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  • Organic
  • Dairy
  • IPM
  • Cornell AgriTech

New York Certified Organic’s annual farmer-to-farmer meetings are designed to help local farmers make connections and build relationships to help them succeed.

Register online or by leaving a message at (315) 787-2432.  For additional information, contact Bryan Brown at bjb342 [at] (bjb342[at]cornell[dot]edu).

Dairy Meeting Agenda 

Date & Time

January 9, 2024
9:00 am - 2:00 pm

interseeded cover crop in corn

Dairy Meeting Agenda

  • 10 a.m. - Coffee and introductions
  • 10:30 a.m. - What questions should we be asking? Feed conversion and income over feed costs for different organic dairy feeding systems
    Mary Kate MacKenzie, Cornell PRO-DAIRY
  • 11 a.m. - Farmer panel: Strategies for Success when Organic Dairy Margins are Tight
    Nathan Weaver, Cazenovia, NY • Eric Ziehm, High Meadows of Hoosick, Hoosick Falls, NY • Tim Christiansen, Townridge Farms, Penn Yan, NY  • Melanie & Patrick Harrison, Harrison’s Homegrown, Addison, VT
  • 12:15 p.m. - Potluck lunch
  • 1 p.m. - Open discussion
  • 2 p.m. - Adjourn 

Farmer panelist biographies

Nathan Weaver

Cazenovia, NY

Nathan Weaver moved from Mt. Hope, OH to Canastota, New York in 2006, where he started a grazing dairy with his wife, Kristine, and their children. The dairy was certified organic in 2011 and began shipping 100% grassfed milk through Organic Valley in 2014. Nathan shares his innovative approach to managing rotational grazing, perennial pastures, and soil health at producer meetings and as a contributor to Graze Magazine. He cites soil health and fertility through proper grazing management as keys to success, especially when profit margins are tight. Several years ago, Nathan and Kristine moved to Cazenovia, New York, where they started a new dairy farm after turning the original farm over to one of their sons.

Melanie & Patrick Harrison

Harrison’s Homegrown, Addison, VT

Melane and Patrick Harrison operate Harrisons Homegrown Organic Dairy in Addison, Vermont. While they began their dairy farming journey together in 2002 on a conventional dairy farm in Lancaster, PA they moved their dairy to Vermont in 2008 and transitioned to organic in 2011. Since then, they have grown and evolved their farm enterprise to their current herd of 190 jersey cows and additional youngstock on over 700 acres of intensively managed pasture and organic perennial forages.  Their focus on infrastructure improvements, forage management, good grazing, breeding, and calving, and animal health has helped them grow and maintain a viable farm business. This focus on management combined with creativity, adaptability, and a willingness to try new things is the key to their success over the last 20+ years.

Tim Christiansen

Townridge Farms, Penn Yan, NY

Tim Christiansen is a fourth-generation operator of Townridge Farms LLC in Penn Yan, New York, and a longtime NYCO attendee. Together with his brother and cousin, Tim manages 150 Holsteins and 1,100 certified organic crop acres, producing feed for the dairy herd and grain for sale. They grow soft red wheat and soft white wheat, which they sell Birkett Mills, who mills the wheat for Wegmans. To keep the dairy viable, they focus on utilizing technology to improve efficiency and accelerate genetic improvement of the herd. On the side, Tim is a dealer for Blue River Organic Seed, and he is open to other diversification opportunities. Townridge Farms is a member in the Upstate Niagara Cooperative, where Tim serves on the delegate board.

Eric Ziehm

High Meadows of Hoosick, Hoosick Falls, NY

After operating a 1,200-cow conventional dairy with his two brothers, Eric Ziehm decided to go in a different direction. In 2018, he established High Meadows of Hoosick LLC, a certified organic dairy in Hoosick Falls, New York. Eric revived an older dairy facility with the addition of a new 3-row free stall barn and a swing 16 parlor. Today, the farm has 260 mature cows and 100 heifers, mostly Jerseys, and they ship milk to Stonyfield in Londonderry, NH. Cows are grazed on 260 acres of pasture, with another 50 acres of pasture used for the bred heifers and 550 rented acres for forage production. During the grazing season, Eric’s goal is to maximize pasture intake while continually improving pasture quality. On the crop side, he strives to produce high quality forages using practices like no-till and cover cropping that build soil health and sequester carbon.

About NYCO Winter Meetings

NYCO winter meetings have grown from a gathering of six organic grain producers in the Martens Farms farmhouse kitchen in 1992 to filling the auditorium at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva. Subscribe by emailing NYCO-group-L-request [at] (NYCO-group-L-request[at]cornell[dot]edu) with "join" as the subject and no text in the body of the email. Unsubscribe by emailing NYCO-group-L-request [at] (NYCO-group-L-request[at]cornell[dot]edu) with "leave" as the subject and no text in the body of the email.

More information about this event.

Contact Information

Bryan Brown



New York State Integrated Pest Management

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