TIONESTA, Pa. – Approximately 100 people gathered at the Wilson Land & Cattle Co. on Oct. 14 for a grazing field day focusing on “improving land while lowering costs.”
Russ Wilson, the owner of the farm, said, “It was the best field day that we have had on our farm.”
Participants heard presentations on how to monitor the soil health in a grazing system, the ability of silvopasture and alley cropping to make pastures more profitable, soil health as a climate change solution, and how grazing systems help producers adapt to weather extremes. A demonstration was done with a rainfall simulator showing how different management affects the soil’s health and performance under intense rainfall events.
Speakers included: Matt Havens, a Soil Scientist at NRCS in Belmont, NY; Brett Chedzoy, Senior Resource Educator in Agriculture and Natural Resources at Cornell University Cooperative Extension; Dr. Bonnie McGill, Senior Climate and Soil Health Scientist at the American Farmland Trust; and Fay Benson, Small Dairy Support Specialist with Cornell University Cooperative Extension.
Information on nutrient management and funding/assistance available to farmers was presented by Tricia Mazik, Resource Technician with the Clarion Conservation District, Jane Price, Agricultural Technician and Resource Conservationist with the Venango Conservation District, and Geri Montgomery, NW Pennsylvania Grazing Specialist at USDA-NRCS.
Throughout the day, participants had the opportunity to stop at vendor tables of grazing-related agencies and companies. Wilson gave a field tour highlighting methods and results of intensive rotational grazing and ways to lower costs. The day concluded with a social event led by representatives of PASA Sustainable Agriculture to discuss the Farm Bill.
The event was sponsored by CCD, VCD, USDA-NRCS, Forest County Conservation District, U.S. EPA, Pennsylvania Grazing Lands Coalition, American Farmland Trust, PASA Sustainable Agriculture, and the Cornell University Cooperative Extension. The event was made possible through a Non-point Source Pollution (NPS) Mini-grant received by Tricia Mazik of the Clarion Conservation District.
Financial and other support for the NPS Mini-Grant Program is provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection under section 319 of the Clean Water Act, administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.