The project provided education to pasture-based dairy farmers, particularly organic producers, in Vermont and beyond on production risk management strategies in the face of weather extremes. Education was provided through two on-farm field days, two webinars, two instructional videos, and one presentation at an annual organic dairy producers’ conference.
Because high-quality, home-grown forage is essential to the success of these farm businesses, the project focused on agronomic strategies that can be used to help mitigate risks associated with weather extremes. These include: a) ensuring proper soil nutrition, b) steps to avoid poor pasture practices like over-grazing, and c) introduction of new techniques like pasture irrigation systems and the production of cool and warm season annual crops to extend and/or enhance pasture.
The project reached 545 farmers and agricultural service providers. As a result of our efforts, 272 farmers increased their knowledge about agronomic strategies to manage production risks in the face of weather extremes; and no fewer than 39 farmers indicated they changed their farming practices to mitigate their production risks associated with weather extremes.