cows in field

COVID 19 Causes the Postponement of the 20th Annual NODPA Field Days

The September NODPA News will feature a Special NODPA Field Days Education Program Supplement Section

For the first time in the 20 years of hosting the NODPA Field Days, NODPA announces that the Annual NODPA Field Days will be postponed until September, 2021. Despite their unending optimism, the NODPA Board and Representatives have determined that it is not a safe time to bring together a geographically age-diverse group of farmers and farm families, trade show representatives, presenters, sponsors and supporters in order to hold the 20th Annual NODPA Field Days in Maine. “However, since we remain committed to delivering an educational program, we are working on a hybrid program that will be both in print, in a special 20th Annual NODPA Field Days Supplement in the September NODPA News, and on the NODPA website.

While many organizations are opting for an online, virtual, and sometimes live, conference formats, we recognize that our members and Field Day participants are not all electronically connected, so this hybrid format will be accessible for everyone,” said Liz Bawden, NODPA Board Co-President.

When the September NODPA News arrives in your mailbox, you will find the NODPA Field Days Supplement which will be ‘almost’ as good as attending in person because there will be educational sessions that can be read or watched online. Although we are still working out the technological details, these are the educational workshops that are coming together:

  • Dairy Forage Mixtures, The Effects on Your Bottom Line

Dr. Andre Brito, Associate Professor of Dairy Cattle Nutrition & Management at the University of New Hampshire, is running a USDA-NIFA-ORG funded project focused on forage mixtures in collaboration with University of Vermont. He will share research results of different legume-grass mixtures in terms of yield and forage quality, as well as the impact of mixtures harvested as baleage on milk production, milk composition, and methane emissions in organic dairy cows during the winter season. Dr. Brito will also focus on the importance of legumes in pastures and hayfields to improve animal productivity. Please join Dr. Brito and Rick Kersbergen to learn more about how these research results can be best implemented to improve your organic dairy nutrition management.

  • Organic Dairy Farming and Family Life: Starting a family and an organic dairy farm during challenging times for the industry

Panel discussion with Caitlin Frame and Andy Smith, The Milkhouse, Monmouth, ME, Katia and Brendan Holmes, Misty Brook Farm, Albion, ME, and Conor and Alexis McDonald, Bo Lait Farm, Washington, ME (invited)

At a time when many are choosing to leave organic dairy farming, these three young families will share about their farms and families, and will discuss the benefits and challenges of growing their businesses when prices are low. They will describe how they are creatively meeting the challenges and raising young families.

  • Farmer to Farmer: Practical Solutions for Managing the Organic Herd

Liz Bawden, Bawden Farms, Hammond, NY, Jacki Perkins, MOFGA Dairy Specialist, Unity, ME, Dr. Elizabeth Martens, Valleywide Veterinary Services, Bridport, VT Shelburne Veterinary Hospital, Shelburne, VT, Dr. Dayna Locitzer, Green Mountain Bovine and Equine Clinic, West Chesterfield, NH, and Maureen Knapp, Cobblestone Valley Farm, Preble, NY.

This wildly popular session from the 19th Annual NODPA Field Days, which went over its time slot by almost an hour, returns with new information, tips and recommendations on improving cow and calf care at your farm. In addition to sharing a wealth of information, Kathie, Jacki, and Liz, and other invited presenters will anticipate questions that you may want to ask.

  • Keynote Presentation: What are the long term ramifications of the Coronavirus Pandemic on US agriculture?

Simon Alexander, DVM, Exeter Veterinary Services, Exeter, Maine, will share his scientific knowledge and insights into this pandemic, and how the future may look.

  • What’s Happening in Washington?

Ed Maltby, NODPA Executive Director, will provide updates on the USDA, policy and politics in Washington DC.

  • Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment: OpenTEAM, a farmer-driven, interoperable platform to provide farmers around the world with the best possible knowledge to improve soil health

Dave Herring, WNC Executive Director, will spotlight the OpenTEAM collaboration that is headquartered at Wolfe’s Neck Center. OpenTEAM is a collaborative community of farmers, scientists and researchers, engineers, farm service providers, and food companies that are committed to improving soil health and advancing agriculture’s ability to become a solution to climate change.

  • COVID Check-in: How are we all doing?

We will check in with a variety of members in the organic dairy industry to learn how their lives and businesses have changes due to the pandemic. Farmers and their families, service providers-Vets, processors, milk truck drivers, feed dealers, Cooperative Extension and more, will share their stories of how life has changed, or not, as a result of the pandemic that touches all of our lives.

We’ve heard from many producers that the one meeting that they will really miss is the early morning Producer-Only session which is open only to producers and offers everyone the opportunity to speak their minds without any worries or fears of retaliation. While we can’t meet in person, we are planning a Producer-Only Conference Call in early October, and we will provide all of the details for a secure call in the September NODPA Field Days Supplement, so please keep an eye out for it!

The NODPA Field Days will be different this year, no doubt about it, but we hope that it will be educational and help everyone feel a bit more connected to each other when the September NODPA News, with the Field Days Supplement, arrives. Sponsors and Supporters are invited to advertise in this section. For more information, email or call Nora Owens, Field Days Coordinator, at, or 413-772-0444. Your support for NODPA and this special edition will be greatly appreciated.