Fescue Farmers Needed for Large-Scale Grasslands Agriculture Project - Kentucky Farm Bureau

Fescue Farmers Needed for Large-Scale Grasslands Agriculture Project

Posted on May 28, 2024

A Once-in-a-Generation Project Aims to Partner with 230 Beef Cattle Farms Across Nine States.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee—Beef cattle 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 benefits of grasslands in the eastern U.S. This program is also open to pasture-based sheep and goat operations.

A total of 230 farms are being sought to collaborate on this sweeping initiative, known as the Grasslands Partnership and spanning nine states: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri and Indiana.

The main objectives of the project are to identify specific pasture practices that not only improve productivity and profitability, but also provide livestock operations with the opportunity to engage with emerging markets for carbon, other conservation benefits, and premiums that may be available for cattle raised under these practices.

Farmers are being recruited who are 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.

Participants in the project 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.

The project provides compensation to producers to cover the cost of practice implementation. Interested beef cattle, sheep or goat producers should contact their Extension agent or visit the Grasslands Partnership website grasslandspartnership.org for more information and are encouraged to apply. The target date to complete enrollment is June 30.

This five-year collaborative project 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 are conducting the project with support from scientists in a wide range of fields, including soils, agronomy, agricultural economics and conservation. The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture is leading the project.

Key supporters and partners for this initiative 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

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture is comprised of the Herbert College of Agriculture, UT College of Veterinary Medicine, UT AgResearch, and UT Extension. Through its land-grant mission of teaching, research and outreach, the Institute touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. to Tennesseans and beyond. utia.tennessee.edu

Contact: Margeaux Emery, UTIA Marketing and Communications, margeaux@tennessee.edu



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