Thiis webinar was recorded on December 12, 2018. Heather Darby (University of Vermont) and Sarah Flack (Flack Consulting) have been working with local cooperatives and dairy farmers to identify both the opportunities and challenges found with grass only milk production. Through funding provided by USDA Northeast SARE and USDA NERME grants they have been able to develop baseline production data from grass-only farms in the Northeast. This presentation will cover the recent history and rapid growth in grass-only milk markets in the U.S. In addition, preliminary data that highlights the range of production/management systems on these dairy farms will be presented. Finally the webinar will share goals and objectives of the newly funded USDA OREI grant led by UVM, UNH, USDA ARS, and Tufts University to further explore grass only dairy in the U.S.
Heather Darby is an agronomist at the University of Vermont Extension where she conducts applied research and outreach on farm-based fuel, forage, and grain production systems in New England. Heather's research has focused on traditional and niche crop variety trials, weed management strategies, and cropping systems development. Her farmer outreach programs have focused on soil health, nutrient management, organic grain and forage production, and oilseed production. In addition, Heather leads the eOrganic dairy team and also operates a certified organic farm with her husband in northern Vermont.
Sarah Flack is a national consultant on grass-based livestock farming and lives in Fairfield, Vermont. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Agriculture and Biology and her Masters of Science degree in Plant and Soil Science from the University of Vermont (UVM). She also has post graduate training in organic certification, business management, Holistic Management, animal welfare, organic production practices and much “on-the-job” farm experience. For the past 14 years, she has worked as an independent organic certification inspector, and has also served on OMRI's Livestock Review Panel for the past 2 years. For 8 years, she worked as an organic livestock technical assistance provider for the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) and for 5 years she was the Vermont Pasture Network Facilitator at the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture. Sarah grew up on a grass-based livestock farm in northern Vermont and farmed with her family for many years where she gained hands-on experience with sheep, dairy cows, beef cattle, pigs, poultry, and goats as well as with vegetables, medicinal herbs, pasture management and forest management.
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