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By Nora Owens, NODPA Field Days Coordinator
It’s been 10 years since the NODPA Field Days was held in Vermont, so we are happy to announce that the 22nd Annual NODPA Field Days will be held in Addison County, with the meeting site located in Middlebury, at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post.
We are working with our educational planning committee to develop an amazing program, and there have been a number of the leaders in organic dairy, pasture management, and grazing experts that are eager to be involved in this year’s agenda. Vermont is rich in these educators, researchers, and Extension personnel, including Heather Darby, Sarah Flack, Sara Zeigler, Jen Miller, and Cheryl Cesario, to name a few, and we will have more information in the next NODPA News about the education program and the speakers, panelists, and more.
We are excited to announce that one of our Farm Tours will be at Harrison’s Homegrown Organic Dairy Farm, Addison, VT, with owners Melanie and Patrick Harrison serving as our hosts. The Harrison’s farm was the November 2021 NODPA News’ Featured Farm. To refresh your memory, visit this link: /n/6013/Harrisons-Homegrown-Dairy-Farm-Patrick--Melanie-Harrison-Addison-VT
The Harrison’s started farming in Lancaster, PA and moved to Vermont in 2008. They’ve grown their farm to 450 acres, with an additional 450 rented acres. Their milking herd consists of 190 Jerseys, along with 70 replacements. 300 of the farm’s 700 tillable acres are dedicated to pasture, with another 400 acres of perennial grasses and legumes used for making hay, haylage and baleage. There will be a lot to learn from Melanie and Patrick as we visit their beautiful organic dairy farm. Plans for a second farm tour for Thursday morning are in the works, so please stay tuned.
2021-2022 has been a tumultuous year for many in organic dairy, especially those that have had their contracts terminated with Horizon/Danone and Maple Hill. This year, we will ensure that the latest news and information will be available during NODPA Field Days, and we will bring everyone up-to-date about what’s been happening behind the scenes for the past year.
Addison County is located in the Lake Champlain Valley and bordered by the Adirondacks (NYS) to the west and the Green Mountains to the east. Thriving downtowns of Middlebury, Bristol and Vergennes and picturesque villages such as Lincoln, Shoreham, or Starksboro remind you of simpler times. Middlebury is located on Route 7. Central Vermont is rich in agriculture, with many organic and conventional dairy farms.
The NODPA Field Days will be held in the middle of Vermont’s ‘leaf peeping’ season so please plan your lodging now! Most hotels and motels have liberal cancellation policies, so it’s possible to make reservations without a lot of risk. Air B&B’s and VRBO rentals are a good options, too. So, if you are traveling to the area, please plan ahead so you won’t be disappointed.
The 22nd NODPA Field Days officially begins at noon on Thursday, September 29th, with lunch, and is followed by an afternoon of educational workshops, social hour, and an evening banquet with a keynote speaker. Friday morning starts early, with a producer-only meeting at 7:00 am, and a morning of workshops. Following lunch, we travel to Harrison’s Homegrown Organic Dairy in Addison. For those arriving early on Thursday, we will have a pre-meeting farm tour, and that location will be announced soon.
More information about the program, speakers and tours will be available in the May NODPA News, and online at www.nodpa.com. Information on sponsorship and tradeshow opportunities will be sent out soon, too. If you have questions and/or you want to request more sponsorship information, please call Nora Owens, NODPA Field Days Coordinator, at 413-772-0444 or email her at email@example.com.
Remember: Save the Date! We will see you in Vermont in September.