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Organic Dairy Conference Planned for March 9

RANDOLPH CENTER – Farmers who register for the 2023 Vermont Organic Dairy Producers Conference will learn about strategies to manage high feed costs, satellite imagery for better pasture management and research on bedding and mastitis, among other topics.

The eleventh annual conference will be held March 9 in Judd Hall on the Vermont Technical College campus in Randolph Center. It is sponsored by University of Vermont (UVM) Extension’s Northwest Crops and Soils Program.

The conference will open with a presentation by Dr. Greg Brickner, a staff veterinarian and grazing specialist for Organic Valley in Wisconsin. He will describe new satellite imagery technology that will allow graziers to predict pasture inventory weeks in advance and monitor plant health in paddocks.

Sarah Flack, a Vermont grazing consultant specializing in grass-based livestock farming systems, and Jen Miller, Farmer Services Director at NOFA-VT, will follow his talk with a discussion on key production and financial benchmarks. They will be joined by two organic dairy farmers, one organic and one grass-fed, who will discuss their experiences with the variables, considerations and management decisions that impact those benchmarks on their individual farms.

The morning program will conclude with updates on UVM research from Dr. Heather Darby, UVM Extension agronomist, and Sarah Ziegler, a UVM research specialist.

After lunch and time to visit with exhibitors, participants will hear from Bill Kipp about ways organic dairy producers can manage high feed costs in the coming year. Kipp is an independent dairy consultant from Middlebury with more than 40 years of experience consulting with conventional and organic dairy farmers about field nutrition and holistic farm management.

Dr. John Barlow’s talk will focus on his research on the impact the choice of housing and bedding systems have on mastitis risk among organic dairy cattle. The UVM animal science professor also will discuss what’s new in mastitis and mastitis control.

Byrony Sands, a postdoctoral research fellow at UVM, will share information on her ongoing research in Vermont and New York, which examines the impact of various parasite management strategies on the interactions between pests, parasites, beneficial insects and soil health in pasture ecosystems. The program will conclude with a talk by Brickner on major health challenges on pasture during the grazing season and solutions that fit organic standards.

The registration fee is $25 and includes lunch. Registrations will be accepted until March 6 at //go.uvm.edu/2023organicdairyconference. Anyone without internet access or with questions about registration, should call the UVM Non-Credit Registration Office at (802) 656-8407. To request a disability-related accommodation to participate, please contact UVM Student Accessibility Services at [email protected] or (802) 656-7753. If interested in becoming a conference sponsor or exhibitor, please register by February 17 at //go.uvm.edu/2023organicdairysponsor.

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