New CSU Organic Dairy Hosts Workshop

CSU, Chico Dairy and Organic Valley Family of Farms to Host pasture Workshops.

Published on: Apr 18, 2007

Farmers and would-be farmers are invited to take a look at California State University, Chico's organic dairy during a two-day, hands-on producer workshop and educational seminar offered April 24–26, 2007, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Paul L. Byrne Agricultural Teaching and Research Center (University Farm).

Part of a three-day celebration of the campus's newly transitioned organic dairy, which culminates in a day-long public open house celebration on April 26, the producer workshop provides a window into the educational program that students at CSU, Chico engage in as they pursue agricultural careers. The interactive workshop will provide attendees with knowledge to make their farm as healthy and robust as possible. Non-organic producers are welcome.

"Our workshop series is predicated on the learn-by-doing philosophy," says Professor Cindy Daley, dairy unit supervisor. "Attendees will be walking in the pastures, working directly with the soil, measuring, observing and analyzing. This is a 'get-your-hands-dirty' event."

Admission to the event is free; however, pre-registration is required. Laboratory activities are limited to the first 40 people who respond. Please register by calling (530) 898-6280 or e-mailing A complete calendar of events can be found at  

Holistic herd health and grazing are the topics for day one. Keynote speaker Will Winters, author of the Holistic Veterinarian Handbook, will talk about what makes a happy, healthy cow. In-the-field demonstrations will follow with herd health evaluations, signs to look for in pasture, manure pH readings and more.

Sarah Flack, from Northeast Organic Farmers Association and Vermont Grazing Network, will discuss the benefits of intensive grazing management and provide instruction on how to develop a grazing plan. Attendees will learn to score pasture conditions, set up a pasture rotation and budget feed and assess plant vigor, among other skills.

Day two will feature "12 Keynotes to Herd Health," a presentation from Jerry Brunetti, Agri-Dynamics, Inc., and author of The Keys to Herd Health and Holistic Veterinary Care. Attendees will learn about soil compaction readings, soil respiration rates and measuring soil salinity and structure. Afternoon workshops will cover soil-related topics ranging from acid-alkaline balance to medicinal plants. Attendees will learn in the field how to examine sap pH, evaluate plant biodiversity, and assess silage for molds. There will also be a pre-graze mowing demonstration for weed control.

On day three, Allen Voortman, of Pride & Joy Dairy in Granger, Wash., and Jon Bansen, of Double J Jerseys Dairy, in Monmouth, Ore., will discuss their personal experiences with intensive grazing management.

The series closes with a vision for the future: "Designing a Grazing Network in the West." The best models in the industry—"Pro-grass-tinators" model, Cornell economic model for profitability, Vermont pasture network model, New Zealand model and Red Sky Economics model services - will be discussed and debated.

Sponsors include the CSU, Chico College of Agriculture and Organic Dairy, Organic Valley Family of Farms, Aurora Organics, Clover Stornetta, Dairy Farmers of America, Farm Credit, American Ag Credit, California Department of Agriculture, Horizon Dairy, Humboldt Creamery, Nancy's Yogurt, Springfield Creamery, Straus Family Creamery, Tri County Bank, Wallaby Yogurt, Northern Ca. Farm Credit, Ramaiano Cheese, County Bank, Farm Credit, and County Community Bank.

For a complete schedule of activities for the dairy Open House, please visit