Soil quality in pasture-based systems is the theme of the Ninth Annual Maine Grazing Conference for meat producers, scheduled 8:00 a.m.–3:15 p.m., March 23 at Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield.
Co-sponsored by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, the conference will include soil enhancement ideas, nationally known speakers and a meat competition.
The keynote speaker is soil-quality expert Ray Archuleta from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Technology Center in North Carolina. Archuleta will discuss “Improving Soil Health by Mimicking Nature.”
Cole Ward of Vermont, known as the “Gourmet Butcher,” will demonstrate cutting and processing a side of beef during the conference. Ward has worked throughout the country preparing meat props for CBS studios and national TV commercials, and specialty meat cuts for Hollywood celebrities. Other conference presentations include forage species selection options with UMaine Extension Professor Richard Kersbergen; U.S. Department of Agriculture program opportunities; and a producer spotlight featuring Steve Sinisi from Old Crow Ranch in Durham, Maine. Sinisi will describe his pastured poultry and pork operation.
Other grazing conference co-sponsors include the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association; NRCS; Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry; and Maine Beef Producers Association.
Participants are invited to bring a locally grown pork, lamb or goat chop, or beef rib eye, to the conference to be judged by a panel of experts.
Registration information is available by contacting the University of Maine Cooperative Extension office in Waldo County, 207.342.5971, or by visiting the Maine Grass Farmers Network website. For more information or to request disability accommodations, call 207.342.5917 or 800.287.1426 instate, at least 14 days before the conference.