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June is National Dairy Month

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This article comes from the NOFA/Massachusetts 2020 June Issue Newsletter

By Christy Bassett, NOFA/Mass Dairy Program Coordinator

In celebration of the Massachusetts dairy farmers who dedicate their early mornings to milking, spend the hottest days of the year in the hay field, and slip their mud boots on at midnight to deliver new calves, we’d like to thank them for their tireless efforts. 

If you have cow fever too, and are thinking about improving upon your existing dairy operation, trying your hand at cheesemaking, or are simply curious about what our local dairy farmers are doing to care for the earth while feeding our community, we have some exciting educational opportunities coming up for you. 

Due to COVID-19, all of our upcoming events are virtual.  Join us from the comfort of your own home to learn from these experts.  Long-term access to workshop recordings is also included with event registration.  Scholarships available, please select scholarship when registering if you are experiencing financial hardship. 

Online Educational Events 

Making Farmstead Cheeses at Upinngil Farm 

Thursday June 11, 2020 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm 

ONLINE 

NOFA Members: $12/ Non-members: $15 (Scholarships Available) 

Join NOFA/Mass and Upinngil Farm for an online event, the first of five virtual events focusing on improving your pastures and products with intensive grazing practices. We will learn from Cliff Hatch, veteran farmer and cheese artisan, as he guides us through the process of making farmstead cheeses. Participants will learn to select the right quality milk, proper handling practices and deciding which culture to use as a starter. Along the way, we’ll talk about the process and history of cheese making and how different cheeses are made. Learn more about the way that seasons, forage and feed quality influence the taste of pastured milk, as well as details about herd selection and grazing practices. 

Register here 

Growing Quality Feed for Dairy Cattle Through Increased Soil Health

Tuesday June 16, 2020 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm 

ONLINE 

Free 

Growing quality cattle feed from native Massachusetts soils can be challenging.  But there are several tricks that you can employ to increase the health of your soil naturally, all while keeping cattle on the land and producing quality milk for people.  Join NOFA/Mass for this informal panel discussion with Bob Richardson of Rocky Acres Farm, Warren, MA and Kate Parsons of NRCS. 

Register here 

Pasture Management and Silvopasture at Square Roots Farm 

Thursday June 18, 2020 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm 

ONLINE 

NOFA Members: $12/ Non-members: $15 (Scholarships Available) 

Join NOFA/Mass and Michael Gallagher of Square Roots Farm to explore his intensively managed livestock systems. By rotating dense herds through temporary paddocks within a pasture, his livestock eat a variety of forage, are more robust, and will sequester considerable amounts of carbon in the soil. Square Roots Farm comprises about 185 acres of hilly fields and forest in Lanesborough, Massachusetts. They raise 1000 laying hens, 4000 meat birds, 30 cattle, 12-24 pigs, turkeys and a diversity of vegetables for their CSA customers and market. Michael will answer many questions and we will learn about the fencing and shelters they use to keep their flocks and herds moving over the landscape, grazing density and practices. Connor Stedman will explain the principles and practices of further developing pastures into silvopasture systems through functional tree planting here in New England.  Then we will use Square Roots Farm to provide context in a discussion about specific practices and tree species that can add additional value to a diversified grazing system. 

Register here 

Rotational Grazing at Sky View Farm: Meat CSA and Small-Scale Dairy 

Thursday June 25, 2020 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm 

ONLINE 

NOFA Members: $12/ Non-members: $15 (Scholarship Available) 

Are you looking to improve your pasture management and learn more about rotational grazing?  Join NOFA/Mass and Sky View Farm for this online event and discussion of how rotational grazing provides their livestock with healthy forage while minimizing inputs and improving soil health. Rotational grazing is a system that mimics the ecology of natural grasslands. By rotating densely stocked herds through fenced-off portions of your pastures, your cattle will eat a variety of forage, gain more weight faster, and sequester considerable amounts of carbon in the soil. During this event attendees talk about pasture reclamation with Will and Amelia, discuss fencing systems, stocking density, and grazing plans.  We will speak in depth about the process of adding a small-scale dairy into their house. 

Register here 

Management Intensive Grazing at Cricket Creek Dairy 

Thursday July 2, 2020 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm 

ONLINE 

NOFA Members: $12/ Non-members: $15 (Scholarship Available) 

Cricket Creek Farm is a small grass-based cow dairy producing a variety of products including raw-milk, grass-fed meat and seven varieties of artisanal farmstead cheeses.  They use high density groups of cows rotated through temporary paddocks within their pastures, allowing for the most efficient use of available forage and maximizing the benefit to livestock and soil. Topher Sabot, Owner and Manager, will answer questions about how they use a combination of high-tech and low-tech fencing to manage the cows and maximize efficiency. We will discuss grazing density and practices that provide superior nourishment for the animals while building nutrient rich and microbially diverse soil.  We will have a conversation about the fine points of producing dairy on a primarily grass-fed system. 

Register here 

More Recent Dairy-Related Content from NOFA/Mass

Articles: 

When Waste is not Wasted: Dairy Farmers Leading the Way on Responsible Manure Management 

Massachusetts Dairy Farmer Will Rogers Uses Regenerative Farming Practices to Enhance Soil Health 

Finding Your Way in the Modern Dairy Market with Pam and Ray Robinson of Robinson Farm 

Audio Recordings: 

Producing Very Low Risk Raw Milk for Human Consumption (Intermediate) 
Presenter: Mark Mcafee: Founder of the Raw Milk Institute and also the CEO of Organic Pastures Dairy. 

Silvopasture: Key Climate Adaptation Strategy for the Northeast (All Levels) 
Presenter: Connor Stedman: Lead Designer & Ecologist, Appleseed Permaculture. 

Podcast Season 3. Ep 2. Cows we loved! 

Presenter: Sarah Flack: Author of The Art and Science of Grazing, and Organic Dairy Production and is a nationally known speaker and consultant on grazing and organic livestock. 

Video Recordings: 

Grazing for Health: Creating Nutrient Dense Animal Foods From Soil to Milk 

Presenters: Jordan Schmidt: Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Sarah Chase: Owner of Chaseholm Farm 

Grass Based Livestock Management- How to Manage Pastures to Improve Soil Health and Plant Productivity 

Presenter: Sarah Flack: Author of The Art and Science of Grazing, and Organic Dairy Production and is a nationally known speaker and consultant on grazing and organic livestock. 

Other Resources: 

Massachusetts Raw Milk Network 

 

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