University of Vermont

Organic Dairy Conference Features Diverse Slate of Speakers

Cows grazing lush green grass

Randolph Center--Talks by three nationally acclaimed scientists top the agenda of the 2014 Vermont Organic Dairy Producers Conference.

The theme of the March 5 conference is resiliency as a strategy for organic dairies to optimize and maintain soils and high quality forages. University of Vermont (UVM) Extension's Northwest Crops and Soils Program and NOFA-Vermont's Organic Dairy and Livestock Technical Assistance program will host the day-long conference at Vermont Technical College in Randolph Center.

The $25 per person fee covers lunch and all materials. Registrations are due by Feb. 26 and will be accepted online at or by mail. Checks should be made payable to University of Vermont and mailed to UVM Extension, attn: Organic Dairy Conference, 278 South Main St., Ste. 2, St. Albans, VT 05478.

To request a disability-related accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Deb Heleba at or Susan Brouillette at or (802) 524-6501 by Feb. 19.

Keynote speakers include Dr. Silvia Abel-Caines of Organic Valley/CROPP in La Farge, Wis., on high forage diets for optimal animal health and milk production; Dr. Fred Magdoff, UVM emeritus professor, on building farm resilience through soil health and crop diversification and Dr. Tom Kilcer, Advanced Ag Systems LLC in Kinderhook, N.Y., on wide-swath (hay in a day) haylage harvesting and other best practices for harvesting and storing hay.

Willie Gibson, a NOFA-Vermont dairy and livestock advisor, will lead a motivational exercise designed to help farmers learn how to cope with stress. Dr. Heather Darby, UVM Extension agronomist, speaking on key management strategies for high yields and quality forages, will be joined by a panel of organic dairy farmers who will discuss how they maintain soils and forage quality on their farms.

For more information, visit the conference web site at or contact Deb Heleba at