Even in these challenging times (or maybe especially in these challenging times), it is good to gather in whatever ways we can to share knowledge, build connection, and envision a future of thriving for people, communities and natural systems.

That's where our annual Vermont Grazing & Livestock Conference comes in, and even though it's going to look different this year, it will still be one of the largest gatherings of livestock farmers in our region.  Taking place from January 14-16, it features real-time conversations about new research, emerging opportunities, creative ways to address structural challenges in the farming sector, and lots of chances to interact with farmer peers, technical advisors and presenters and other experts. (And folks who register will have access to all content until July 2021, giving plenty of time to catch everything.)

Jenn Colby, Colene Reed and Meghan Sheradin recorded a quick conversation about what they're especially looking forward to and to offer some tips for those interested in attending.

Tip 1
Check out the online platform Whova, which is the online conference platform we'll be using.  It's got some great ways to have conversations and find others interested in your topic areas.  (It may not be the buffet line at Lake Morey, but we know that there will still be some great interactions taking place!)  You can learn a little more in advance in the tutorial they've put together.

Tip 2

Give yourself a chance to watch, read and peruse speakers' material ahead of time.  Get a look at the conference agenda and decide what you're going to.  You might want to take a look at your soil test results in preparation for Laura Johnson & Maggie Borders's session on Fri. 1/15, or watch Rick Kersbergen's recorded video on forage analysis, listen to Nicole Masters' talk on understanding soil in advance of her live conversation with our UVM Plant & Soil Science colleague Deb Neher, or watch Jonathan Lundgren's video on Ecology as the Exoskeleton of Regenerative Agriculture in advance of his conversation with UVM Plant & Soil Science Chair Ernesto Méndez. (There's lots more to choose from too.)

Tip 3
Come prepared to ask questions and engage!  Whether or not you're able to do any specific preparation in advance, the conference is an opportunity to both learn and celebrate.  Please bring your own observations, questions and plans.

Here's to a great conference to kick off a great 2021 growing and grazing season, in all the ways that matter most.  See you online!


Cheryl Herrick