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Grazing Initiative

Grazing 1

For the past 15 years, River Country RC&D has partnered with the Coulee Grazing Network, Chippewa Valley Grazing Network, St. Croix Valley Grazing Network, Natural Resources Conservation Service, University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension, County Land Conservation Departments, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Grass Works, Inc., Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy Farmers, Great Lakes Grazing Network, and the Wisconsin Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative Coalition.

YOUR SUPPORT AND DONATIONS ARE NEEDED!

If you wish to continue receiving high quality grazing education and technical services please make a tax deductible donation to the River Country Grazing Network!!!

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Thank you to the WI DATCP (Dept. of Ag Trade and Consumer Protection) and
NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service)!

River Country RC&D is dedicated to assisting farmers switch to Managed intensive Grazing (MiG) from a conventional system of farming in our 12 county area. Managed intensive Grazing (MiG) is the rotation of cattle within a pasture, allowing only a portion of that pasture to be grazed.  This is accomplished through subdividing each pasture into smaller units called paddocks where livestock are rotated from one paddock to another. 

Each rotation allows for individual paddocks within a pasture to have a rest period, allowing for forage plants to renew energy, grow their root systems, and provide long-term root reserves for quality forage production.

The intensity of rotational grazing can vary depending on a multitude of factors.  Under a MiG system, the level of management is more intense, including more paddocks, shorter grazing periods, and long rest periods.  Usually, under a MiG system, livestock production per acre increases.

Grazing educator Kevin Mahalko (right) on a pasture walk.

Sheep grazing on managed pasture. Fencing is highly-mobile electric wiring that allows land-owners to move animals to various places throughout the farm.

Jackson farm pasture walk Aug-2011

In Wisconsin, MiG is growing tremendously.  In 1993, 7% of dairy farmers used MIG, and in 2003 the percent rose to 23%, a 16% increase. (Tom Kriegl and Ruth McNair, Pastures of Plenty)

Numerous benefits are associated with Managed intensive Grazing. These include sustainable land use that supports rural communities, lower production costs, financial benefits, reduced labor, clean air and water, improved herd health, wildlife habitat advantages, and healthier food for human consumption.

It has been shown that graziers average about $200 more per cow net farm income than confinement dairy operations. Most graziers also suggest they have more time to spend with family and friends since moving livestock averages only 15 minutes.

As part of River Country RC&D's watershed work, we help landowners implement contour farming.

Farming on the contour allows for less run-off and sediment/nutrient loss during rain events.

A dairy herd grazing a new pasture amid the ruins of corn field

Grazing Services Offered

Technical Assistance

Educational Assistance - Coordination & Facilitation

  • On Farm Assistance
  • Pasture layout and design
  • Soil fertility resource assistance
  • Pasture planting resource assistance
  • Fence and water resource information
  • NRCS - EQIP 528 Grazing Plan Assistance
  • Farmer Driven Grazing Networks - Coulee, St. Croix Valley, & Chippewa Valley
  • Pasture Walks
  • Discussion Groups
  • Special Events - Conferences, Speaker Meetings, Workshops, etc.
  • Producing radio & TV programs related to grazing
  • Training for agency personnel

Interested in our Grazing Services?

Please contact our Grazing Staff

mary

Mary C. Anderson - Program Manager

Phone: 715-579-2206

Email: MaryC@RiverCountryRCD.org

    Last updated: July 26, 2015