Multi-species enterprise conference May 23-24

A conference focused on developing rural enterprises based on sustainable livestock and resource management strategies is scheduled May 23-24 at the Ritzville La Quinta Inn.

Keynote speaker An Peischel of Tennessee State University will discuss goat management and livestock grazing behavior in relation to invasive vegetation management, creating niche markets and enterprise development.

Producers Dave Billingsley and Chuck Perry of Country Natural Beef; Joel Huesby from Thundering Hooves; Craig Madsen with Healing Hooves; and Julie and Dave Dashiell from Hunter, Wash., will discuss marketing, sustainability and the holistic nature of their operations that include producing and marketing branded meat products, USDA-inspected mobile slaughter facilities, contract vegetation management and multi-species grazing.

The conference includes a field tour of the Sprague Lake invasive vegetation field trials located at the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife boat launch on the south shore of the lake. The tour will include a field review of invasive vegetation management using goats, a discussion of the WDFW interpretive trail program, a review of USDA Farm Bill programs and a historical perspective on land use of this area.

The vegetation management project was undertaken to observe the effects of multi-species grazing on weeds in wetlands. Another part of this project is taking place on upland environments in eastern Washington.

The Sustainable Agriculture Research Education (SARE) -sponsored project is being conducted in partnership with private landowners, a contract goat graizier, Washington State University, WDFW, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Big Bend Resource Conservation and Development Council and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. The conference and tour are partially funded by a SARE grant. 

Conference registration is $35 if made by May 16 and includes two lunches and a pitchfork steak fry. Registration checks must be made payable to Mid-Columbia Chapter SRM and mailed to Big Bend RC&D, 2145 Basin St. S.W., Suite E, Ephrata, WA, 98823.

Rooms have been reserved at the La Quinta with a room rate of $49 plus tax.  To reserve a room call (509) 659-1007 and request the “SARE” block of rooms.

For more information contact Andrea Mann at (509)754-2463 ext. 115 or Don Nelson at (509) 335-2922.

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