Producing local beef is becoming an increasingly popular farm enterprise in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Pineland Farms Natural Meats, a Gloucester, Maine-based company, works with more than 50 cow-calf producers in the Mid-Atlantic and close to 100 in New York and New England to produce and market fresh and packaged beef products.
Now, the company is opening the gate wider with a newly-purchased feeding facility at Hopkinton, N.Y. Pineland's Procurement Specialist Kevin Woltemath is looking to buy 150 to 200 beef animals a month to feed and finish at the facility.
Woltemath and Cornell University Extension Beef Specialist Mike Baker will be addressing specific requirements and feeder calf preparation during Northern NY Beef Week programs in Plattsburgh, Malone, Watertown and Canton May 31 through June 3.
Mandatory feeder calf requirements
"Our animals never-ever receive antibiotics, growth hormones or animal by-products," says Woltemath. "We'll be talking about how to qualify animals under the Global Animal Partnership Certification Program that our largest buyer requires to meet consumer demand." Other requirements include:
• All animals must be sourced from birth and tagged for identification.
• Farms that the cattle come from must meet a five-step standard for animal welfare.
• Accurate records must be kept up to three years after shipping.
"Cow/calf producers need to understand weaning strategies, nutrient requirements and disease prevention practices involved," adds Baker. He'll talk about practices that can be used to increase demand for those calves as well profitability.
All four Northern New York Beef Week programs offered the Cornell Cooperative Extension associations will start at 7 p.m. They'll be held at:
• Tuesday, May 31 at Cornell Cooperative Extension, Plattsburgh, 518-561-7450
• Wednesday, June 1 at North Country Community College, Malone, 518-483-7403
• Thursday, June 2 at Cornell Cooperative Extension, Watertown, 315-788-8450
• Friday, June 3 at St. Lawrence County Extension Learning Farm, Canton, 315-379-9192.
To explore more details of the calf procurement programs, click on www.pinelandnaturalmeats.com.
Pre-registration is urged, for materials preparation. There's a $5 evening program fee.
Producers with spring calves already on the ground and interested in farm visits in the local area the day of each program may call Betsy Hodge at 315-379-9192 to arrange a time.