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Local News

February 26, 2013

Workshops focus on grazing strategies

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 the best 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,” he added, “is that a profitable farm is a safe farm.”

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

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 Wednesday event.

The second workshop is devoted to equine grazing. It will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at K.C.’s Corner restaurant, located at the intersection of U.S. Route 20 and 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 events.

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 purchased feed — and save money in the process, he said.

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