Adam Abel, Appleton, Wis., area soil conservationist with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, received the NRCS Pastureland Conservationist of the Year Award. The honor was presented at the annual American Forage and Grassland Conference in Louisville, Ky., on Jan. 16.
This award recognizes an NRCS employee for exceptional education and outreach to promote sustainable grazing practices. Abel has exemplified outstanding service to the agency, its clients and the science of grazingland management.
Abel is a central Wisconsin native who grew up on a dairy and beef farm. For the past nine years, he has been providing grazinglands technical assistance as a major part of his soil conservationist duties in northeast Wisconsin. Abel received his recognition for excelling in five categories: communication, training, partnerships, conservation application, and job complexity.
Abel gives countless presentations on managed grazing to Wisconsin farmers, landowners, teachers, tribes, historically underserved groups, conservation groups and the general public. Presentations include benefits, design, layout and implementation of grazing systems. He regularly presents at grazing field days and conferences on topics such as heifer grazing, pasture design, fencing, livestock water and trails.
“The very first time I saw Adam give a presentation, his enthusiasm was clear,” says Angela Biggs, Wisconsin state conservationist. “His passion for working with local graziers in Wisconsin is making a difference on their operations and subsequently our natural resources.”
Abel has also organized and led many pasture walks. This gives him an opportunity to meet potential new graziers and network with experienced graziers, learning and offering advice on current and future grazing opportunities.
“Adam exemplifies what conservation is; he is always willing to go the extra mile for producers who want to work with NRCS to implement managed grazing,” Biggs says.
Abel has also been instrumental in many partnership efforts, such as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Lower Fox Demonstration Farms Network. The network is a series of six farms showcasing and demonstrating leading-edge conservation practices that improve Great Lakes water quality by reducing phosphorus from entering Green Bay and Lake Michigan. Abel plans and leads demonstration farm field days and tours in the watershed with producers who have converted cropland and practice managed grazing.
Abel also actively promotes soil health practices on cropland, including cover crops, hay rotations and no-till. Northeast Wisconsin has one of the highest concentrations of dairy cattle in the U.S., and Abel works with dairy producers to plant cover crops and graze them effectively with heifers.
For more information about managed grazing and the financial and technical assistance NRCS provides to implement a managed grazing system, visit wi.nrcs.usda.gov, or contact your local NRCS Service Center.
Source: Wisconsin NRCS