cows in field

Dairy Grazing Survey: We Need Your Input

Dear Organic Dairy Producer,

We are writing to today to ask for your participation in a national survey to identify key research priorities, and resources that are integral in optimizing forage production on organic dairy farms through a changing climate. Forage production and quality are the backbone of organic dairy farms and there is enormous pressure to produce both high yield and high quality feed that will sustain the herd through the year without sacrificing milk production, milk quality, or animal health.

As you know, grasslands account for over two-thirds of the U.S. land base and contribute $45 billon in value annually to our agricultural system. In addition to providing vital feed for animals that support our dairy and meat industries, forages contribute a host of ecosystem services including soil health and stabilization, water retention, water filtration, carbon sequestration, and wildlife habitat. These benefits apply to our greater food system and landscape. Sadly however, disproportionately low funding and support for forage research and extension efforts is threatening our current and future body of knowledge and expertise of forages. The widespread use and reliance on forages across a wide range of production systems and climates has contributed to an overall lack of continuity in critical forage production and management research. This project aims to unite forage experts to identify farmer needs and determine research and educational priorities that will support successful forage production and management in the organic dairy industry and beyond.

The information generated from this project will be valuable to all organic livestock farmers across the country and will also provide valuable insight to policy makers, governmental agencies, and academic institutions to understand the importance and value of forages and the need for continued support for research and extension efforts.

We appreciate you help! To take Managing Organic Forages in a Changing Climate Survey follow the link or QR code below.

Here is the link to the survey.

This QR code can also be scanned and will bring you right to the survey.

Dairy Survey QR code_small

For more information or if you have questions about this survey or the full research project , please contact one of the research team members listed below. Thank you!

Dr. Heather Darby, Agronomist and Nutrient Management Specialist, University of Vermont

Extension; 802-524-6501;

Dr. André F. Brito, Associate Professor Organic Dairy, University of New Hampshire; 603-862-1341;

Dr. Charles Brummer, Professor of Plant Science, University of California, Davis; 530-752-9261;

Darby Heffner, California State University, Chico - Organic Dairy Manager; 530-898-6022;

Heathcliffe Riday, Research Geneticist, USDA-ARS-U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center; 608-890-0077;

Dr. Kathy Soder, Animal Scientist, USDA-ARS-Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit; 814-865-3158;

Sara Ziegler, Research Specialist, University of Vermont Extension; 802-524-6501;
This project is funded through the USDA/NIFA Organic Research and Education Initiative under Award # 2020-S1300-12365