Grazing Network Thriving in Northwest Wisconsin

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

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 […]

Thinking as a Community

Grassland 2.0’s Summer Meeting Recap By Greta Landis “Until we build visions and models for the future, we won’t know where we are going, or how to chart our course to get there,” said Randy Jackson, one of the principal investigators of Grassland 2.0. A barn full of 50 farmers, researchers, and conservation and policy […]

Dairy Needs Real Innovation

William D. Hoard’s enlightened understanding of the importance of livestock to soil health, coupled with his courageous advocacy work, helped pull Wisconsin agriculture from the depths of despairing wheat production in the late 19th century. When year after year of wheat production led to devastating disease pressure, he opened a door to unimagined prosperity. Hoard ignited the concept of America’s Dairyland by understanding the importance of diversified cropping to break disease cycles, the role of livestock in recycling nutrients, and the importance of peer-to-peer education to making change.
Hoard’s lore, captured in the booklet “Hilltop Decision,” speaks of how Governor Hoard saw “good farmers” exiting the industry all around him, and he realized the importance of education and technical support to maintain families on the land. We might call his work agricultural innovation because he transformed the industry. That is, Wisconsin agriculture was never the same, and that was a good thing . . . “back in the day.”

Back to his grassroots: Jacob Marty returns to family land with new vision for agriculture

As a dairy farm kid from southwest Wisconsin, Jacob Marty had no desire to return to his family’s farm. He was set on attending UW-Stevens Point and pursuing a career in conservation. Studying wildlife ecology pointed him in an unexpected direction, however: back to the farm.

“I got interested in how we can harmonize food production while also providing habitat for wildlife,” says Jacob. “That led me down this road.”

Watch Jacob Marty share why he had a change of heart, all while fending off an overzealous ram!

U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard incentivizes land use change with environmental consequences

In order to address global climate change, the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) aims to increase the use of biofuel in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to a new study by Tyler Lark of UW-Madison and co-authors, including several members of Grassland 2.0, the RFS may have missed the mark in reducing emissions – in fact, the greenhouse gases produced consequentially negate any advantages of corn ethanol over gasoline. Why? The RFS policy makers did not predict the full-scale impacts of the land use change that would result from its implementation – mainly more corn and less pasture.

New podcast episode describes the relationship between perennial ag and water quality

Every couple of weeks, Grassland 2.0 folks get together on Zoom for an informal, project-wide lab meeting. Each meeting features a short presentation, followed by a question-and-answer session, and a group discussion of how the work presented relates to the project as a whole. Presenters have included grazing specialists, grass-fed industry and marketing professionals, and researchers from a wide variety of disciplines.  

Land stewardship mirrors agroecological change at Sinsinawa Mound

If we seek to truly regenerate the land, we must do the same in our own communities. This connection between the health of the land and the health of our communities is abundantly clear at the Sinsinawa Mound located just east of Dubuque. The Catholic sisters at Sinsinawa Mound live and work in this parallel, recognizing these processes as equally ecological, social, and spiritual transformations.

On-farm research explores the linkages between pasture management, soil health and ecosystem services

There is increasing interest among farmers to manage for soil health because of its ability to impact productivity, nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, and water quality. However, when it comes to measuring soil health there are challenges determining which soil health tests are most beneficial and accessible to farmers, what the impacts of management are, and what constitutes a good benchmark for a healthy soil?