Grazing conference tailored to dairies

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MOUNT HOPE, Ohio – The first North Central Ohio Grazing Conference, scheduled for Feb. 1 at the Mt. Hope Auction Barn, traces its roots to a series of summer meetings and pasture walks on area farms, according to Mike Gessel, a seasonal dairy producer from Wooster.

Gessel explained that after a meeting hosted by fellow grazier Lloyd Miller of Millersburg, several graziers continued to meet in small groups on a regular basis for pasture walks and to discuss various grazing topics. The groups also gave beginning graziers access to experienced graziers to serve as mentors as they learned how to use their pastures as a source of feed for their livestock.

Meeting their needs. The benefit to this format, Gessel said, is that the meetings were driven to meet the needs of the people grazing their livestock.

“Grazing is going to be one of the things that keeps the small family farm a family farm,” Gessel added.

During the meetings, members were polled as to whether they would be interested in a winter meeting to brush up on their grazing skills. Gessel and Miller, along with Eric Grim of New London and Ernest Martin of Shiloh, along with representatives from the Small Farm Institute and the Agroecosystem Management Project at Ohio State University’s OARDC made up the planning committee.

Featured presentations. The conference will feature Jerry Brunetti, founder and CEO of Agri-Dynamics; Vance Haugen, agricultural agent for Crawford County, Wis.; Kenneth King, a dairy farmer from Hutchinson, Kan.; and Bryan Petrucci, director of American Farmland Trust’s Farm Division.

Conference cost is $40 for the first person from each farm and $30 for each additional person and includes registration, lunch, breaks and trade show. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. There will also be an optional meal and round table discussion at Mrs. Yoder’s Kitchen following the conference for an additional $12 to give producers the chance to meet with the speakers for more discussion.

For more information contact Martin at 419-895-1182 or Miller at 330-674-4267.

Mt. Hope is located on State Route 241, north of Millersburg and south of Mt. Eaton.

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