Grazing Presents Opportunities for Connection

The latest news from the Grassland 2.0 team on grassland-based agriculture and sustainable agriculture.

Grazing Presents Opportunities for Connection

When Jason Cavadini arrived March 4 at the Shell Lake Community Center the parking lot was filling quickly. Once inside the center he was greeted by an enthusiastic assortment of farmers, educators and industry professionals who share an interest in grass-based agriculture.

Cavadini is an outreach specialist with the University of Wisconsin-Division of Extension. He owns and operates a direct-market grass-fed-beef farm near Stratford, Wisconsin. He was in Shell Lake to share his experience with winter-bale grazing, to the attendees of the Northwest Wisconsin Winter Grazing Conference.

“We’re basically an organization that depends on volunteerism,” said Lynn Johnson, who has been a key element in organizing the conference since 2017. “We depend on collaboration with other organizations to make our conference successful.”

Getting Beyond Yield: A Broader View of Agriculture

“Why do we engage in the practice of agriculture?” is a central thesis of Mark Bittman’s Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A history of Food, from Sustainable to Suicidal. This not-as-rhetorical-as-you’d-think question is asked from an economic and justice perspective: do we practice agriculture to 1) provide the food, fiber, and materials needed for people to thrive; or 2) to trade commodities on a global marketplace with the goal of squeezing every last dime out of the transaction?

Equipping Wisconsin’s Grazing Professionals with New Tool

On a blustery morning in January, grazing professionals from across the state gathered at the Blue Heron Brewpub in Marshfield. They congregated at the small-town pub for the Winter G-Team Meeting, a training on the Heifer Grazing Compass.

“The Heifer Grazing Compass is a very in-depth tool that can really boil a grazing system down to the nuts and bolts financially,” says Jacob Brey, farmer at Brey Cycle Farm. “After going through the compass exercise, I was really impressed by its attention to detail; it doesn’t leave any room for doubt if filled out correctly.”

When it comes to dairy, France and Wisconsin share common histories and aspirations

The Wisconsin grazing community has had a bond with France since the first dairy grazier cracked open the book, Grass Productivity by Andre Voisin. Translated into English in the late 1980s, this foundational 1956 work on managed grazing reached us just as the Wisconsin grazing movement was beginning to take off. 

New Report Highlights Recommendations for a Just Transition to Managed Grazing

What could a just food system look like? How do we get there? Erin Lowe and Ana Fochesatto, researchers with Grassland 2.0 at UW-Madison, have published a new report and six briefs for practitioners and community members that address these questions. Over the span of two years, Lowe and Fochesatto spoke with nearly 130 people across the Upper Midwest engaged in sustainable agriculture. In their conversations they focused on managed livestock grazing, a farming practice that has been shown to promote environmental health and restore the economic and social viability of rural communities.

Video Release: Is Grazing Heifers Worth It?

We are thrilled to release this video on the Heifer Grazing Compass, featuring our friends Scott Mericka of Uplands Cheese, Ron Schoepp, and the cows of Schoepp Farms. Through development of this tool, we’ve learned that grazing heifers is cost-effective. The Heifer Grazing Compass allows producers to plug in the numbers specific to their operations […]

Grazing Network Thriving in Northwest Wisconsin

When Paul Daigle, an organizer in Grassland 2.0’s Cloverbelt Learning Hub and longtime grazing consultant, pulled into the parking lot at Shell Lake Community Center, it was overflowing. And he was 20 minutes early. Daigle drove to the northwest reaches of the state to attend the annual Fall Grazing Conference put on by Northwest Wisconsin […]

Pastures as Potential Pollinator Habitat

Story by Skye Bruce When you think of pastures, what do you see in your mind’s eye? Perhaps a field of grasses, speckled with cows, and maybe some clover? As a graduate student in Entomology at UW-Madison, I’m interested in whether these grazed landscapes contain habitat for beneficial insects, and how grazing management methods affect […]

Wild Rice, Kernza®, Hazelnuts, Oh My! Join us for discussion, learning, and socializing

Mark your calendars for two free events on Tuesday, November 1st. Join us over lunch for the next edition of the Grassland 2.0 Digital Dialogue Series! Dr. Mae Davenport, Professor and Director of the Center for Changing Landscapes at the University of Minnesota, will present and facilitate conversation from 12 – 1:30PM CT. Dr. Davenport […]

Envisioning the Ridge and Valley Landscape of Southwest Wisconsin

On a fall day in southwest Wisconsin, 32 people gathered at Branches Winery to explore the current and future state of agriculture in the region. The group was there for more than just the free lunch and fine wine. Farmers, entrepreneurs, public health professionals, county and city staff, leaders of non-profit organizations, educators, agriculture professionals, […]