Learn about Livestock at NOFA-NY’s Annual Winter Conference!

Whether you’re interested in horses, honeybees, small ruminants, meat marketing or biosecurity, NOFA-NY’s Annual Winter Conference (January 22-24 in Saratoga) has something for you. We’re excited to boast two exceptional half-day intensive workshops in this year’s Livestock Track. And registration is open online through January 15.


Be sure not to miss Karma and Michael Glos of Kingbird Farm and Erika Frenay of Cornell’s Small Farms Program as they present on Organic Broiler Production. Karma and Michael Glos are long time organic farmers who own and operate Kingbird Farm in Berkshire, NY along with their daughter Rosemary. Kingbird Farm offers a diverse product list from herbs and vegetables to a variety of meats. Michael and Karma are sought out for their expertise in organic farming practices.Visit the farm’s website to learn more about their diversified operation.


Erika Frenay is the Online Course Manager for Cornell’s Small Farms ShelterbeltFarmProgram; she and her husband also raise vegetables, mushrooms, berries and poultry on Shelterbelt Farm. Check out their Facebook page to see all that they do.

If you’re interested in learning more about recent research findings for managing parasites in small ruminants, our half-day intensive workshop with Dr. Tatiana Stanton from Cornell University’s Department of Animal Science and James Kotcon from West Virginia University will feature just that.

Join us to learn the latest findings in Copper Oxide Wire Particle and high tannin forage trials to combat worms in sheep and goats. You’ll also gain knowledge on how to develop heavy stands of Birdsfoot Trefoil.

kingbirdfarmhorsesOur Saturday and Sunday Livestock program includes interesting topics from Silvopasture to Poultry Feed and Draft Power. You can find the complete listings in our conference brochure. Please contact our office with any questions concerning the Winter Conference at (585) 271-1979 or email register@nofany.org

Thanks and we look forward to seeing you later this month!


Four Innovative Farmers Launch Friday Morning Conference Intensive

unnamed-3See how the power of community and individual ingenuity can be fused to make great tools for the farm and homestead. Kicking off the Gardening and Homesteading track at the upcoming Winter Conference, January 22-24, 2016 in Saratoga Springs is FarmHack, featuring four growers’ perspectives.

Beginning at 9:00 am at this First Friday intensive, you’ll hear from Michael Cohen, a backyard grain grower discussing how he has repurposed and modified commonly available tools and devices to process his backyard grain.


Daniel Grover will discuss horse-powered market gardening equipment, updating the old and modifying new.

Erik Fellenz, certified organic market farmer with welder & shop experience will share time-saving tools he has built for the pack shed and field.

unnamed-2Andy Fellenz, NOFA’s Organic Fruit and Vegetable Coordinator and farmer with son Erik, will discuss a Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) Farmer Grant project to build a high tunnel boom sprayer.  Chris Callahan—an Ag Engineer from the University of Vermont and FarmHack aficionado—will moderate and tie together the different strands.

Bring your questions and thoughts, and be prepared for a morning filled with new ideas and sharing!


Darlings, dogs, and more at Northland Sheep Dairy

Some places just aren’t found by GPS.  I knew to watch for the blushing house at the top of a hill that would mark the spot for Northland Sheep Dairy, so I ignored my GPS warnings that I had “left the designated route” and turned up the gravel drive. It was a spectacular day and I was looking forward to seeing Maryrose Livingston, farmer and also president of NOFA-NY, and her partner Donn Hewes.  I also had another motive for visiting – a few weeks before, Connie the Suffolk mare and Eddie the American Mammoth jack had welcomed a new mule colt– baby boy Bob – and I just had to meet him!

Baby Boy Bob taking a nap.

Baby Boy Bob taking a nap.

Northland Sheep Dairy is located in Marathon New York, about 30 miles outside of Ithaca.   The farm can best be described as a collaboration with nature that is part art, part science.  The result is a healthy, tranquil farm that is essentially self- sustaining.  Maryrose is the shepherd and cheesemaker and Donn works the farm with his team of draft horses and mules.  I had tasted some of Maryrose’s delectable raw sheep’s milk cheese in the past (you have not lived until you have some of Maryrose’s Bergère Bleue cheese), and I was eager to see where it came from.  All of her cheeses are hand made from 100% grass fed sheep, and as we meandered up the lane to the meadow, I could see, smell, and feel the terra that created those cheeses – Birdsfoot trefoil, white clover, wildflowers, herbs, mixed grasses and legumes.  The dogs Jack and Miley came along in hopes for a chance to show off their herding skills, but a stern Maryrose said no, so they had to make do with leaning against me for a pat.   The sheep – about 37 ewes, were peacefully resting in the shade of some trees, and when Maryrose called them, they stood up and gingerly came our way, a bit wary of a stranger and the knowledge of those dogs ready to go to work any minute.

As we strolled past the gigantic bleeding hearts, lilacs, and wild roses tumbling along the path back to the barn, Maryrose explained to me that she had come to raising sheep the long way around.  She started with a passion for dairy cows that began after a visit to Ireland at age 9.  Years later, while still pursuing her dairy farming dream, Maryrose and Donn traveled to Europe on a cheese-making research expedition.  During that trip they spent two months on a sheep dairy farm in Timsbury, and that is where Maryrose fell in love with dairy sheep!  After returning from England, they partnered with pioneering dairy sheep farmers Karl and Jane North, and after 5 years of working with the Norths, purchased the property.

"The darlings" nibble some sweet grass.

“The darlings” nibble some sweet grass.

Maryrose also humored my hankering to see the mules.  Baby Boy Bob was snoozing so soundly, it was all he could do to raise his head a bit for a photo.  Mom Connie gave me a kindly but stern glance – everyone knows you should never wake a sleeping baby.  Outside, the Percheron mares Lady and Polly graciously accepted a pat while being hitched to the spreader.  In the paddock the gawky mule yearling “Tall Pete” and the stoic elder mule “Uncle George” were being pestered by the lively mule filly Lee, who really was in a “girls just wanna have fun” mood.  Poppa Eddie entertained us with an impressive bray!  Some attention here please!

A chat over a pot of tea with cream, some delectable risotto, and a dish of vanilla ice cream with Donn’s freshly made rhubarb sauce and it was back in the car for me.

Thank you Maryrose and Donn for a wonderful visit!  If you would like more information about Northland Sheep Dairy, you can check out their website at www.northlandsheepdairy.com.