Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Forage and Grassland Council will host the 2010 Winter Forage Conference at four locations on Jan. 25-28. The conference's focus will be "Managing Risk in Grazing Systems" and will feature grazing innovator Greg Judy of Clark, Mo.

The daylong conference will be repeated at four locations:

  • Monday, Jan. 25, at the Brandy Station Fire Hall in Brandy Station, Va.;
  • Tuesday, Jan. 26, at Mrs. Rowe's Country Buffet in Mt. Crawford, Va.;
  • Wednesday, Jan. 27, at the Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Center (AREC) in Blackstone, Va.; and
  • Thursday, Jan. 28, at the Wytheville Meeting Center in Wytheville, Va.

Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the conference will adjourn at 3:45 p.m. each day.

"These conferences will provide an ideal opportunity for all livestock producers to understand the application of holistic, high-density grazing to improve profitability and animal performance," said Gordon Groover, Extension farm business management specialist. "Mr. Judy’s afternoon discussion will focus on his knowledge and more than a decade of experience building and maintaining relationships on more than 1,400 acres of leased land and 10 different landlords."

In addition to his experience direct-marketing grass-fed beef, pork, and lamb, Judy has authored No Risk Ranching: Custom Grazing on Leased Land and Comeback Farms: Rejuvenating Soils, Pastures and Profits with Livestock Grazing Management.

The program aims to motivate livestock producers to consider alternatives in order to improve animal performance and overall production, improve forage quality and quantity, and ultimately increase farm profitability. Other speakers at the conference will cover a wide range of topics:

  • Chris Teutsch, associate professor of crop and soil environmental sciences at Virginia Tech's Southern Piedmont AREC and an Extension forage specialist, will discuss shrinking feed costs with extended grazing.
  • Gordon Groover, associate professor of agricultural and applied economics at Virginia Tech, will address how to determine a farm's profitable stocking rates.
  • Jim Parkhurst, associate professor of fisheries and wildlife sciences at Virginia Tech and an Extension wildlife specialist, will share alternative profit sources from marketing wildlife and environmental amenities on a farm.
  • The Virginia Forage and Grassland Council will also hold a business meeting during the conference.

For more information or to register for the conference, contact Margaret Kenny at (434) 292-5331. The $25 early registration fee must be postmarked by Dec. 31, 2009. After the New Year, the registration fee is $35 per person.

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service are also sponsoring the conference.

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