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USDA hosting pasture walks series.

AMHERST - Local farmers and others interested in learning about grazing livestock are invited to attend a series of pasture walks hosted by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, UMass Extension and the Massachusetts Chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association/Massachusetts Chapter this summer and fall.

Raising livestock on pasture offers farmers economic, animal health and labor benefits over feeding grain to livestock.

To help farmers properly manage a grazing system and achieve its benefits, this series will cover pasture management, organic transition and herd health, forage species, soil fertility, fencing and water systems and summer and winter grazing.

The pasture walks will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with the exception of the Rocky Acres tour which will begin at 6:15 p.m. July 12,

The schedule of pasture walks begins with a twilight tour of Rocky Acres Farm, 690 Coy Hill Road, Warren.

Robert and Martha Richardson have been pasturing for more than 25 years and they currently sell some raw milk.

Other scheduled walks include:

July 25 - Cricket Creek Farm, 1255 Oblong Road, Williamstown. Jason and Amy Demay operate a grass-based dairy nestled on the slopes of the Taconic Hills. They have a herd of 38 milking cows including registered Brown Swiss and Jerseys. Topics will include pasture management, raw milk and starting up a cheese processing operation.

Aug. 28 - Appleton Farms, 215 County Road, Ipswich. Mike Victor operates a dairy and grass-fed Jersey beef operation. Topics will include transitioning to organic farming.

Sept. 12 - Highlawn Farm, 535 Summer St., Lee. Brian Stone is the manager of the dairy and topics will include transitioning to pasture from a corn-based system, grazing plans, new seedings of pasture blends and species selection.

Sept. 26 - Chase Hill Farm, Chase Hill Road, Warwick. Mark and Jeanette Fellows operate a seasonal grass-based dairy producing certified raw milk, cheese, beef, and pork. Topics will include winter grazing, no-grain feeding and multi-species grazing.

Oct. 17 - Breese Hollow Farm, 454 Breese Hollow Road, Hoosick Falls, N.Y. Chuck and Diane Phippen operate a farm near the border of Massachusetts and Vermont. It

recently was certified as an organic farm. Topics will include transitioning to organic, calf management and improving pastures.

Participants should plan on bringing their own lunch to the midday walks. For directions and additional information visit the Web site www.ma.nrcs.usda.gov.
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jul 11, 2007
Words:396
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