"There is growing interest among veterinarians and their clients in the area of sustainable agriculture," said Dan Anderson, U of I Extension specialist and conference organizer. "The conference is open to anyone, but it's primarily designed for veterinarians, animal scientists, and students."
Attendees will receive up to 8.5 continuing education credits from the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association, a conference sponsor.
The conference begins Thursday morning, August 12, with an opportunity to tour innovative sustainable livestock farms in central Illinois. Registrants can choose among the tours, which will depart by bus from the I Hotel and Convention Center at 8 a.m.
The tour choices are: -An integrated dairy goat and hand-crafted artisan cheese manufacturing farm
- Central Illinois's only grass-fed dairy cattle farm with its own farmstead milk- bottling creamery
- A pastured, rotationally grazed and sustainably managed sheep farm
- A multi-species food-animal grazing farm that markets pork, beef, chicken, turkey and eggs directly to consumers
- One of the largest organic, grass-fed livestock and diversified grain farms in Illinois
- A panel discussion on meat quality, marketing and merchandizing at the University of Illinois meats laboratory.
A social gathering and sustainable agriculture research poster session at the I Hotel and Conference Center will conclude the first day of the conference. The featured speaker for the evening will be Alan Guebert, syndicated agriculture columnist from Delavan.
Friday, August 13, will include a full day of presentations by veterinarians, animal scientists, successful sustainable livestock farmers, and other experts. Featured presenters will include Jerry DeWitt of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University; H.F. Troutt of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the U of I; Will Winter, holistic veterinarian from Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Lynn Clarkson of Clarkson Grain Inc., Cerro Gordo.
In addition to being sponsored by the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association, the conference is sponsored by a grant from the Illinois Department of Agriculture Sustainable Agriculture Program and by other supporting companies.
Visit www.mvc-sa.com for more about the farm tours, research sessions, the conference program, lodging and registration.