Thursday, April 14, 2016

Workshops On Grazing Begin April 21

SUNY Cobleskill, in collaboration with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, is offering a series of four grazing workshops covering vital topics in pasture management, grazing management, animal nutrition, and soil health beginning April 21.

The workshops aim to help local livestock producers — whether small-scale mixed herd farmer, dairy manager, or beef herd owner — learn more about rotational grazing opportunities. The workshops are free and open to the public. 

Two will be evening sessions and two will be daylong events with a field component.

The first workshop will feature a lecture by Dave Roberts, state grasslands specialist for New York with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Roberts leads the agency at the state level in planning and implementing pasture management practices through improving forage quality and production, increasing livestock performance and soil health while keeping farms sustainable and protecting our resources and environment. 

He is part of regional and national teams to improve grazing practices around the country on both pastureland and rangelands. He also travels overseas on volunteer assignments with nonprofit agencies.

The workshops are funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The first workshop will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. April 21 at SUNY Cobleskill’s Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Room 110.

SUNY Cobleskill is also developing rotational grazing demonstration plots to serve as models for those who want to adopt the practice on their own farms. The grazing systems will include cows, horses, sheep and goats, and will be developed with the aid of SUNY Cobleskill students. 

In addition to serving as models for farmers, the plots will provide students with hands-on experience in pasture-based animal production. Students will also help farmers develop their own rotational grazing plans.

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