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March roars out with organic dairy training for farm advisors; workshop March 27 in McIntosh

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) invites professional dairy advisors to attend the introductory "Organic Dairy 101: A Workshop for Dairy Support Professionals" in Rochester on March 25.

This training is the third of four held in Minnesota. The Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine, American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists, University of Minnesota Extension, and Minnesota Department of Health are all offering continuing education credits in conjunction with the daylong course.

The number of organic dairy farms is rising, and the goal of this training is to help dairy professionals such as veterinarians, nutritionists, extension educators, processors, inspectors, and other state and federal agency staff learn more about organic dairy requirements and performance.

The Rochester workshop will feature practicing veterinarian Guy Jordarski, who will talk about strategies to promote health and treat illness in organic cattle, along with Meg Moynihan, Minnesota Department of Agriculture Organic Specialist; Dennis Johnson, University of Minnesota Dairy Scientist; Paul Peterson, Forage Extension Educator; and Glen Borgerding, an organic soil and cropping consultant.

Jack LaValla, Farm Management Instructor at Riverland Community College will also provide information to participants. Organic dairy farmers Steve O'Reilly (Goodhue) and Tom and Karen Wencl (Blooming Prairie) will describe how their own organic dairies function on a day-to-day basis.

Workshop topics include organic certification, including the legal and practical requirements; livestock health and nutrition; economics; and organic dairy performance. This professional development training will emphasize scientific understanding as well as practical experience.

The workshop will be held March 25 at the Holiday Inn - South in Rochester from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. The $35 registration fee includes a lunch break featuring organic food. To view the program or register go to or call 320-226-6318.

This workshop will be offered once more in McIntosh on March 27.

A team including MDA staff, dairy producers, scientists and a veterinarian designed the series. Funding came from the USDA North Central SARE program. Other key partners include Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection and the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota. Regional Minnesota Dairy Initiative teams are serving as local hosts.