Start the New Year with the VT Organic Dairy Producer Workshop

028Organic dairy producers will learn about animal nutrition, herd health considerations, the latest agronomic research, and more at a day-long workshop on Jan. 13.

The Vermont Organic Dairy Producer Workshop will be held at the Red Schoolhouse on the Vermont Technical College (VTC) campus in Randolph Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration is due by Jan. 7. The fee is $20 per person and covers lunch and materials. To register, send a check, made payable to University of Vermont Extension, to Organic Dairy Workshop, UVM Extension, 278 S. Main St., Ste. 2, St. Albans, VT 05478. If you require accommodations to participate in this program, please call 524-6501 or (800) 639-2130 by Jan. 7. For more information, please see the workshop brochure at

The workshop will start with a presentation by Dr. Heather Darby, UVM Extension field crops and nutrient management specialist, who will describe results of the latest research conducted by her team, including organic forage studies, grains trials, and other projects. Dr. Kathy Soder, an animal scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit in Pennsylvania, will discuss developing low and no grain feed strategies that complement high quality homegrown forage production. She also will describe the effect of plant species diversity on intake, productivity, and grazing behavior.

A panel of veterinarians–Drs. William Barry of Brookfield, VTC’s Chris Dutton, and Hubert Karreman of Penn Dutch Cow Care, Lancaster, Pa.–will address herd health questions posed by participants. In addition, the workshop will include a live broadcast by Dr. Charles Benbrook on the Shades of Green Calculator, a tool that helps estimate environmental, animal health, production, and economic impacts of different dairy management practices. He also will highlight findings of a recent study of farms that have used the calculator. Benbrook, chief scientist with The Organic Center, a national organization providing scientific studies on organic farming, is currently an adjunct professor at Washington State University.

The workshop is sponsored by UVM Extension; the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont; Organic Valley, a Wisconsin-based organic farm cooperative; the USDA Risk Management Agency; Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education; and eOrganic, a web-based organic agriculture resource.

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