For a better tomorrow In Action 2005 “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”. Margaret Mead
Our Purpose To bring people and resources together to address issues and opportunities, to conserve our natural resources, promote sustainability and improve the quality of life for people who live in the River Country area
River Country Grazing Initiative Why the Initiative? The Late 1990s Were Hard On The Dairy Farming Community In The River Country RC&D Area. On Average: 4 Dairy Farms Were Lost Per Week !!!
River Country Grazing Initiative Dairy and other Livestock Farmers Were Looking For Ways To Remain Competitive Without Having To Expand ...
River Country Grazing Initiative The River Country Council was looking for ways to prevent the significant loss of the agriculture economy in the rural communities
River Country Grazing Initiative A Possible Answer: Managed Intensive Grazing (MIG) Systems Why: Because It’s A Viable Alternative That Is Size Neutral.
River Country Grazing Initiative • Together: Farmers, Agency Personnel and the River Country RC&D Coordinator, and River Country Council members pulled together a grant to determine if a need for grazing education and technical services really existed.
River Country Grazing Initiative Primary Objectives of the Grant • Meet With Existing Agencies To Determine What Was Being Done To Service This Growing Agricultural Sector. • Meet With Farmers (In Groups And One On One) To Determine The Level Of Support Needed. • Develop Managed Grazing Plans For 24 Producers WithIn The River Country Area. • Assist In Building Partnerships That Will Assist In Handling The MIG Workload.
River Country Grazing Initiative The Program was Completely Successful !! All objectives were exceeded. And the results were: • River Country Continued MIG Service • WI NRCS added a Grazing Specialist to the area.
River Country Grazing Initiative What have we accomplished in our area since 1999: Planned And Implemented Over 15,000 Acres Of Grazing Lands (160 Grazing Plans) Contacted And Provided Services To Over 1,400 Land Owners
River Country Grazing Initiative Coordinated And Hosted : 103 Pasture Walks 34 Grass Series Walks • 12 Specialized Pasture Walks • 14 Specialized Winter Meetings
River Country Grazing Initiative Currently, Fund-raisers, Grants And Donations Finance The Grazing Positions At River Country. The Council Continues To Search For Additional Partners And Funding To Maintain And Expand The Program.
River Country Grazing Initiative Provided Input And Teamed Up With The Following: • Wisconsin Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative Coalition • Coulee Graziers • Chippewa Graziers • North Central Graziers • USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service • University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension • Grass Works, Inc. • Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board • Marathon County Land Conservation Department • Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy Farmers • Great Lakes Grazing Network
River Country Grazing Initiative Other RC&D’s have replicated the River Country Grazing Initiative and have hired 6 Additional Grazing Specialists in addition to the 4 NRCS Specialists In The State. This Is A Welcome Step, BUT It Does Not Meet The Demand For MIG Assistance. The Council Continues To Support The Initiative By Maintaining 2-3 staff that work on MIG technical assistance and educational.
River Country Grazing Initiative Why is Management Intensive Grazing a viable option in the River Country RC&D Area?
River Country Grazing Initiative General Benefits of Livestock on Grass: • Lower cost of production • Improved herd health • Reduced labor • Cleaner water and air
River Country Grazing Initiative More General Benefits of Livestock on Grass: • Wildlife habitat for diverse species • Open space for recreation • Sustainable land use to support rural communities • Healthier food for humans
River Country Grazing Initiative Financial Benefits of Livestock on Grass: 1. Managed grazing is economically competitive, probably at all sizes. 2. Grazing farms are more economically flexible than confinement farms because of two factors. 3. The graziers who are most financially successful are those who focus on all three factors of profit: 4. A traditional small Wisconsin dairy farm with average or better management has a good chance of improving its financial performance by judicious adoption of a managed grazing system. And
River Country Grazing Initiative 5. Low input is not the same as low cost per unit of output. 6. Managed grazing can be employed with or without other practices and technologies such as seasonal calving, milking parlors, Total Mixed Rations, and so on. 7. There is no single measurement that tells enough about a farm business to make substantive comparisons or decisions without additional information from other measures. Several measures are needed to accurately judge the financial performance of any farm business.
Key Finding: Wisconsin graziers consistently showed a higher Net Farm Income For Operations (NFIFO) per cow than confinement farmers despite lower milk production per cow. Figure 1. Per cow net farm income from operations (NFIFO) and milk production on grazing and confinement farms in Wisconsin
Table 2. Comparing financial performance of three farm types in Wisconsin, 2002 Managed Traditional Large modern Grazing confinement confinement • Avg. lbs. of milk per cow 15,644 19,490 22,403 • Avg. basic cost per CWT EQ $7.48 $7.69 $8.18 • Avg. non-basic cost per CWT EQ $2.39 $3.55 $3.50 • Avg. allocated cost per CWT EQ $9.87 $11.24 $11.68 • Avg. NFIFO per farm $49,108 $33,775 $164,599 Avg. NFIFO per cow if all labor • and management were free $649 $561 $523 • Avg. NFIFO per cow $524 $245 $131 • Avg. NFIFO per CWT EQ $2.53 $0.91 $0.47 Avg. NFIFO per CWT EQ if all labor • and management were free $3.14 $2.12 $2.34 • Multiple year data* • Simple avg. NFIFO per CWT EQ $3.96 $2.39 $1.50 • Range in number of herds 19-31 180-216 34-57 • Range in avg. number of cows/herd 50-71 62-63 443-471 • Source: An Eight-Year Economic Look at Wisconsin Dairy Systems, Tom Kriegl and Gary Frank, June 2004. • * The multi-year data is available starting in 1995 for grazing farms. Data for TC and LMC farms was not fully sorted into the • two size groups until 1996 and by labor compensation type until 1997.
River Country Grazing Initiative For more information please call: Mary C. Anderson River Country Resource and Development Council 1304 N. Hillcrest Pkwy, Suite B Altoona Wisconsin 54720 Home office: 715-834-9672 Mary’s office: 715-538-4396 ext. 33 Or visit WWW.rivercountryrcd.org