I went to the Catskill Regional Dairy, Livestock and Grazing Conference in Delaware County yesterday. This year’s event was the biggest ever - and it sold out!
Some of my thoughts on the conference:
- I sat in on Dr. Michael Baker of Cornell university talk about his grass/grain feeding studies. He is the Beef Cattle Extension Specialist for New York State. He discussed a feeding trial he has been conducting with grass and corn finishing and winter feeding.
- One of the interesting findings was that late weaned calves benefit a grassfed producer(we do not wean our calves and let them be on their mothers for as long as they need)
- At lunch the meal was total sourced from local products. They even roasted our pork loin!
- SUNY Delhi is starting to source more form local farms. How cool is that? We are hoping that we can do more of this.
- I also sat in on “Marketing Grass-fed Beef” by Jason R. Evans, Ph.d, Assistant Professor, Agricultural Business Management, SUNY Cobleskill.
- He discussed current research on the market for grassfed beef. He stressed that people care about health claims and because of the economy want value and high quality which is a great opportunity for direct market meat producers which can provide both high quality and a reduced price if they sell whole/quartered animals.
- There were a lot of dairy producers in the audience who were interested in finishing their bull calves on grass. One dairy farmer asked if jerseys did well on grass, she is currently finishing her bull calves as steers on grass.
It was a great conference and I got to meet a lot of local folks. You can definitely sense a feeling hope in the region. In the mid 80s we had over 600 dairy farms in Delaware County now we only have 200. Connecting to the market in New York City is essential, it is just a matter for creating fluid and operational processing and distribution channels. Proud to be on the board of CADE which is working to do so much to help farmers overcome these obstacles.