Organic and grassfed beef is a growing industry throughout the Midwest. The 2009 Grassfed and Organic Beef Field Days are the perfect opportunity to learn more about the production industry. With opportunities to visit farms across Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota, visitors will learn about the differences in production between grassfed and grain fed, grazing techniques and see actual production numbers.
Tour dates and locations follow:
July 21-22 in Nebraska. The South Dakota Grassland Coalition and Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition are sponsoring a bus trip to Pat Steffen’s ranch located near Wynot, Neb., on July 21; and Dave Fischer and Martin Kleinschmidt of Fordyce, Neb., on July 22. Steffen is an organic producer, discussing custom grazing systems. Fischer and Kleinschmidt worked closely together creating an irrigated rotational grazing system. That evening a round table discussion with panelists from all aspects of the industry, will take place. The second day the tour travels to the Wayne Rasmussen ranch near Vertigre, Neb. Rasmussen will discuss grazing corn, extending the season and grass-finished beef.
Aug. 7 in Iowa. Tom and Irene Frantzen will host a tour of their 370-acre organic farm in New Hampton, Iowa, on Aug. 7 from 2 to 5 p.m. Discussion topics will range from the Iowa Farm Bureau’s carbon sequestration program, to weed control in organic soybean fields, to a comparison between grass-fed and grain-fed cattle. A light supper will follow sponsored by the Midwest Organic Sustainable Education Service. The Frantzens raise cattle, hogs, corn, soybeans, barley, forages and alternative crops on 370 acres. They have practiced holistic management since 1992. All crops/livestock have been marketed organic since 2002.
Aug. 18 in Wisconsin. Jim Munsch, will host a field day/pasture walk in Coon Valley, Wis., from 4 to 8 p.m. Munsch has a herd of organic grass-fed beef cattle. He finishes steers and sells meat through Harmony Valley CSA. He represents one of 10 Wisconsin farms that are involved in the tri-state research project exploring the cost of production and profit potential of grassfed and organic beef. The first year’s figures for the project will be presented. Munsch also will share information from an on-going study of utilizing legumes as a nitrogen source for organic pastures.
Sept. 3 in Nebraska. Kevin Uhing will host a field day/pasture walk from 10 a.m. to noon near Harington, Neb. Discussion will include no ear grazing corn and irrigated pasture.
Sept. 12 in Wisconsin. Jim and Ginger Quick will host a field day at 10 a.m. After a noon lunch, the visit will continue at John Hoppa and Stephenie Buhrow’s alfalfa pasture. The day will start with a walk of the beef pastures, pasture renovation, watering system and cattle movement systems with an overview of the poultry and gardening operation and our involvement in the Fox River Local Foods Network. At noon, as part of the lunch break, a presentation of the beef research project results will be offered. At 1 p.m. the tour shifts over to John Hoppa and Stephenie Buhrow to see 100-acres of alfalfa pasture, above ground water lines, new cattle handling system, pastured hogs, meat chickens, sheep operation, six acres of pearl millet, grazing corn and more.The tours and field days are sponsored by Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE). For farm directions and more information on the grassfed beef project, visit www.iavaap.org.
Margaret Smith, Iowa State University Extension Value Added Agriculture Program, (515) 290-4456, firstname.lastname@example.org
Christa Hartsook, ISU Extension Value Added Agriculture Program, (515) 460-5034, email@example.com