Thanks to the hard work of organizers and a bevy of top-notch speakers, the latest Great Lakes Forage and Grazing Conference was a huge success. The conference, held March 7-8 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center during Agriculture and Natural Resources week, saw attendance increase 64 percent from 2011.
Innovative producers throughout Michigan as well as some of the best researchers in the country were invited to discuss feeding topics and grazing information. But the biggest hits among conference-goers, according to organizer Jerry Lindquist, were those that put a new twist on familiar topics.
Joshua Dukart, a certified holistic management educator based in North Dakota, discussed how cover crops could increase soil quality, which would in turn extend the grazing season and help lower the cost of raising livestock. There was another story of one Michigan farmer who gets more value out of his sheep by milking them and producing cheese.
“We are very pleased that we saw a nice spike in the attendance figures. We know we provided the right information for the farmers and agribusiness community, and we received great comments from those in attendance about the quality of the speakers we brought in,” Lindquist said.
This is a great example of how MSUE is “new” and how our targeted programming can attract new and larger audiences while providing them the tools they need for greater productivity or profitability. Congratulations to the Forage and Grazing work groups and the Michigan Forage Council for working together to put on such a wonderful event. And they will use this experience to build on to make next year an even bigger success.