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Animal Farms: The Spectrum of Sustainability in Beef and Dairy | Site Visit at the 2018 SAFSF Forum
June 20, 2018 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm PDT
Join farmers, advocates, investors, and other experts on a day of deep learning, tromping through wildly healthy pastures, and being charmed by calves (and their elder herd members, too). We will rise and shine to be on the road early, and take advantage of our time on the bus with quick talks, including background on the dairy and beef industries and distinctions in production methods that differentiate them. We will drive past industrial-scale feedlots and dairies, and discuss their impact on rural economies, public health, water, air, and quality of life for neighboring community members. We’ll also hear about legal strategies and coalition efforts to move the dairy and beef industries in a more sustainable and just direction.
At Pure Éire Dairy Othello, WA, we’ll speak with Jill and Richard Smith, who spent decades in mega dairies before transitioning—first dabbling in raw milk, then producing for Organic Valley, and finally going fully independent with the highest levels of certification through organic and Certified Animal Welfare Approved production. We’ll also observe (and for those who are interested, participate in!) the morning’s milking, visit cows grazing on pasture, tour the processing facility, and enjoy a BBQ with beef and dairy products (including what may be the world’s best yogurt) from the ranch, as well as vegetarian options.
Then it’s back on the bus for more quick talks on efforts and opportunities to shift culture, markets, and policy, including through support for labels that increase the value of high welfare; regenerative products in the marketplace; peer-to-peer learning; and organizing ranchers and communities on issues like country-of-origin labeling (COOL), beef checkoff, and cottage food laws. At Lazy R Ranch in Cheney, WA we will see and help move cattle; hear from Maurice Robinette and daughter Beth Robinette about holistic and regenerative methods of rotational pasture grazing, intergenerational transfer, and much more; and ruminate on what we’ve learned and seen. Plus, calves!
This day-long site visit is offered to participants at the 2018 SAFSF Forum in Spokane, Washington.
Pure Éire Dairy, Othello, WA
● Richard Smith, farmer and owner, Pure Éire Dairy
● Jill Smith, farmer and owner, Pure Éire Dairy
Lazy R Ranch, Cheney, WA
● Maurice Robinette, farmer and owner, Lazy R Ranch
● Beth Robinette, farmer and owner, Lazy R Ranch; co-founder, Cowgirl Camp; co-founder, LINC Foods
Jessica Culpepper, food project attorney, Public Justice, DC
Erin Eisenberg, director of partnerships, TomKat Foundation, CA
Katie Engelman, operations manager, Socially Responsible Agriculture Project (SRAP), OR
Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, chief strategy officer, Main Street Project / Regeneration International, MN
Urvashi Rangan, chief science advisor, GRACE Communications Foundation, NY
Sara Rummel, engagement manager, Animal Agriculture Reform Collaborative (AARC), MN
John Smillie, executive director, Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC), MT