The 2018 Kentucky Grazing Conference will help producers learn how to use forages to increase their farm’s bottom line.
“The conference is focused on turning grass into cash,” said Jimmy Henning, forage extension specialist in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and conference organizer. “The program features speakers who have done this across a range of enterprises including dairy, small ruminants and beef. In addition, the program will help producers better understand how to manage risk in grazing-based livestock enterprises.”
Hosted by UK Cooperative Extension Service and the Kentucky Forage and Grassland Council, the conference will occur at two regional locations to accommodate the state’s producers. For Western Kentucky producers, the conference is Oct. 30 at the Christian County Extension office. Eastern Kentucky producers may attend the Nov. 1 conference at the Clark County Extension office. At both locations, the program will run from 7:45 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. local time.
Among the featured speakers is Howard Straub III. Straub is the manager of the Pasture Dairy Center at Michigan State University’s Kellogg Biological Station. The center has 240 acres dedicated to grazing research and a milking herd of about 130 U.S. Holstein and 25 New Zealand Friesian cows. Straub will discuss the center’s research on rotational grazing of perennial pastures and ways producers can incorporate alternative and complementary forages into the grazing season.
Each location will also have a local producer who will discuss how forages contribute to the profitability of their operation.
In Eastern Kentucky, the speaker will be Todd Clark of Lexington. Clark is a first-generation farmer who raises a variety of products for both commodity and local food markets on 800 acres. His operation includes broilers, layers, turkeys, grass-finished beef and lamb and vegetables.
In Western Kentucky, Michael Palmer will speak. Palmer operates a farm south of Murray and produces grass-finished beef, pork and chicken without added hormones or antibiotics.
Early registration for the conference is $35 per person or $50 if also renewing KFGC membership. The early registration deadline is Oct. 22. Producers can register and view the agenda for the conference on the UK forages extension website.
~ Katie Pratt, UK Ag. Communications