New York Certified Organic sets 2018 Winter Program Series

Farmers from across New York state gather for the annual NYCO winter meetings in Geneva. Photo courtesy NYCO

Crop rotations, quality forage harvest, pastured hogs, farm startup on agenda

New York Certified Organic has announced its 2018 series of winter meetings with a Jan. 9 session on crop rotations with a presentation on Ag-Analytics.org, Feb. 13 focus on harvesting quality forage and a March 13 spotlight on adding pastured hogs to a diversified dairy or crop business and general farm start-up opportunities.

The free-to-attend NYCO meetings begin at 10 a.m. in Jordan Hall at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, 630 W. North St., Geneva, and provide organic crop growers and dairy farmers together with the opportunity to hear speakers and network. There is no need to register for meetings. Participants are asked to bring a dish to pass at the potluck lunch.

Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018: Crop Rotations. This topic was requested by a number of farmers attending the 2017 NYCO meetings. The program will cover how farmers select the rotations that fit the financial needs, environmental concerns and weed pressures of their farms. The program includes a representative from Kings AgriSeeds presenting on how they see farmers selecting rotations, a review by Fay Benson of an organic field crop growers survey by the NY Organic Dairy Program, and a farmer panel.

Also on Jan. 9, Dr. Joshua Woodard, founder of Ag-Analytics.org, a live open data, open source data integration and automation platform, and farmer Luke Gianforte of Gianforte Farm, Cazenovia, will offer a presentation on how to use an online tool for managing field and crop data.

Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018: Harvesting Quality Forage. Harvesting quality forage year after year is the topic of the Feb. 13 NYCO meeting. The challenges of the drought of 2016 followed by the wet spring of 2017 have many farmers wondering how to develop resiliency in their forage system. Invited speakers include Tom Kilcer of Advanced Ag Systems, on his new work adding resiliency to rotations through double cropping and multi-use cover crops.

Also on Feb. 13, Cornell Horticulture Professor Dr. Thomas Björkman will show research on planting dates and when to include clover in cover crops, and Dr. Heather Darby from the University of Vermont will share details on forage and small grain research she has recently conducted in northern Vermont.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018: Adding Pastured Hogs to Diversified Dairy or Crop Farm; Farm Start-Up Opportunities. The March 13 NYCO meeting will cover two topics: Rodale Institute Farm Manager Ross Duffield will provide an overview of current projects at Rodale and present a how-to talk on how Rodale incorporated hogs into its farming system and the multiple benefits of doing so. A panel of three organic dairy farmers will share how they have used social investment capital to help their farming business, and representatives from Dirt Capital Partners and Iroquois Valley Farms REIT will be on hand to outline the opportunities they offer farms.

The New York Crop Insurance Education Team and Cornell Cooperative Extension provide support for the NYCO meetings. There will be a brief description of how crop insurance can benefit organic farmers at each of the three NYCO 2018 winter meetings.

NYCO winter meetings have grown from a gathering of six organic grain producers in the Martens Farms farmhouse kitchen in 1994 to filling the auditorium at the Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva. More than 300 farmers attended NYCO meetings in 2017.

For more information, contact Fay Benson at 607-391-2669 or afb3@cornell.edu. Information on previous NYCO meetings is posted at blogs.cornell.edu/organicdairyinitiative/.

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