Replenishing the Land with Livestock

Cattle grazing on pasture

Diversity of plants and animals is key to any thriving ecosystem. Here in the Midwest, however, we have become accustomed to seeing field after field of the same crop rotations – the opposite of diversity. And the resulting loss of soil health and wildlife has become a serious issue.

How are farmland owners and farmers in our region seeking to renew the health of our agricultural lands?

Well managed livestock grazing is an essential part of the solution. Reintroducing livestock onto existing cropland or agroforestry systems has proven to not only diversify farm income streams, but also bring much needed ecological variety while replenishing minerals and nutrients in soils.

The events and resources below will give you an introduction to how the grazing of animals can help revitalize your farm, your community, and the broader ecological system your farm is a part of.  

Regenerative Grazing:  Fundamentals for Farmers

Put on by the Land Connection out of Central Illinois, this three-part online series covers the WHY (What is Regenerative Grazing?) and the HOW (The Nuts and Bolts of Regenerative Grazing on the Farm) with the third session devoted entirely to Q&A. The presenters include two livestock graziers in Illinois along with Kent Solberg of Minnesota, who, in addition to over 25 years experience in pasture based livestock systems, has spent the past 13 years integrating livestock into cropping systems to build soil health. There will also be opportunity for an on-farm field day in April.  (Online Series Cost: $30)

Learn more and register at this link.

Resource Page from Pasture Project

Pasture Project offers an extensive resource library on grazing livestock and has a commitment to show how pasture based systems can prove economically viable for farms and build resilient communities. Their Resource Page covers everything from financial calculators to video tutorials.

Visit the Resource Page at this link.

Livestock on the Land - Full Length Film

Click the video below (or this link) to view the film recently debuted by Practical Farmers of Iowa. Hear how grazing livestock in a regenerative way is bringing new hope to current and future generations of Iowa farmers and their rural communities. Let’s hope that regenerative grazing also picks up momentum in Illinois, which, like Iowa, has lost much of its grazing heritage in recent decades.