Since we cannot meet in person this winter, the Northeast Pasture Consortium has partnered with regional grazing organizations to provide a Winter Learning Series of free webinars on Wednesdays at 12:30pm, from February 3 to March 21. Registration is necessary to receive the Zoom link.

The annual NEPC business meeting will be after the February 24th seminar.

Topics

Feb 3, 12:30pm, Online: Silvopasture for Beef
Fay Benson
Presented by NEPC
The first session of the Northeast Pasture Consortium’s Virtual lunch time series will visit a Silvopasture system in Central New York. Research has shown that silvopasture can have double the global impact of managed grazing, on only a fifth of the land. Long-term storage of carbon in silvopasture soil is up to five times higher than managed grazing alone — not to mention the carbon stored in the biomass of the trees. Silvopasture is not the solution for all grazing land. In many cases, grasslands are too dry to support healthy tree growth . That is not the case here in the Northeast where our land was originally forest before the European settlers arrived.
Fay Benson will show the video of his visit to the beef operation of Brett Chedzoy, who is a forester with Cornell University Cooperative Extension in Schuyler County, New York. He works regionally on forestry, agroforestry and grazing education and his experiences with silvopasture span nearly 30 years. In addition, Brett and his family own & operate Angus Glen Farms, LLC in Watkins Glen, NY – a 500-acre beef cattle operation that extensively utilizes silvopasturing. Brett and Fay will also present on the technical aspect of how silvopasture has a major role to play in the new frontier of Carbon Farming.

Feb 10, 12:30pm, Online: Equine Grazing

Amanda Grey
Presented by NEPC
The 2nd past of our Winter Learning Series, The Equine Grazing Session, brought to you by the Northeast Pasture Consortium, will focus on pasture management and grazing strategies for equine facilities. The session will include virtual farm tours of Persimmon Tree Farm and Brooke Grove Farm, two equine facilities located in central Maryland. The virtual tours will be followed by an educational discussion on equine pasture management, including an overview of best management practices and strategies to keep your pastures healthy and productive.

Feb 17, 12:30pm, Online: Focus on Finishing
Ridge Shinn & Ben Notterman
Presented by Big Picture Beef
In the third installment of our Winter Learning Series Ben Notterman will describe his experience raising and finishing 100% grass-fed beef all year long in Vermont’s cold climate. In the winter he utilizes stored forage, but no grain. Because Ben excels at producing tasty beef even under these conditions, Ridge utilizes Ben’s skill as a finisher. Ridge aggregates young grass-fed cattle that have been raised at nearby farms according to the Big Picture Beef protocol, and Ben combines and fattens them along with the young stock that he has raised, creating a large herd. Ridge will explain how this model of aggregating young stock from a number of farms to be finished by a skilled grazier like Ben, has been key to the success of Ridge’s grass-fed beef company, Big Picture Beef.

Feb 24, 12:30pm, Online: Solar Array Grazing
Kimberly Hagen
Presented by NEPC
In our fourth Winter Learning Series, we will tackle the somewhat controversial topic of Solar panel arrays on agricultural land. Some feel it is an inappropriate use of farmland, and others contend it can fit well, providing the farm with multiple crops from the same parcel of land – electricity, meat from grazing animals, vegetables and/or pollinator-friendly plants. In this presentation we look at what’s involved in this multi-use of the land, what needs to be considered as the number of these enterprises continues to grow. The annual Northeast Pasture Consortium membership meeting will be held immediately after this educational session.

Mar 3, 12:30pm, Online: 2020 Grazing Season and Hello 2021!
Rick Kersbergen & Gabe Clark
Presented by MGFN
The 5th installment of the Winter Learning Series has Rick Kersbergen and Gabe Clark discussing the 2020 Grazing season and management options heading into 2021.

Mar 10, 12:30pm, Online: Livestock Handling

Elaina Enzien will present a Webinar on Going With The Flow: Low-Stress Livestock Handling Handling livestock can be stressful for both the human and the animal, and it doesn’t always go as we planned. There is ample opportunity for situations to turn for the worse and for us to be left scratching our heads wondering, where did we go wrong? How you handle your livestock has a direct impact on your production, and therefore your profit. In this session we will discuss the basic techniques behind low-stress livestock handling, a method used to improve the efficiency, welfare, and profitability of your livestock herd. Whether your farm is big or small, how we handle our livestock can make all the difference.

Mar 17, 12:30pm, Online: Grain-Free Dairy
Ben Gotschall
Presented by Wolfe’s Neck Center
Our 7th installment of our Winter Learning Series on Grain-Free Dairy. Ben Gotschall is the owner of Holt Creek Jerseys and the Dairy and Livestock Manager at Wolfe’s Neck Center in Freeport, Maine. He will discuss the challenges and opportunities of 100% grass-fed dairy production as well as share some lessons learned, mistakes made, and success stories from a lifetime of raising and grazing Jersey cattle on native rangeland and improved pastures.”

Mar 24, 12:30pm, Online: Soil Health Research
Leah Puro
Presented by Wolfe’s Neck Center
Our next to last Winter Learning Series brings Leah Puro from Wolfe’s Neck Center to speak about soil health. As a part of our mission to address the major global challenges brought on by climate change, on-farm research initiatives have gradually moved to the forefront of our operations. Through research, we can test out agriculture-based strategies to adapt to and be more resilient in the face of unpredictable weather patterns that are becoming more common. Our work can both inform future practices here at Wolfe’s Neck Center and other farms in the region. Leah will discuss the soil research at Wolfe’s Neck Center to understand the impacts of grazing and haying management practices on soil health. She will also discuss and present open source and free tools to easily learn about and assess your own soils in the field.

Mar 31, 12:30pm, Online: Ruminant Nutrition (not even 101!)
Elaina Enzien & Rick Kersbergen
Presented by GSG
In our final installment of the Winter Learning Series (but the first in a 4-part series of “Grazing Concepts for Better Farm Resilience” Elaine Enzien of the UNH Corporate Extension and Rick Kersbergen from the University of Maine talk the very basics of Ruminant Nutrition.