You gotta have friends! If there is one thing that every farmer and rancher is acquainted with it is emergency situations. From calving problems to stuck tractors, sometimes you need a helping hand and it was with that in mind that I had the pleasure of attending the Eight Annual Winter Green-Up Grass-Fed Grazing Conference in Latham this weekend. The Cornell Cooperative Agency is one of the organizers and this event has quickly become one of the premier conferences in the Country. In fact, in the past eight years it has grown to be so well regarded that the national conference is to be held in Albany in 2017. Learning opportunities abounded and I realized that I was not only learning from the scheduled speakers, but at the lunch table, during the breaks, and from conversations in the parking lot. It also dawned on me that we were all there for one reason, to make an honest living raising animals in the best way we can.
The crowd was mixed and representative of all the different types and breeds of producers. The amount of grazing knowledge in the room was palpable and I can honestly say that I learned more this weekend than all of last year. Most of these producers are ranchers who were tired of seeing their checking balances drop and their free time dwindle to next to nothing. In their desperation to keep their properties profitable, they turned to some radical new techniques to raise, manage, and market their livestock. It was just these techniques that were up for discussion at the conference and I am excited to bring what I have learned to all of you in Ulster County and beyond. If you have a question, need some grazing advice, would like to talk about any and all livestock, or just need someone to be a friend of the farmer, drop me a line via email or here at the office. I can talk farm all day.