Farmer-to-Farmer Grazing Networks in New York by Hudson Mohawk RC&D For many New York livestock farmers, managed rotational grazing is a new technology and some lack the knowledge or confidence to try something new.
GardenNews.biz - Jan 15,2011 - Farmer-to-Farmer Grazing Networks in New York
by Hudson Mohawk RC&D
For many New York livestock farmers, managed rotational grazing is a new technology and some lack the knowledge or confidence to try something new. Yet, New York is an excellent place to graze. With roughly a 40 inch average rainfall and prime soils, some farmers are able to support a stocking rate of one animal unit per 1.5 acres and graze up to eight months out of the year.
To help share grazing knowledge, Hudson Mohawk RC&D (in Eastern New York) with support from the State Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI), have started a farmer-to-farmer grazing group called the Hudson Mohawk Grass Masters covering the Albany capitol region. Realizing that farmers often learn best from other farmers, the RC&D and their partners provide the framework for farmers to come together to learn from one another, share ideas, network, problem solve, and form alliances.
The farmers decide when and where to meet and what topics to discuss and members volunteer to host or lead meetings. The farmer-to-farmer grazing groups have been very successful in helping farmers learn concepts that they have been able to put into practice on the farm. These include frost seeding clover, how to properly take a soil test, utilizing smaller paddocks and increasing the frequency of animal moves to allow for greater recovery periods, improved on-farm decision making, how to stockpile forage for winter grazing, and rotating animals through paddocks in the winter time to evenly distribute manure.
For more information about the grazing groups, visit the Council’s website at www.hudsonmohawkrcd.org. RC&Ds are non-profit organizations working in partnership with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
New NRCS New York Video: Pollinator Conservation at Xerces
This video features an interview about pollinators with Eric Mader, Assistant Pollinator Program Director for Xerces Society. Eric talks about the importance of invertebrate habitat and management. The Natural Resources Conservation Service works with groups like Xerces when developing best farm practices eligible for funding under Federal conservation programs like the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP). www.youtube.com/user/NRCSNewYork?feature=mhum