Preserving Clover Creek, Sustaining Farms

| 0 Comments | 0 TrackBacks

May 23, 2011 from 10 am to 2 pm

Mill Hill Dairy 161 Mill Hill Road Williamsburg,PA and Ojala Farm 5161 Clover Creek Road Williamsburg, PA


milking-cows.jpgThe Pennsylvania Women's Agricultural Network (PA-WAgN) is offering a field day on May 23 focusing on conservation projects and available conservation funding at two farms in Blair County: Ojala Farm and Mill Hill Dairy.


David and Terry Rice at Ojala Farm sell raw milk from the farm, grass-based beef, eggs from pastured poultry, and artisan cheese.  The Rice family owns 126 acres of pasture and woods bordering Clover Creek and milks 60-80 Jersey, Ayrshire, Milking Shorthorn, Holstein, and cross-bred cattle, rotating them to fresh pasture after each milking. They milk in a New Zealand-style swing parlor. This farm has always emphasized sustainable agriculture and is a 2005 recipient of the Pennsylvania Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Farm Award.


 At Ojala Farm, you will see how grazing with fenced paddocks has made a small dairy farm profitable. Dave and Terry Rice moved to a grass-based seasonal dairy 15 years ago. They turn most of their milk into artisan aged raw-milk cheeses like gouda, cheddar, feta, and blue that are sold at the farm and at farmers' markets throughout the state.. rice making cheese.jpgWe'll tour the grazing paddocks, milking barn, and cheesemaking facility and learn how their grass-based system has benefited their bottom line as well as their water and soil quality. Their farm model, with only 72-head of cattle, requires little equipment and fuel, an advantage in today's environment of rising fuel costs.


At Mill Hill Dairy, we'll learn how a 200-year old farm has added 21st century conservation practices to increase its profitability. Mill Hill Dairy, which has been in the Biddle family since 1797, is currently owned by Jim and Carol Biddle. They produce crops and milk 370-head of Holsteins. The Biddles, who were awarded the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Farm Award in 2010, have a long history of implementing best management practices that help reduce soil erosion, streambank protection, and nutrient loss.


Sarah Biddle and conservationists Rob Clauto and Rich Huether will demonstrate the environmental practices that the Biddles have installed on their dairy farm over many years. Their newest project, a ½ acre bee pollinator area, includes native wildflowers and wildlife cover that will encourage greater pollination of crops at the same time it protects wildlife. Other projects include a composted manure bedding pack that

no till.jpeg

allows a manure-sawdust mixture to compost over the winter months providing cattle comfort and high-quality fertilizer; paddocks and stream crossings for rotational grazing; and no-till crop production.



Over lunch, we'll meet at a local Community-Supported Agriculture farm to enjoy local food and hear from the experts on how to fund conservation practices on your own farm. If you would like to fence paddocks for rotational grazing at your farm or add streambank fencing, water lines, or a high tunnel, you can learn about the funding available from the Natural Resource Conservation Service for these and other projects. And for new and beginning farmers (those farming for 10 years or less), NRCS will fund as much as 90% percent of the cost.



The $15 registration fee inlcudes lunch & materials.


Your Feedback: If you plan to attend the field day and/or would just like to talk about the topic, please leave a comment below. You can also post your photos or videos to share with others.




No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL:

Leave a comment

Search This Blog

Full Text  Tag

Recent Entries

Cooperative Marketing
Cooperative marketing can be a great way for small farmers to work together to expand their local customer base. At…
Wild Mushrooms at Shaver's Creek
We recently visited with Eric Burkhart at Penn State's Shaver's Creek Environmental Center to learn a bit about wild mushrooms.…
The Bookamer's Farm Pix
We've spent some time these past few weeks at the Bookamer Family Farm... and we don't know why we left!…