The last of three Organic Dairy 101 workshops on animal health will be held at the Loyal American Legion Hall on March 13. The workshops, sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and funded by the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, target veterinarians and other dairy support professionals, but are open to farmers and others as well.
“We've had good turn outs for these workshops. Most participants report having a small but growing clientele of organic dairy farmers and feel they need to learn more about organic practices and treatments so that they can better serve these farmers,” says Laura Paine, DATCP’s Organic Agriculture Specialist and organizer of the workshop, "Our goal with this project is to provide a science-based introduction to organic dairy herd management."
Speakers for the workshop will include Dr. Guy Jodarski, a Neilsville veterinarian who specializes in organic herd health; Jim Riddle, a University of Minnesota specialist on organic certification; and Dr. Pam Ruegg, University of Wisconsin Milk Quality Specialist. The day will end with a farmer panel showcasing the diversity in organic dairy farms in the state.
The workshops will provide an overview of the organic dairy industry in Wisconsin as well as dispelling some myths surrounding organic herd health management. For instance, vaccination is allowed and encouraged as a means of supporting the animals' immune system. According to Jodarski, one of the most misunderstood aspects of the rule is the use of antibiotics. "The national organic rule prohibits the use of antibiotics, but farmers are obligated to use them if the animal doesn't respond to organic treatments. Animals that are treated with antibiotics cannot remain in the organic herd, but can be sold to a conventional farm," he said.
The workshop is scheduled for 9:30 am to 3:30 pm, March 13 at the Loyal American Legion Hall. For registration information, contact Paine at 608-224-5120, [email protected] or download a brochure from http://www.cias.wisc.edu/organic_farming/.