Shaheen tours UNH organic dairy farm

Natural products: The farm has launched a project to see if wooded farmland can be used for grazing.

July 12, 2016

LEE - Leaders in the natural products and integrative health industries met at the University of New Hampshire's organic dairy research farm in Lee Monday to discuss their impact on the local economy.

The farm is a part of the Natural Products Trail, which accounts for more than $1 billion in annual revenue and supports nearly 7,000 jobs in the Granite State.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., was at the meeting, and took a tour of the farm, petting calves and learning about the only industrial-scale aerated static pile composting system at a research university in the country. John Aber, a professor of natural resources and the environment, served as tour guide.

Aber says there are a number of students who benefit from the farm, which is home to 100 registered Jersey cows, heifers and calves. On 275 acres located 7 miles from the main campus in Durham, students studying environmental sciences, sustainable agricultural systems and dairy sciences get valuable hands-on experience, Aber said.

The farm is comprised of 120 acres of woodlands. Assistant Professor Rich Smith says they just launched afour-year silvopasture research project to see if wooded areas of farmland can be used for grazing animals. They thinned some of the wooded areas to see if enough vegetation will grow for the cows.

"We think it's a system that will be more popular in the future," Smith said.

shaheen said she wanted to hear from leaders involved in the Natural Products Trail and make connections with them, so that as new policies are created, they have a voice. She was impressed with what she saw and heard.

"This is the kind of initiative in New Hampshire, not just at the center here, but the whole natural products sector, that I think a lot of people don’t know about," shaheen said, adding that natural products help people stay healthy.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., visited the University of New Hampshire Organic Dairy Research Farm in Lee Monday to learn more about the work that is being done there. Before a tour, she learned from leaders involved in the Natural Products Trail. KIMBERLEY HAAS

Source: Union Leader