On July 13th, the New England Livestock Alliance hosted its first SARE-sponsored workshop entitled “Raising Natural and Grass-fed Beef.” Through this conference, NELA provided information about how to raise and finish grass-fed beef to interested farmers, landowners and agricultural professionals. Agency representatives included personnel from the Cooperative Extension services of several northeastern states, NRCS, and personnel from various state agencies.
There were over 75 people in attendance. In addition to guest speakers David Hartman, beef extension specialist from Pennsylvania State University, Mike Baker from Cornell University, Karen Sullivan, animal scientist from USDA-NRCS, and Nancy Matheson-Burns from distributors Dole & Bailey. NELA staffer Bryan Petrucci was conference moderator and Matt LeRoux spoke on ultrasound carcass evaluation.
Topics presented ranged from maximizing the nutrition present in pastures, research being done on forage-fed cattle, varieties of forage, and marketing opportunities for producers raising grass-fed beef.
At the close of the conference, NELA staff member Bryan Petrucci solicited any interested producers and agricultural professionals that would be interested in participating in the workgroups described in the grant.
In late September, the Northeast Livestock Alliance’s (NELA) board of directors voted to pursue immediate dissolution of the organization. This action reflected the recognition that NELA inability to meet its outstanding financial obligations. As a result, NELA will not be fulfilling the terms of its contract with SARE.
Of the 35 Extension and agricultural professionals, at least 15 will understand and advocate for grassfed livestock farming, and 10 will identify and work with at least 50 farmers interested in converting to grassfed farming within 18 months.