About a week ago, VT was visited by our illustrious NY grazing partner-in-crime Troy Bishopp of Bishopp Family Farm. For those of you who don't know Troy, you can acquaint yourself with his writing and farming activities at his web site:
Technically, Troy was visiting our comprehensive grazing training group for our second training in the series (on planned grazing, more on that in another post). Troy is never one to avoid over commitment (and apparently neither am I), so he agreed to come a day early and lead a training for farmers wanting to improve their media skills. The training was great (although too short to get to all the topics), and one of our attendees showed up the rest of the group by submitting a letter to the editor the very next day! Even though I do outreach and media work a lot, there was plenty for me to learn and the process gave me a good kick to restart our VPN blog. For those with long memories, we had a blog several years ago, but the interface was grumpy and cumbersome. A new day.
As a result of the media training and the advent of our new (again) blog, I'm announcing a grass-based grassroots media campaign. Let's spread the word about the benefits of grazing to the public. Let's share our perspectives as grass-based farmers through our newspapers and with our neighbors. Let's talk with farmers and neighbors (and farming neighbors!) about new ideas to address water quality, farm profitability and quality of life. Let's step up with our stories of success so that policy and decision makers can learn from us.
So I've just started with some quick notes in several local newspapers:
Submitted to the Randolph Herald 4/11/11:
Caption: NY farmer and "Grass Whisperer", Troy Bishopp, recently visited Bethany Church teaching local farmers how to become more media-friendly. Bishopp encourages farmers to share their experience and perspectives about current events and how they relate back to farm issues. Workshop attendee Jinny Cleland of Four Springs Farm took the plunge with her Herald letter to the editor in last week's paper. (Photo: Jenn Colby)
and to the VT Standard in Woodstock, VT 4/12/11:
Caption: Bill & Cathy Emmons of Cloudland Farm hosted a training workshop for agricultural advisors helping farmers improve their pasture management skills. NY farmer and "Grass Whisperer" Troy Bishopp and Jennifer Colby of the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture led the training for attendees from five states. After grazing on a delicious roast beef and caramelized onion sandwich buffet, the group was ready to dive back into debating the finer points of grazing grass and clovers. (Photo: Jenn Colby)
So let the grazing smackdown begin!