- Agronomic: corn, peanuts, sorghum (milo), soybeans, grass (misc. perennial), hay
- Animal Products: dairy
- Animal Production: housing, parasite control, feed additives, feed rations, grazing management, herbal medicines, homeopathy, mineral supplements, pasture fertility, pasture renovation, preventive practices, grazing - rotational, stocking rate, stockpiled forages, watering systems, winter forage, feed/forage
- Crop Production: conservation tillage
- Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, mentoring, workshop
- Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, cooperatives, agricultural finance, risk management, value added, whole farm planning
- Pest Management: biological control, weed ecology
- Production Systems: transitioning to organic, agroecosystems, organic agriculture
- Soil Management: earthworms, green manures
- Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures
Information exchange tours for groups of professionals, including extension personnel, NRCS personnel, dairy farmers, and organic dairy industry representatives met in North Carolina and in Arkansas to share information on organic dairy farming from each State. Thus the participants were able to determine the problems and begin achieving possible solutions to enhance the efficiency and profitability of organic dairy farming in the Southern region. The emphasis of the exchange tours was to identify the information needs of dairy farmers for organic dairy production, especially during the transition year, and to establish the characteristics of the more successful producers. Information collected on the exchange trips, especially from the dairy farmers, was used to plan conferences. Additionally, a list of vendors and products used by the organic dairies visited will be made available to other professionals and dairy farmers. The specific topics covered were based on the input from farmers and others on the information exchange tours. Other speakers as deemed appropriate from discussions of the groups on the exchange tours were contacted to arrange for the conferences. A web site was constructed with the agenda for the conferences.
1. Conduct information exchange tours for eight people (2-3 dairy farmers, 2-3 extension personnel, 1 NRCS or FSA agent, and 1 organic dairy industry representative) related to organic dairy production in Arkansas and eight in North Carolina so that they can share problems and successes associated with organic dairy production. The information from the exchange trips and conferences should enhance the sustainability of the farmers and educators by making them more knowledgeable of proper and efficient use of resources on the dairies, especially feeding and pasture management, fertilizers for sound environmental management, organic treatment of diseases, and control of external and internal parasites.
2. Conduct organic dairy conferences in both Arkansas and North Carolina for a total of 80 students (40 at each site), e.g. extension specialists and agents, personnel from NRCS and FSA, veterinarians, and other organic industry contacts. Additionally, 12-15 speakers/helpers will attend each conference.
3. Of the 80 attending one of the two regional organic livestock workshops, 60 will become more knowledgeable of organic farming production methods and proven therapies and treatments. Additionally, 25 will reconvene by teleconference in January, 2010, to discuss case studies, on-farm experiences, and build on the new resources and information that was learned at the organic livestock health workshop, and 20 will actively engage in using at least 2 new management practices or complementary treatments with their clients.
4. Professional educators (Extension, NRCS, FSA, etc.) and farmers will be more knowledgeable of organic dairy farming in the South through (a) the distribution of 100 CDs of materials from the project and (b) the web site established to publicize the conferences and also make organic dairy information available to individuals throughout the southern region. The web site will be monitored for numbers of hits.