July 29, 2014

Southwest Project Grass: Grazing Field Day Bus Tour

On September 10, 2014, the Southwest Project Grass Grazing Field Day Bus Tour will take participants on an exciting tour of four unique farms located in Beaver and Butler Counties.

Agenda

7:30-8:30 Registration/Breakfast/visit with vendors @ Butler Farm Show

8:30-11:45 Buses depart and visit two farms

11:45-12:45 Lunch and visit vendors at Butler Farm Show

12:45-5:00 Buses depart and visit two farms. Evaluations, closing remarks, and return to Butler Farm Show.

***In order to adhere to the agenda schedule, SWPG asks that you dress appropriately for the day’s weather. Each farmer will provide you with their contact information, should you have in-depth questions or discussion where time does not allow. Time spent at each farm will be outside. ***

Meet the Farmers

Dawson Dibbern

Dawson Dibbern moved to Western PA from Massachusetts, where he raised cow/calf pairs on grass. Sheep followed in a 3-5 day rotation. Today, Dawson raised cow/calf pairs on grass. They spend winter outside, where they are fed round bales and no grain. Although he no longer raises sheep, Dawson is very knowledgeable on mixed species grazing.

BGN Farms

In 2006, Jeff Grazier and his family took over their family farm. In 2013, BGN transitioned to a rotational grazing system and installed fence, watering system, and a winter heavy use area for their cow/calf operation. 2014 is the first full year under the new systems and Jeff will share his experiences.

Bill and Sallie Patton

Bill Patton’s great-grandfather started the family farm in 1927. Over the years, the family has raised hogs, chickens, a dairy operation, and currently backgrounds. In 2008 they installed fence and watering for a rotational grazing system, running 60 head on 50 acres from April-October. They are sold to a finisher in October. Paddocks are clipped with a disc mower after cattle are moved. Bill says the greatest benefit of his operation is that he no longer spends time fixing equipment.

Broadrun Farm

For five generations, the Caldwells have devoted their lives to the production of quality milk. In 2002 they converted the operation from a conventional, confinement model of Holsteins to a 100 percent grass-based system with Jerseys and Jersey-Holstein crosses. The benefits have included improved animal health, enhanced soil fertility, reduced labor and energy inputs and, most importantly, the desire to continue farming!

The SWPG Field Day Bus Tour is presented by:

Southwest Project Grass Chapter

USDA– Natural Resources Conservation Service

Allegheny County Conservation District

Beaver County Conservation District

Butler County Conservation District

Washington County Conservation District

PA Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative

Penn’s Corner RC&D Council

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