Seminar presentations have long been a part of Horse Progress Days. Increasing knowledge and improving life is a quest upon which humans have been on since the very first ones set foot on this good earth. In communities where basic needs are met, there is time and incentive for learning new ways and in some cases, re-examining old ways that may have relevance for the present day. The local and national planners of Horse Progress Days are determined to keep learning in the forefront and entertainment out back.
Be sure to check the flyer you receive when you enter the grounds of Horse Progress Days to see how many other seminars have been added to the event.
Making Maple Syrup
Noah Yoder and his family live on a farm located about 10 miles south of Mt. Hope in Holmes County Ohio. The family includes Mom and Dad and five children aged 10-23 who all help with the work of running a 60 cow dairy, shipping organic milk to Horizon Dairy, and at a special time of year collecting enough maple sap to process it into 620 gallons of syrup. There are 855 taps put in place to collect the sap which is brought to the sugar house by a system of vacuumed tubing. The sap is put through a reverse osmosis process. The purpose of this process is to lower the water level of the sap before it is put into the stainless steel evaporators to finish boiling it off over a wood fire. Taking water off by reverse osmosis lessens the time it takes to make the sap into syrup, and uses less fuel in the process.
There are two evaporators running during peak season, one of which was built by a local shop that goes by the name Dry Run Mfg. The wood that furnishes the heat to cook off the sap is subjected to a forced air blower which makes it seven times hotter that it would be otherwise. From this farm comes good organic milk and the wonderful sap that the farm’s maple trees give up each spring for the Yoder family to process into the delectable sweetener that is maple syrup.
Steve Fender of Fender’s Fish Hatchery
Do you have a farm pond? If so, how do you manage it? Wouldn’t it be great to walk out the back door in the evening after all the work is done and sit down to fish for a little while? You might catch enough fish to have a nice dinner. Imagine; fresh fish from your own pond! Steve Fender’s parents started their fish business in 1956 on a bit of a whim, it seems. The company has grown to where it owns over 200 acres of ponds in various locations. A variety of fish are sold: bass, sunfish, blue gill, minnows, perch, catfish, amurs, Japanese koi, goldfish, Tilapia, and rainbow trout.
Take this seminar to learn about the amur fish and how they can help to keep pond vegetation under control. From pond aeration to checking the chemical makeup of the water to monitoring water temperature, this guy wrote the book, literally. It’s called Pond Management, The Common Sense Guide, author: Steve Fender. Economic times challenge us to take advantage of as many options for feeding ourselves and our families as we can. Come and learn from this native Ohioan.
The Dairy Panel Hosted by Moderator Emery Miller
This panel will be moderated by a farmer/accountant. Emery is another farmer who went organic in 2004 to access more profitability. But in his accounting work he sees evidence of success and something less from many different kinds of farms. He has been feeding heifers for a neighboring farmer for quite a few years. In fact, he is now feeding heifers for the second generation on the same neighboring farm. The heifer care only goes through the summer when there is grass. He also cares for a bunch of broiler chickens on his farm. So now his work is mainly broilers and taxes, but he has previous experience with moderating a panel. This one should be interesting.
Conventional dairy farmer John Mark Weaver
The tillable land on the Weaver farm supports 55 head of excellent dairy cows and their replacements. The word excellent in this case is not some hyperbolic word ascribed by an appreciative friend or visitor to the farm. It is an actual designation for 16 cows in the herd classified Excellent by an official of the National Holstein Association in Brattleboro, VT who has examined them according to a set of official guidelines for the breed. And not only that, there are 20 cows classified as Very Good under the same program.
This is most of the milking herd. It can safely be presumed that some of the cows from the various cow families presently classified as Very Good will move to Excellent as they mature. This is quite an achievement, and means that offspring from these cows will be sought after by other dairy farmers to improve their herds. While this farm feeds corn and grain year round, the cows are also exposed to grass and the outdoors year round to meet the requirements of the local Smith Dairy that buys the farm’s milk. Most of the milk from Smith Dairy goes into sour cream for use by the Chipotle Restaurant chain. John Mark Weaver takes comfort from knowing that his cows are producing good food for humanity and he gets satisfaction from the thought that he is “contributing to the masses.”
All grass organic farmer Daniel Wengerd
This panel member feeds his 60 cows and their replacements only organically grown grass. His 60 cows are mostly New Zealand Holstein crosses. Maybe he will have an opportunity to explain his preference for them. Daniel started farming in 2008. He achieved certified organic status in 2013 and went on the 100% Organic Valley grass fed truck in 2017. He makes about half the hay his cows need for the winter from his 124 acres of owned and six acres of rented ground, and the rest he buys. In the winter his cows spend time under roof on a bedding pack that might be four feet deep by spring. He uses dry sawdust to bed them down. He also raises his own replacements.
Organic dairy farmer Paul Miller
Paul Miller and his family farm organically which means all of the crops grown on their 70 acres of owned land and 30 acres of rented land are grown without synthetic fertilizers and chemicals. The milking herd numbers 40-45 head, and all replacements are home raised. They are mostly Holstein with some crossbreds as well. While Paul started farming in 2002 it was in 2006 that he transitioned to organic and started shipping milk to Organic Valley Co-op. He grows about 15 acres of corn each year. The rest of the land is used for hay and summertime grazing. He is glad he transitioned to organic when he did, and appreciates all the benefits of it.
Sheep Panel Moderated by Marion Yoder
Leroy Kuhns, Dwayne Raber and Levi Hershberger, along with the moderator of this panel are all experienced sheep farmers. They will address considerations of various breeds of sheep, which one or ones are recommended as most profitable? They will talk about how to go about getting the right stock and potential problems to look for when buying. And then there is the question of how many sheep a farmer would need to keep in order to make a full-time living with them, and how many sheep can be grazed successfully per acre? And what kind of pasture grass is best for sheep and what type of hay is most ideal for feeding and should there be grain fed and if so what kind and how much? What kind of fencing is practical and reliable? How is hoof rot prevented? What about parasite pressure from summer grazing; how does one deal with parasites? Do sheep in confinement need to be wormed? The group will discuss the benefits of record keeping and how to do it. And when a ewe has problems lambing, should the vet be called or not; what are the economics of this type of decision? And finally, does this group have some special advice for a beginner wanting to raise sheep for a living?
David Kline Talks About the Role of Horses in Amish Communities
David will be speaking on the role that the horse, both draft and carriage, played in the development and preservation of Amish communities throughout America. Because farmers chose to stay with the draft horse for field traction, the scale of farm size was effectively determined. And the carriage horse determined distance of travel. As we look over the Amish community in Holmes County, Ohio and in other places throughout North America, we see small towns and villages thriving, primarily because of the decision made 100 years ago. Henry Ford’s flivver was becoming more affordable and was bringing changes to rural communities that threatened Amish Gemienshaft and its pastoral way of life.
Going further back in history, David will also speak on the origins of Amish agriculture that developed in the Alsace region of Germany in the late 1600s and into the 1700s, after the move from Switzerland to Germany because of religious persecution. David sees today’s horse farming as a blending of older traditional methods with newer technologies in a manner that enriches rather than hinders a farm’s biodiversity, while at the same time adding to the land’s profitability and the preservation of community. David and Elsie have five children. All are married and all are involved with organic dairy farming. They also publish the quarterly Farming Magazine (Mt. Hope, Ohio) supporting small scale farming. The magazine began as a voice of hope to small scale farmers across the nation to foster a strong connection between farm families and urban-dwelling families who desire wholesome food. It celebrates the joys of farming well and living well on an ecologically conscious scale.
Corbly Orndorff Talks Draft Horses
This year, it has been 100 years since Charles Orndorff, grandfather of our presenter, hauled his first registered Belgian stallion to his farm in Waynesburg, PA. Breeding top Belgians sort of jumped over Charlie’s son Clark, a machinery dealer, to land on Corbly and his sister Christina. They took it up enthusiastically and built it into one of the top breeding programs in the country. This pair has had much success in the production and promotion of the Belgian breed. For them, success has come mostly in the halter classes of major shows in the US and Canada, although others have had success in hitch classes with their horses too. Halter classes are heavily
focused on excellent confirmation.
While Corbly and Christina have had much success with horses born and raised on the farm, one of the most memorable and significant of their successes is in finding, procuring, and showing the Belgian stallion Korry’s Captain to five-time All-American honors for five successive years. This is the stallion, now 26 years old, standing at the Crystal Springs Stables in Millersburg, Ohio. If you want to learn more about the kind of frame/confirmation that gives a horse long life, more about collecting and shipping equine semen, or any number of other things that come to the mind of this enthusiastic and experienced breeder as he talks, here is your chance.
United Equine Center – Raymond Troyer and Andy Beachy
There’s a new partnership in place in Dalton Ohio. It’s the team of Raymond Troyer and Andy Beachy. These two talented horsemen have brought together their years of experience with horses to form an enterprise that offers health and comfort to the horses that come under their care and who get their attention. For the past 18 years Raymond has been learning all he can from numerous specialists in the fields of horse massage, dental care, and corrective shoeing, and educating himself on the overall health of the horse.
Andy Beachy is no stranger to folks who have been involved with Belgian draft horses, having stood stallions, successfully fitted horses for his family’s Spring Hill Farm, and raised young animals for the marketplace. These two, from a new barn in Dalton, Ohio are offering corrective therapeutic treatments that include the use of Magna Wave, Bemer, cold water spa, Thera-plate, treadmill, Shock-wave, and laser treatments. Take this seminar to learn how to take the horses in your care to a new and better level. Join the movement to better horse care, no matter the kinds of horses you are accustomed to using.
Noontime International Meeting with Dale Stoltzfus
The annual international meeting held at noon on Friday and Saturday is a chance for North Americans to interact with what is often a sizable crowd of horse farmers from other parts of the world. The US is the only place in the world that has the capability of gathering together hundreds of new pieces of machinery manufactured solely for the purpose of being used with animal pulling power. And Horse Progress Days is the only event of its kind to display and demonstrate the volume of equipment that it does in real field conditions behind real animals.
This noontime meeting gives us the opportunity to exchange greetings with our guests who often make big sacrifices in time and money to be present. There will be time to hear from some of them about how they use horses in their communities, and what kind of horses and equipment they use on their farms or other ventures. In keeping with the overall theme of Horse Progress Days, the international meeting provides opportunity to learn about farming with animals; horses, mules, oxen and donkeys. As a matter of fact, it is estimated that there are about 300,000,000 animals used for farming around the world today compared to about 30,000,000 tractors; 10 times more animals than tractors. If you happen to meet a person or people from another country who are in attendance at Horse Progress Days, be sure to greet them and welcome them.