Organic Livestock Production for Beginners
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Join Will Winter, DVM and Wayne, Karla, Barry and Jake Kostka of Castle Rock Organic Farms for a day-long intensive training designed for beginning livestock farmers. Learn what it takes to produce high quality organic livestock and livestock products in a pasture-based system. Poultry, hogs, sheep, cattle and goat production will be covered in detail. The training will consist of a morning classroom session, followed by a lunch featuring local and organic foods, and then a tour of the farm and processing facilities.
Pasture-based, low-input organic livestock production represents one of the best opportunities for beginning farmers. Demand for high quality, locally produced meat, dairy and eggs continues to rapidly grow and currently demand outstrips supply. This opportunity can only be seized if a beginning farmer is properly prepared. This training will give you an inside look at one of the most successful direct-marketed organic livestock farms: Castle Rock Organic Farms. Plus, you'll gain insights from veterinarian Will Winter, who has a wealth of holistic animal production experience.
This day-long intensive class will include discussions of livestock production basics (soils, pasture, water, fencing, genetics, animal health, feed rations and nutrition) and detailed marketing information on how to build relationships to process and sell your products. We will also take walking tours of the farm to discuss pasture management, livestock infrastructure, and examine the pastured hog, pastured sheep and goat, and pastured poultry enterprises.
An optional tour of the Castle Rock dairy and creamery will be held immediately after the class for those interested in organic dairy production and processing. In addition, a local artisan cheese, sausage and beer tasting will be held in the evening at the Foster Cheese House restaurant, and an optional dinner is available for those interested in staying for an ongoing discussion with Will Winter and local chefs.
This intensive training is designed with beginning farmers in mind and is recommended for young adults interested in becoming organic farmers, or for others looking to make a life transition to farming as a part or full-time occupation. MOSES Organic Specialists will be on hand with free educational information and with a selection of pertinent books for purchase.
This training is limited in size to ensure a high quality learning experience. Please register by July 13th.
“This project is supported by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, Grant #2011-49400-30756.”
9:00 am Registration and Light Breakfast
5:00 pm Optional Tour of the Castle Rock Dairy and Creamery
6:30 pm Optional Cheese, Beer and Sausage Tasting at Foster Cheese House
In 1980, he created what became one of the largest and most successful holistic veterinary practices in the United States. He is a co-founder of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. He writes for several eco-agriculture and livestock grazing journals and websites. He has served as the veterinary advisor to the International Alliance of Sustainable Agriculture since 1984. He is the author of The Holistic Veterinary Handbook.
In 1999, he retired from his practice and said goodbye to his MN license so that he could focus full-time on lecturing and writing about holistic veterinary livestock issues, sustainable agriculture and traditional nutrition. He recently founded the American Holistic Livestock Association. He is the chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation for Minneapolis-St. Paul and moderates several web discussion groups. Since 2005 he has been the herd consultant for the Thousand Hills Cattle Company. He is the founder and owner of Rescue Animal Products and the developer of Restoration Raw Pet Food.
Will’s interest in organic, artisanal foods, holistic animal production and for linking farmers with consumers has resulted in partnerships with a number of organic producers, including the Kostkas. Will has recognized that connecting farmers to consumers is often the most difficult part of securing a market, so his pasture-based production models are based upon building relationships between the farmer and consumers, chefs, buying clubs and retail outlets.
Castle Rock Organic Farms
Milk processing began at Castle Rock Farms in 2005 and since has grown to include cheese, ice cream and other products. The Kostkas son, Barry, and his family manage the dairy herd of about 250 head of cattle and approximately 800 acres of organic cropland. Jake is the dairy plant manager and licensed cheesemaker. He processes milk from the farm into fluid creamline milk, cheeses, ice cream and other products. Karla is the office manager; she works in sales and marketing, and does the human relations managing as well. Together, the Kostkas practice stewardship of land, body and soul and have been certified organic for cropland since 2000 and the dairy herd since 2003.