NOFA-NY Events

Organic Dairy & Field Crop Conference

Location: 441 Electronics Parkway, Liverpool, NY 13088
Start Date: March 16, 2017
End Date: March 17, 2017

NOFA-NY Organic Dairy & Field Crop Conference


Featuring Keynote Speaker Jack Lazor, founder of Butterworks Farm!

March 16-17

Holiday Inn Syracuse 

441 Electronics Pkwy

Liverpool, NY 13088

We are excited to announce our 6th Annual Organic Dairy & Field Crop Conference! New this year, we are expanding to a 2-Day event featuring half day intensive workshops on March 17. The conference will be held at the Holiday Inn Liverpool/Syracuse, New York, just off the Thruway and Interstate 81.

We welcome veteran farmers, beginning farmers, and farmers interested in transitioning to organic management. This year we will honor Michael & Gayle Thorpe, NOFA-NY’s Farmers of the Year. Additionally, NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC staff will be presenting on Transitioning to Organic Dairy Management and available throughout both the days to answer questions at their trade show booth. Enjoy two days of learning, networking, and information exchange.

Haven't registered yet? No worries. WALK-INS ARE WELCOME! 

We recognize Patron Sponsor: USDAand Platinum Sponsors: Organic Valley, Cropp Cooperative, Organic Prairie, Valent, Country Folks & Maple Hill Creamery.


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A PDF version of the Dairy & Field Crop Conference brochure is now available online! Read the brochure here


Thursday Morning Workshops

Buckwheat; New Life for an Old Crop – Thomas Bjorkman, Cornell University & Cliff Orr, Birkett Mills

Buckwheat can be a source of profit. For growers accustomed to corn and soybean yields, the relatively low yield of buckwheat may make it seem as if there’s no money in it. This workshop will introduce experienced organic field-crop producers to profitable ways to include buckwheat in their rotations.

On Farm Energy: Take Control with an Energy Audit- Lisa Coven, ENSAVE Inc. and Les and Cindy York, Whispering Winds Farm

This workshop is designed to highlight the benefits of an agriculture energy audit, learn about the NYSERDA’s Agriculture Energy Audit Program, and identify funding opportunities to implement energy efficiency measures. Lisa Coven will explain the program and Les and Cindy will share their experiences in the audit process for their farm.

NY Organic Dairy Program Update – Fay Benson, Cornell University

Learn more about new programs to support NY organic dairy farmers. Fay will share the current NESARE project and trials he is working on in conjunction with Sarah Flack. Learn how to get involved in two new programs, the Organic Dairy Business Summary and the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship Program. Also learn how the New York Grazinglands Coalition Soil Health Trailer is being utilized to provide farmer education.

Solutions to the Challenges of Grass Fed Dairy – Paul and Phyllis Van Amburgh, Dharma Lea, LLC; Sarah Flack, Sarah Flack Consulting & Jack Lazor, Butterworks Farm

This roundtable discussion will focus on the common issues farmers face when converting to grass fed management, and provide insight on how to mitigate the risk while building a grazing management plan. Expert farmers and consultants will share with you tips for planning and executing a successful grass-based dairy system to meet the needs of your herd.

Resilient Farming in a Changing Climate – Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens, Lakeview Organic Grain

Taking a hard look at the future and addressing the questions on: (1) soil health, (2) crop diversity, (3) working with neighbors to expand cropping choices, (4) 'cultural defense' - things we can do to be prepared for extreme events/conditions, and (5) moving into new technologies/renewable energy.

Adding Value to Your Milk, Small Scale Processing – Maryrose Livingston, Northland Sheep Dairy

Thinking of adding a processing component to your farm? Join Maryrose as she shares her farm story and outlines the key areas to research in planning an on-farm processing venture. Learn pitfalls to avoid and marketing strategies to insure a place for your product.

* The lunch program will include Fay Benson of NY Crop Insurance Education Team. He will provide information to farmers on insurance products relevant to small scale farms including pasture insurance options.

Thursday Afternoon Workshops

* The lunch program will include Fay Benson of NY Crop Insurance Education Team. He will provide information to farmers on insurance product relevant to small scale farms including pasture insurance options.

A Holistic Look at Minerals and Livestock Health – Dr. Guy Jodarski DVM, CROPP Cooperative

Minerals are key nutrients sustaining optimal health and production. Growth, reproduction and immune function are supported by both macro-minerals and trace elements. Ideally, organic livestock farms should grow and feed crops rich in minerals to provide most of their animals’ needs. We’ll explore monitoring mineral balance in soil, feed and livestock as well as how to improve mineral balance through plant diversity, soil mineralization and biology. Practical mineral supplementation for organic livestock will also be covered.

Developing the Organic Dairy Cull Cow Market - Tom and Brenda Hosking, Hosking Sales

Join Tom and Brenda in an open discussion on: the organic dairy cull cow and beef markets, the challenges and opportunities from the buyer and farm gate producers, consumer demand, and creating a premium for the market in your future.

Planter Clinic and Tune-Up with Cazenovia Equipment - Eric Burroughs, Cazenovia Equipment

Join Caz technician for this spring planter tune-up and troubleshooting session with the goal of having those planter units ready to hit the ground running this season. Get the facts on population settings, openers, no-till and conventional planters.

Calf Raising/Parasite Control – Dr. Guy Jodarski DVM, CROPP Cooperative

Calf raising is a key component to successful organic dairy farms. Getting calves off to a good start, challenges at weaning, extended cow-calf pairing and general disease prevention will be covered. Limiting the detrimental effects of parasites will likewise be emphasized – how to prevent parasite issues and how to manage them within organic systems.

Strategies for Success with Organic Weed Management - Charles Mohler Senior Research Associate Cornell University and Sandra Wayman Soil and Crop Science Section at Cornell University

Take your weed control strategies to a systems approach. Learn how to use false-seed bedding and cover crops for expressive and suppressive management to weed the soil, not the crop. Cover crop-based systems can improve soil quality, while maintaining relatively high profitability crops.

Building an Efficient and Profitable Herd: Genetics for Grass Based Dairy – Paul and Phyllis Van Amburgh, Dharma Lea, LLC

Learn about breeding for better grazers and gain an understanding of the genetic markers you should be focusing on. Paul and Phyllis will share their knowledge of available genetics to create the herd you want in an organic grass based system.

Friday Morning Workshops

Transitioning to Organic Dairy Management – Lisa Engelbert, NOFA-NY LLC.

Art and Science of Grazing – Sarah Flack, Sarah Flack Consulting

Managing pastures well involves honing our observation skills to assess what plants and animals are telling us about their health. Sarah Flack will cover the basic principles of good grazing management systems, first from the plants’ perspective, and then from that of the livestock. Join her for this half-day intensive workshop to get a jumpstart in planning for your next grazing season.

Farming with a Future - Luke Gianforte, Gianforte Farm & Dan Gladstone, Oechsner Farms

Join these young Farmers for the Future to discuss production, marketing and farm transfer plans and the future for two diversified certified organic grain farms.

Industrial Hemp the Next Crop in New York's Future - Susie Cody New York Hemp Industries Association, Chris Logue NYSDAM, and Jennifer Gilbert Jenkins, SUNY Morrisville Researcher

What’s the buzz about industrial hemp production in New York? Join us to learn about the future market opportunities and deal breakers with industrial hemp production in New York State.

Thursday Evening Discussion Groups

Thursday evening, 7-8:30pm

Organic Check Off - facilitated by Lianna Hoods

Raw Milk Regulations - facilitated by Jerry Snyder

Dairy Pricing - facilitated by Robin Fitch, NFFC and Liz Bawden, NODPA

REGISTRATION: Walk-ins are welcome!

Registration Fees:

  • Full Conference: $120.00 (includes dinner) 
  • Thursday Program: $65.00 (includes lunch)
  • Thursday Dinner $15.00
  • Friday Program: $40.00 (includes brunch)
  • Children 12 and under: Free


Please consider donating food to the Organic Dairy & Field Crop Conference. The wholesale value of your donation can be taken as a tax-deductible donation. Food donors are listed in the conference program and in the banquet hall. To donate food, contact Paul Loomis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 585-271-1979 X 515.


The Holiday Inn, located at 441 Electronics Parkway, Liverpool, New York, is the ideal choice for the NOFA-NY Organic Dairy & Field Conference. The Holiday Inn is easily accessible from the NYS Thruway and interstate 81 and offers free parking. Hotel rooms are available at a discounted rate of $92/room. In order to receive this rate, you must identify yourself as a NOFA-NY Conference Attendee. To reserve your room, call the Holiday Inn at 315-457-1122.