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Speaker to offer pasture advice in Copenhagen, Chateaugay

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COPENHAGEN — A grazing specialist from Vermont will speak later this month at sessions here and in Chateaugay.

Jenn Colby, pasture program coordinator with the University of Vermont Center for Sustainability, plans to speak about grazing practices in Vermont and her projects that involve pasturing techniques at north country pasture meetings on Feb. 22 and 23.

The topic is quite timely for farmers, given that the region has experienced “a couple of challenging growing seasons,” said Joseph R. Lawrence, field crops educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Lewis County.

“If you have a poor summer, you end up abusing the pastures,” Mr. Lawrence said. “They get grazed a little more than they should.”

The meetings, sponsored by the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Northern New York Livestock Team and the Adirondack North Country Association, will give attendees methods for rehabilitating over-grazed pastures and keeping them healthier in the future, he said.

While those raising beef cattle and other livestock tend to utilize intensive grazing more than dairy farmers, some of the latter are “doing it very effectively,” Mr. Lawrence said.

The first session will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Feb. 22 at Grace Episcopal Church on Cataract Street. The cost is $15.

Preregistration by Feb. 20 is required by contacting Ron Kuck at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County at 788-8450 or emailing rak76@cornell.edu.

Mr. Lawrence said he, Mr. Kuck and Michael Hunter, agronomy educator at the Watertown extension office, conducted nitrogen fertilizer research on pasture lands in Jefferson County last season and data from that study will be presented at the Copenhagen session.

“It was a local study that we implemented that had some pretty interesting results,” he said.

Mr. Hunter or Mr. Lawrence, who in mid-February plans to leave his job for a position at McClelland Agronomic Services, Lowville, will be on hand to discuss their research.

It will also include discussions on new techniques for addressing soil compaction from animal traffic and on ways water flow and plant composition can impact forage productivity.

A second pasture workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Chateaugay Knights of Columbus on Route 374. The cost is $30 per person and $5 apiece for additional people from the same farm.

The fee includes a lunch sponsored by Feed Commodities Inc. of Malone.

Preregistration is required by Feb. 21 by contacting one of the following extension offices: Clinton and Essex counties at 518-561-7450 or by email at phh7@cornell.edu, Franklin County at 518-483-7403 or by email at drd9@cornell.edu or St. Lawrence County at 379-9192 or by email at bmf9@cornell.edu.

The all-day program will also include the following speakers: Trish Decosse of the Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation districts, Clinton County Extension Agricultural Program Educator Peter Hagar and Joe Orefice of North Branch Farm in Saranac and Paul Smiths College.

Sessions with grass-based Lisbon dairy farmer Bob Zufall, Quebec sheep farmer Hugh Sutherland and other local producers will also be offered.

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