This year’s conference - Celebrating Milestones - will focus on tried and true and innovative methods applicable to grass-based farmers facing ever-changing environmental and economic conditions. Various experts will host sessions focused on the economics of a successful grass-fed beef operation, responsible management of pasture, and the economic and soil health benefits of integrating livestock into cropping systems and purchasing hay.
A brand new venue and some top-notch presenters will be just two of the many features to look forward to.
The conference will be held on Thursday, March 16, 2017 at the Trinity Point Church of God in Clarion, PA
Meet the Speakers...
KEYNOTE: Jim Gerrish - Jim Gerrish of May, Idaho is the owner of American GrazingLands Services, LLC which is dedicated to aiding farmers and ranchers to more effectively manage their grazing lands for economic and environmental sustainability. Jim’s experience includes over 20 years of beef-forage systems research and outreach while on the faculty of the University of Missouri, as well as 20 years of commercial cattle and sheep production on their family farm in northern Missouri. He was the co-founder of the popular 3-day grazing management workshop program at the University of Missouri’s Forage Systems Research Center. His research encompassed many aspects of plant-soil-animal interactions and provides a foundation for many of the basic principles of Management-intensive Grazing. Before moving to Idaho, Jim was deeply involved in the Green Hills Farm Project, a grassroots producer group centered in north-central Missouri and emphasizing sustainability of family farms. His research and outreach efforts have been recognized with awards from the American Forage and Grassland Council, Missouri Forage and Grassland Council, National Center for Appropriate Technology, USDA-NRCS, the Soil and Water Conservation Society, Progressive Farmer, and American Agricultural Editor’s Association. Jim is also a key instructor in the University of Idaho’s Lost River Grazing Academy held near Salmon, ID each June and September.
Dave White - Dave white enjoyed a 33-year career with NRCS, retiring as Chief of the Agency. He will discuss some of the milestones that forward thinking graziers and conservation-minded farmers have made in protecting our nation's resources.
Aaron & Melissa Miller - Aaron and Melissa Miller live in Kinsman, Ohio and are co-owners of Miller Livestock Co., Inc., They have been farming for nearly thirty-five years, and raising grass-fed and pastured livestock for direct-to-market sales since 1999. Aaron graduated from Ohio State University College of Agriculture with a degree in Animal Science. Miller Livestock produces approximately 90 head of cattle, 60 lambs, 200 hogs and 1000 birds each year which are marketed to local restaurants, butcher shops, schools, farmer’s markets, and directly to customers. Aaron and Melissa are also committed local food advocates who actively engage with customers and mentor new farmers.
Jay Fuhrer - Jay Fuhrer is a Conservationist employed by the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Bismarck, North Dakota. Graduating from North Dakota State University in 1976 with a degree in Agricultural Economics. He has had boots on the ground for the last 36 years working with cropping systems, grazing systems, and cover crops. Jay also has an extensive background working with many groups and entities such as soil and water conservation districts, no-till organizations, farm organizations, urban groups, and more. Currently, Jay spends his time at The Burleigh County Soil Conservation District’s Menoken Farm focusing on soil health and integrating livestock.
Baxter Black - Baxter Black is a rancher and retired large animal veterinarian from Benson, Arizona famous for his appearances on RFD-TV reciting his humorous and entertaining "cowboy poetry". He will NOT be at the conference but has graciously agreed to provide a pre-recorded video welcome of our 2017 conference attendees.