March 3, 2009
Contact: Betsy Hodge, Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County, 315-379-9192

NNY Beef & Sheep Pasture Weeks Set for March

North Country beef and sheep producers will gather with Cornell Cooperative Extension educators and industry professionals for in-depth learning meetings at Northern New York sites in March. Topics include rotational grazing, marketing grass-fed beef and lamb, USDA regulations, pasture quality, and lessons learned on such topics as fencing, and parasite and predator control. The beef producers will meet March 11-14; the sheep producers March 24-26. Register with the local Cornell Cooperative Extension office.

Meetings during NNY Beef Pasture Week include:
Wednesday, March 11, 6:30 pm, Keeseville: Grange Hall, 518-962-4810
Thursday, March 12, 6:30 pm, Malone: North Country Community College
Distance Learning Center, 518-483-7403
Friday, March 13, 6:30 pm, Canton: Cornell Cooperative Extension Learning
Farm, 315-379-9192
Saturday, March 14, 10:30 am, Watertown: Cornell Cooperative Extension,

The NNY Sheep Pasture Week’s schedule is:
Tuesday, March 24, 6:30 pm, Keeseville: Grange Hall, 518-962-4810
Wednesday, March 25, 6:30 pm, Canton: Cornell Cooperative Extension Learning Farm,
Thursday, March 26, 6:30 pm, Watertown: Cornell Cooperative Extension,

Meetings organizer Betsy Hodge of CCE says, “We have a great mix of speakers who will talk about the opportunities for cost-effective, low-input production of grass-fed meat products. Grazing requires attention to many details to make good grass-fed lamb, beef and goat meat. Grass-fed meats tend to be leaner and it is important to educate consumers about how to properly cook them, but everything first starts with effective pasturing. We will talk about all of this at the Northern New York Beef and Sheep Pasture meetings.”

Grazing specialist Martha Pickard with the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) says, “Pasture is one of the most economical sources of nutrients that can be provided to livestock. When properly managed, it is also higher in feeding value than any other forage crop for meeting the nutritional requirements of the livestock.”

Sheep farmer Kirby Selkirk of Chateaugay, NY, says, “There is increasing interest in the management-intensive grazing practices now being developed to produce grass-fed livestock. The Northern New York Sheep Pasture Week meetings are a great way for people to learn about options for utilizing the fantastic land, grass and water resources in Northern New York, and for fencing, predator control and marketing. These meetings also help producers network as a group to develop and sell to local, regional and Northeast markets demanding grass-fed products.”

Natural Resource Conservation Service District Conservation Jim Pullano says, “There are federal cost-sharing funds available through the new Farm Bill for developing or enhancing grazing infrastructure for prescribed grazing systems. Farmers can apply for competitive grants to help with fencing and water facilities needs. Those farmers will a grazing plan receive extra points on their application.”

Pullano says $1.3 million in federal cost-sharing grant funds were receiving for grazing farm enhancements in St. Lawrence, Franklin, Clinton and Essex counties in 2008.

To learn more about grass-based agriculture in Northern New York, go online to www.nnyagdev.org. # # #