MOHRSVILLE, Pa. — The public is invited to see regenerative agriculture in practice at an on-farm Silvopasture workshop at Skyline Pastures in Mohrsville, Berks County PA, on Sunday, September 17 from 1-3 pm.
Army National Guard soldier Charles Lafferty and his wife Tanya will host. The Laffertys are on a mission to raise the highest quality meats in the most natural way possible–outdoors where livestock can enjoy a constant supply of natural forage and sunlight.
Charles is the recipient of a Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NE SARE) grant to pilot his two-year silvopasture project at his farm in Berks County. The project seeks to answer the question of whether under-utilized forest or brush areas that currently serve only as windbreaks and dividers for row-cropped fields can be effectively managed for pastured swine.
The goal of the undertaking is to create a replicable system for farmers to use wooded areas of their farms to raise pigs, improve fertility in wooded areas, increase productivity, and add a profitable enterprise to their existing businesses. At the September 17 event at Skyline Pastures, attendees will walk the land to see the year one progress, ask questions, and learn how the success will be measured.
Joining Lafferty will be a John Hopkins of Susquehanna Tree Service. Hopkins, a professional forester and grass farmer, has spent the past 35 years developing pastures and silvopasture at Forks Farm (Forksfarmmarket.com) grazing cattle, horses, goats, hogs and poultry with the goal of using the power of grazing animals combined with forestry practices to manage sunlight and convert forest land into productive silvopasture capable of producing healthy food, traditional forest products, and wildlife habitat.
As technical advisor for the project, Hopkins is providing guidance from a forestry perspective to document outcomes, and to make recommendations for managing the forest overstory and understory in order to maximize solar gain and forage production.
Workshop attendees will learn how to conduct a basic forest inventory, how to measure forest density, and how density affects forage production in a silvopasture system. Also on the agenda is methods of managing forest overstory to maximize solar gain for improved tree growth and improved forage production.
The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required as space is limited. RSVP at https://www.pavetfarms.org/events
–PA Veteran Farming Project