Finding ways to integrate livestock back on the landscape has the potential to significantly benefit farmers, the environment and rural communities. From creating opportunities for beginning farmers to improving the soil to helping make cover crops profitable, livestock is often a missing piece in Midwest agricultural systems. This is where the grazing of vast herds of bison and elk were once upon a time vital parts of the historical ecosystem.
But accessing land to graze, or finding livestock farmers to partner with, can be a barrier to expanding integrated crop and livestock systems. A new website by the Midwest Perennial Forage Working Group — a network of grazing educators in the Upper Midwest that includes Practical Farmers of Iowa — seeks to address this challenge. Iowa State University Extension beef specialist Denise Schwab is a member of the working group.
The Midwest Grazing Exchange is a free matchmaking service that aims to connect grazers and landowners who live in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin. Grazers can search for forage to graze and landowners can search for livestock to graze their land.
The website lets users:
• Search listings, including by an interactive map with filters for season, land or livestock type.
• Create listings of what land or livestock they have to offer.
• Create a free account to save listings of interest, add new listings, see contact details and message other users.
• Browse a curated list of grazing resources, including examples of grazing lease agreements and contracts.
• Explore the benefits regenerative grazing for both landowners and livestock owners.
Meghan Filbert, livestock program manager at PFI who helped lead development of the new website, says it also lists grazing specialists and organizations offering grazing support for each state participating in the exchange.
“Integrating livestock on the landscape is a win-win-win for soil, animals and profitability,” she says. “The Midwest Grazing Exchange is unique because it serves multiple states in the Upper Midwest and expands beyond cover crop grazing. All grazing scenarios, including woodland and urban grazing, are represented. We want to unlock the plethora of benefits that come with well-managed grazing, and we created a space to do so.”
Farmers and landowners are encouraged to explore the site and create an account to add livestock or land they have to offer. There is no charge. For questions about the website, contact Filbert at 515-232-5661 or email@example.com.
Source: PFI, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.