The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

On the Bright Side

February 16, 2013

Workshops aim to improve grazing

Whether you have horses, cattle or sheep, chances are you’re concerned about developing the best grazing conditions you can muster for your livestock.

Achieving those conditions isn’t a matter of luck. It takes planning, experts say.

To help farmers prepare for the upcoming grazing season, the Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District is promoting two workshops that will put the importance of grazing practices in fresh perspective.

“What we really want to emphasize is the economic development potential” that increases as the result of following the best practices, said Scott Fickbohm, the district manager for the agency.

“The whole idea, is that a profitable farm is a safe farm,” he added.

The first training session is geared toward those with grass-fed beef farms. It will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 27 at the Farmer’s Museum Main Hall, at 5775 State Route 80 in Cooperstown. A light lunch will be available for participants.

Bob Weaver of East Springfield, a contractor with Otsego County Soil & Water, and Troy Bishopp, who is known as “the Grass Whisperer” and is an expert in grass-based agriculture, will lead the workshop.

The second workshop is devoted to equine grazing. It will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. on March 2 at K.C.’s Corner restaurant at the intersection of U.S. Route 20 and Otsego County Highway 31 in East Springfield.

Weaver and Dave Roberts, the grazing lands specialist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, will speak about their equine grazing experiences.

There is no charge to attend the workshops.

Some farmers may already be grazing their horses, Weaver said. But the workshop will help them get the best use out of their available land and perhaps help them reduce their reliance on commercial feed — while saving money in the process, he said.

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