March 21, 2015, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Kennebec Valley Community College, Fairfield, Maine
The 11th Annual Grazing Conference of the Maine Grass Farmers Network (MFGN) will feature nationally recognized speakers as well as local and regional experts. This year the conference will address issues relevant to producers, with two keynote speakers.
A full schedule and link to registration can be found here.
Below is a summary of what each speaker will address:
Gabe Brown will talk about the economics of grass-based livestock systems, discussing his family’s transition from a conventional production model to a low-input grass-finishing model. He will share how he changed the “type” of cattle they raise in order to more efficiently convert available forage and how this pertains to lowering the wintering costs of his cow herd. Additionally he will discuss his grass-finished production model, including perennial forages and cover crops used. He will share his economic data from these practices and tell how his family stacks enterprises to add revenue streams.
Jason Rowntree, Michigan State assistant professor of beef cattle and forage utilization, will use carcass data to show how management decisions before slaughter affect beef quality. Rowntree is the faculty coordinator of Lake City Experiment Station, where research and Extension focus on forage utilization by grazing beef cattle, extending the grazing season and forage-finishing. The station also works to improve economics of small and medium-size beef producers through local and regional beef production and distribution system development.
Break-out sessions throughout the day will appeal to a wide range of interests. In “What does it mean to be Humane,” Dr. Donald Hoenig, retired Maine state veterinarian and current owner of MIM Consulting, will discuss farm animal welfare — who does the certification, what are the standards, voluntary vs. mandatory, what does the future hold and why should you care?
In “Interpreting a Feed Analysis,” Derek Hines, a dairy consultant with the Feed Commodities International (FCI) team and a graduate of Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in general agriculture, will tell how he provides his customers with nutritional and agronomic advice. He is a trusted adviser to Maine dairy producers and a valued part of the FCI team.
“Explanation of the Grass Fed Verification Program” will be presented by Steve Ross, manager of field operations, USDA, AMS, LPS, QAD Audit Services Branch. Ross is in charge of the new Grass Fed Small and Very Small verification program.