Fescue farmers needed by 6/30/24

Jun 27, 2024

Farmers in the tall fescue belt are eligible to take part in one of the largest initiatives ever undertaken to improve productivity, profitability, and conservation of grasslands in the eastern U.S. This program is open to beef producers and pasture-based sheep and goat operations.

Researchers are seeking 230 farms from nine states (Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, and Indiana) to collaborate on this sweeping initiative, known as the Grasslands Partnership.

Researchers are seeking to identify pasture practices to improve productivity and profitability, while providing livestock operations with opportunity to engage with emerging markets for carbon, other conservation benefits, and premiums that may be available for animals raised under these practices.

Those interested in implementing practices such as improved grazing management, native grass pastures, interseeding legumes, silvopasture, and application of two novel soil amendments, either or both biochar and gypsum, are encouraged to apply. 

Participants will partner with Extension to monitor the practices to determine outcomes such as soil health, soil carbon, grazing days and, in some cases, improvements to populations of grassland birds, such as bobwhite quail, and pollinators. 

Producers will be provided compensation to cover the cost of implementation. Those interested should contact their Extension agent or visit the Grasslands Partnership website (grasslandspartnership.org) for more information. Deadline to enroll is June 30. 

This five-year collaborative effort led by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, is funded with a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. Extension agents and specialists from 11 land-grant universities will conduct the study with support from scientists in a wide range of fields, including soils, agronomy, agricultural economics, and conservation.

Key supporters and partners include the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, American Forage and Grassland Council, National Grazing Lands Coalition, and the National Bobwhite & Grasslands Initiative.

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