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Pasture Soil Health Creates Wealth
July 17-19, 2014 | Morrisville State College


Held at Morrisville State College, Morrisville, NY, Grasstravaganza 2014 Pasture Soil Health Creates Wealth will feature a trade show, soil health stations and presentations by national and local grazing and soil health experts who will cover a range of topics. For driving directions to Morrisville State College, click here.


Ray Archuleta is a Conservation Agronomist at the NRCS East National Technology Center, in Greensboro, North Carolina. Ray teaches soil health and the principles of agroecology throughout the country.  He has 25 years of experience with the Natural Resources Conservation Service working in New Mexico, Missouri, Oregon, and now in North Carolina and has held the following positions: Soil Conservation technician, Soil Conservationist, Nutrient/Irrigation Specialist, Water Quality Project Manager, District Conservationist, and Area Agronomist. He is also a Certified Professional Soil Scientist with Soil Science Society of America. Ray worked for two years in Guatemala as a Livestock Specialist in the Peace Corps. His infectious enthusiasm for soil health has earned him the moniker, Ray the Soils Guy.  He has a B.S. in Agricultural Biology.

Jerry Brunetti is managing director of Agri-Dynamics, a 34-year-old company engaged in ecological systems approaches to livestock, crop and horticultural programs. Jerry is also co-founder of Earthworks, a company engaged since 1991 in instituting biological practices in the golf course and landscape industries. Jerry was an animal science major at North Carolina State University. He served as Regional Dairy Director of the National Farmers Organization in the Northeast for five years. He founded and served on the Lower Mt. Bethel Township Environmental Advisory Council and is currently on the board of Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), is an honorary board member of the Weston A. Price Foundation and is active in other community based organizations devoted to rebuilding local food systems and local democracy.

Jim Gerrish is an author and independent grazing lands consultant providing service to farmers and ranchers on both private and public lands across the US and internationally. He currently lives in the Pahsimeroi Valley in central Idaho and works with numerous ranchers across the US and Canada using both irrigated pastures and native rangeland as well as working in the high natural rainfall environments of the eastern US. He received a BS in Agronomy from the University of Illinois and MS in Crop Ecology from University of Kentucky. His past experience includes over 22 years of  beef-forage systems research and outreach while on the faculty of the University of Missouri.

Jim was co-founder of the very popular multi-day grazing management workshop program at FSRC. These schools were attended by over 3000 producers and educators from 39 states and 4 Canadian provinces from their inception in 1990  through 2003. He is an instructor in the University of Idaho’s Lost River Grazing Academy held annually near Salmon ID. He typically speaks at 40 to 50 producer-oriented workshops, seminars, and field days around the US and Canada each year.

While he was deeply involved in the Green Hills Farm Project, a grassroots producer group centered in north-central Missouri and emphasizing sustainability of family farms. He is currently working with the local, natural food networks in the West. His research and outreach efforts have been recognized with awards from the American Forage and Grassland Council, Missouri Forage and Grassland Council, National Center for Appropriate Technology, USDA-NRCS, the Soil and Water Conservation Society,
Progressive Farmer, and American Agricultural Editors Association.

Assemblyman Bill Magee earned a bachelors degree in agricultural economics  from Cornell University in 1961. He was elected to represent the Town of Nelson on the Madison County Board of Supervisors where he served for 19 years until his election to the Assembly in 1990. He was made Chairman of both the Legislative Commission on Dairy Industry Development and the Assembly Agriculture Committee in 1999. Among his most notable achievements to date: he sponsored and led the fight for approval of the Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact which will provide a stable milk price for dairy farmers all over this state; he led the rally for the passage of the Farmland Viability Act which provides financial and technical assistance to farmers seeking to improve their production techniques or better market their products; and he has remained committed to lowering taxes and fees for our struggling farmers. He is committed to reducing electric rates for farmers, working for economic development programs that specifically target the agriculture industry, and is working with farmers and producers along with retailers and wholesalers in assisting them in selling more New York products in New York.

Deb Howard is SUNY’s Sustainability Coordinator. A graduate of the University of Michigan law school, served as a higher education lawyer for the Maryland Office of the Attorney General before joining the administration at Washington University in St. Louis. From the start of her tenure at Washington University she worked on sustainability issues, including helping to draft the university’s strategic plan for sustainable operations and, ultimately, serving as the University’s Interim Director of Sustainability. Since January 2012, Deborah has served as Director of Sustainability for SUNY – an opportunity that allows her to implement and bring to scale cutting-edge sustainability initiatives across the entire 64-campus system and the State of New York.


Soil Health Stations at the Morrisville State College Dairy Complex

Ray Archuleta will show and discuss the soil health benefits of different cover crop mixtures on land that has had tillage, and compare it to undisturbed woodland soils on both land uses. Methods for conversion of crop land to pasture land, and the benefits to soil health will also be discussed.

Jerry Brunetti will look at a pasture that is being reseeded using different methods and mixtures of plants and compare it to a monoculture. He will also discuss how the plants benefit from diversity both in the soil and through interrelationships with other plants, and the various advantages to grazing animal health. A demonstration of how to use a Brix meter and discussion of what the readings indicate will also be held.

Jim Gerrish will discuss improving pasture soil health through different grazing rest periods, as well as combinations of plants to achieve your goals for the soil on your farm. A discussion of pasture soil compaction and methods to improve infiltration, including a demonstration plot of Dicon radish will be included.


Farm Tours

Dairy with Ray Archuleta: The dairy tour will visit Bruce Rivington’s 400 cow seasonal dairy, where we will hear about how Bruce converted long-term row cropped prime river bottom land to pasture. We will look at the soil on that land with Ray Archuleta and discuss the improvement that has happened through 14 years of grazing. There will also be a discussion of their Kriemhild Dairy Farms grass-fed butter and plans for product expansion.

Equine with Jerry Brunetti: The equine tour will visit Morrisville State College’s equine facility pastures, and compare areas that have had good versus poor grazing management with farm manager Mike Mazza. A conversation about pasture as a source of nutrition for horses with Jerry Brunetti will be held, as well as pasture management changes that can be made to improve soil and horse health.  There will also be a discussion of best management practices that horse owners can use to minimize the negative impacts horses can have on natural resources such as water quality and nutrient runoff.

Diverse Livestock with Jim Gerrish: The diverse livestock tour will visit Ingallside Meadows Farm, owned by Daniel Kline and family, who raise grass-fed beef, pastured pork, chickens for meat and eggs, and turkeys.  We will look at the benefits to soil health and plants through integrating different species of livestock and management strategies that optimize the results with Jim Gerrish. A discussion of direct marketing through farmers markets will conclude the farm tour.