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Extension > Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships > Central > Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems > Enhancing Environmental and Economic Benefits of Woodland Grazing: A Demonstration and Research Study

Enhancing Environmental and Economic Benefits of Woodland Grazing: A Demonstration and Research Study

Purpose

Unmanaged woodland grazing is an issue in central Minnesota causing environmental degradation (increased soil erosion leading toward impairment of water quality  running to streams, lakes and ground water), and economic decline (producing low quality trees, and low quality forage translating to decreased performance of livestock). Managing woodland grazing through the use of best management practices such as silvopasture, a practice integrating trees, forage, and livestock as one management unit, can provide environmental conservation and economic production. Hence demonstrating the practice among livestock producers in Central Minnesota will contribute to achieving ecological sustainability and economic productivity of the region.

Partners

The project is community driven initiative. Extension faculty acted upon the issue raised by the Leader Lions Forage Council on behalf of livestock producers in the region by securing a grant from LCCMR to demonstrate how managing woodland grazing can enhance the environmental and economic benefits of the practice. Because of this project, opportunities exist to establish and enhance connection between the University of Minnesota and farmers/livestock producers in the region especially during the educational events of the project. Working hand-in-hand with the Research Team will strengthen the Leader Lions’ capability in providing educational programs for livestock producers in the community.

Activities

  • Establishing 3 demonstration silvopasture sites in central region serving as an educational tool for livestock producers
  • Provide at least 4% of livestock producers (5,000 total) in the region are with education and training about managing their woodland grazing for profits and environmental protection
  • Producers apply silvopasture in their livestock production

Outcomes

The overall goal of the project is to increase the adoption of silvopasture as a best management practice in woodland grazing in Minnesota.   Livestock producers practice managing woodland grazing properly, including an increasing performance of livestock and improved water quality due to reduced soil erosion.

Funding

$9000 from the CRSDP

Leveraged resources

LCCMR $190,000
University of Minnesota Staff (in-kind time) $80,414
Farmer Cooperators (in-kind) $15,000
Leader Lions Forage Council (in-kind) $2,000
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