Rotational grazing has several benefits that attract the cattle farmer’s attention, but cost is often the factor that turns them away.
Why is it important to manage pastures?
According to the Natural Resource Conservation Service, many pasture problems such as slow growth, weed invasions and bare ground, are caused by the pasture management methods being used. Good management is the key to healthy, productive pastures that lead to healthy, productive animals.
Livestock systems that rely on continuous grazing are often over and under grazed. When livestock are allowed to graze freely, they eat the best forage first. If these plants are not allowed time to regrow, they will die and over time the pasture will decline in productivity. Rotational grazing is designed to let forages rest between grazings so that they can grow back more quickly. The more paddocks and the more frequent the rotation, the healthier the pasture.
Because of the need to improve the quality of soil and vegetation in pasturelands, the NRCS offers a 75 percent cost share program for qualified farmers.
The cost sharing plan helped pay for the fencing and a new water pipeline to for a more strategically located water source.
Traditional water sources, such as ponds, creeks or springs, can cause overgrazing near the water source. Modifying the location of the water tanks helped improve the vegetation quality of the entire pasture.
To be eligible, the producer must have an adjusted gross income of less than $900,000 per year; must be an individual owner or have a one- to 10-year contract with permission to engage in conservation practices; must not be a government agency or municipality.
Entities or organizations must have a DUNS number and be registered in the federal system for award management.
Producers can also receive technical and financial assistance through the voluntary Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
More information on qualifications is provided on the NRCS website.
The application process will also determine a producer’s eligibility.
To apply, producers can go to “Getting Started with NRCS” on the NRCS website, which highlights each step of planning, applying, eligibility, ranking and implementing. As the first step, the NRCS recommends producers contact their local NRCS field office.