a course will receive a certificate and are also eligible for Farm Service Agency (FSA) borrower training credit, which can improve your eligibility to receive a low-interest FSA loan. We have four great spring 2012 online courses that will help you build your farm business:

BF 102: Markets and Profits - Exploring the Feasibility of Your Farming Ideas
Have an idea for a farm enterprise but not sure if it’s feasible? This course will get you started exploring the potential markets and profitability of your ideas. Starts January 19, 2012.

BF 103: Taking Care of Business - Understanding the Business, Regulatory, and Tax Implications of Your Farm (designed to follow BF 101)
This is an intro-level course for aspiring or beginning farmers living and/or farming in NYS and seeking to learn about the commercial, legal and tax implications of farming. Starts March 2, 2012.

BF 105: Machinery and Equipment - Evaluating What's Right for Your Operation
Many a farm operation has been sunk by "shiny equipment syndrome"; in other words, purchasing too much brand new equipment. On the other end of the scale, many new farmers have burned out their bodies by not adequately powering their farms with machinery. This course will help you strike a happy balance, evaluating what equipment you really need for your scale of operation, whether to buy or make other arrangements, and how to keep your equipment running smoothly if you do purchase it. Starts March 5, 2012.

BF 122: Berry Production - Getting Started with Growing and Marketing
If you're exploring the idea of adding berries and bramble fruits to your farm, this course will help you consider all the aspects of this decision, from varieties and site selection all the way through profit potential and marketing. Starts February 28, 2012.

To learn more about each course, please visit Northeast Beginning Farmers Project Web site. From this site you can visit our Annual Course Calendar, learn more about our Instructors, see answers to Frequently Asked Questions, read details for each course, and even visit a sample online course.

Pasture Management Tips

Livestock producers that keep their animals outside during the winter months face the challenge of having an ample source of water for them to drink. Whether the livestock are feeding on stockpiled forage (pastures that have been intentionally saved to be grazed after the growing season) or are feeding hay bales in pastures, the water requirements for the livestock are similar. Livestock need water in some form every day or else their performance decreases.

Can snow be used as a source of water? Sheep ranchers in the arid Western states have been grazing sheep in the winter on desert pastures with snow as the only available water source for centuries. With cattle, they can be taught to meet their daily water requirements by eating snow also. Beef cattle research has demonstrated the cattle, once trained to eat snow, will lick powdery snow constantly all day and meet their daily water requirements. They do not prefer hard crusty snow as much and in mild winters such as this one, snow is not always available. So which is better for the livestock and production, water or snow?

First off, let’s us look at the energy requirements to convert snow to water. It takes 80 calories of energy to convert water in the solid state (snow) to a liquid. This energy has to come from somewhere, so the livestock need to eat more feed in order to convert the snow to water. Once the snow is melted, it still has to be warmed to body temperature requiring additional feed energy. When livestock drink water rather than eating snow, the energy the livestock use to heat the cold water to body temperature is similar. Also, when livestock drink water from a trough they need to expend energy walking to the trough, but tend to drink only once or twice a day in cold temperatures. As a result they will drink large quantities of water, drastically cooling down the rumen. This means feed digestion slows or stops until the rumen is warmed back up. As you can see there are pros and cons to both; livestock eating snow or drinking liquid water. This is a decision each livestock producer needs to weigh out and make an educated decision that fits their own livestock operation.

One last thing, especially during winter months, it is important for your bulls, rams and bucks to have access to plenty of water to help with the prevention of urinary-calculi. Urinary-calculi is commonly called water belly and results in blockage of the urinary track with bladder or kidney stones.

Contributed by Dave Roberts, USDA-NRCS State Grazing Specialist in New York


Want 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 10 days prior to the meeting date.

Past Newsletters

2012 January

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