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Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship Partnership

Oct 1, 2014

Board member Kevin Mahalko was recently approached by Joe Tomandl, III to work together to grow the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship (DGA) program. DGA was established in 2010 through a partnership between GrassWorks, Inc., and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development-Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards with support from USDA-National Institute for Food and Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. They recently received their own 501(c)3 non-profit status and have been successful in receiving some grant funding to grow their program. We’ve entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with DGA to assist them in finding new graziers and master graziers to expand their program throughout Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota.

 

Natural Resources Conservation Service
(NRCS) Contribution Agreement Awarded

Oct 1, 2014

In mid August NRCS announced they are offering Managed Intensive Grazing Technical Assistance grants. After consulting with our board they approved us to submit an application. In mid September we were informed our application will be funded beginning October 1st. Because it’s a very limited amount with a short time period, we may not be able to serve everyone who needs assistance but we’ll provide grazing technical assistance to as many as we can between October 1st and March 2015. Brian Brezinski will be providing much of the technical assistance with Mary C Anderson providing the rest.

National Grazing Land Coalition Grant Awarded

May 20, 2014

At the urging of our board director, Kevin Mahalko, Mary C put together a few ideas to apply for a NatGLC grant just two days before the deadline. She and Linda worked feverishly the day the application was due to meet the 5:00 pm deadline. All their hard effort paid off when Mary C was informed May 19th our proposal was funded! If you attend any of our pasture walks this year you will hear some soils quality discussion and possibly see some soil testings taking place all thanks to the NatGLC grant we were awarded!

River Country Rolls Out Their Grazing Network Membership Program at the Fall Conference

November 4, 2013

We were told by the Chippewa, Coulee, and St Croix Grazing Network leaders they don't want to disband; so River Country is looking for way to support its grazing education program and the newly formed River Country Grazing Network, which was created due to the discontiuance of grant funding. One option we've decided to try is a membership program. Membership fees will help support a part-time Network Coordinator position and grazing events. We are also looking to agricultural businesses for support and sponsorship of events. If you'd like to beome a member of the newly formed River Country Grazing Network call us and we'll get you enrolled.

WI Grazing Initiative Grant Program Ends

June 22, 2013

River Country’s grazing education and technical assistance programs are currently funded through the Wisconsin Grazing Initiative Grant Program administered by the WI Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.  We’ve been anticipating the elimination of the funding since WI DATCP Secretary Ben Brancel eliminated the Grazing Initiative funding from his budget request to Governor Scott Walker in August 2012.  

YOUR SUPPORT AND DONATIONS ARE NEEDED NOW!

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

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Due to lack of support from the Wisconsin Legislature, the Grazing Initiative Program funding has been eliminated from Wisconsin’s 2013 - 2015 budget.  We requested that our legislators make good use of taxpayer dollars and preserve the WI Grazing Initiative.  Many of our network members along with other farmers and organizations such as GrassWorks Inc., Michael Fields Agriculture Institute and WI Farmers Union made contact with their legislators and attended Joint Finance Committee hearings regarding the benefits of grazing but all seems to have fallen on deaf ears.  Despite this valiant effort put forth by River Country area farmers and supporters from across the state this valuable program is no longer.

What does this mean to the future coordination of the Chippewa, Coulee and St. Croix Grazing Networks and the ongoing technical assistance that is provided to farmers implementing this valuable practice on their farms?   It means our educational events and technical assistance will no longer be free.  We are currently seeking financial support from other partners, donors and sponsors for our regional grazing events but we will need to charge nominal fees to event attendees to ensure a future for grazing education and technical assistance.

All three Grazing Networks are producer driven efforts guided by those attending meetings and planning sessions.  Funding for all three Networks has been provided through the Wisconsin Grazing Initiative Grant Program and individual donors.

If you are disappointed that the WI Grazing Initiative Program funding was cut, please contact your local legislator and voice your opinion.

A very special "Thank You" to all our event hosts, producers, project managers, partner orgazinations, and donors for your continued Network support!!

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


Updated: Oct 11, 2014