Dr. Frederick D. Provenza will be the featured speaker at the annual Kansas Graziers Association winter conference on Saturday, January 31, 2015 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Ambassador Hotel in Salina.
Dr. Provenza, Professor Emeritus, Department of Wildland Resources, Utah State University will present How Palates Link Soil, Plants, Herbivores, and People: Ways to Enable or Inhibit Nourishing Relationships explaining how the interrelationships among soils, plants, animals and people affect the landscape.
For more than 30 years, Dr. Provenza produced groundbreaking results on behavior-based livestock research. This research has identified two key concepts that land managers need to grasp to increase profits while enhancing the health of landscapes socially, economically and environmentally:
~ Nature and nurture work in concert to influence animal behavior.
~ Human health is tied to the health of the land.
According to Dr. Provenza, a rancher’s work begins before livestock are even born: “Experiences in utero and early in life have life-long influences on animal behavior–from an animal’s disposition, to the foods and habitats where it prefers to live. Producers can create animals adapted to using foods and habitats available locally while minimizing inputs of ever-more costly fossil fuels.”
Understanding the relationship between the body and the palate creates opportunities for people to train livestock to select certain forages and forbs, to avoid eating poisonous plants, to better utilize invasive plants, and to rejuvenate landscapes for the benefit of both wild and domestic animals.
Palatability, Provenza notes, is more than a matter of taste. Palatability involves dynamic and ongoing interrelationships among cells and organs that feedback to the palate to change liking for various mixes of forages available in a landscape. These relationships form the basis for the nutritional wisdom of the animal’s ability to meet the needs for energy, protein, and various minerals as well as to self-medicate to rectify maladies.
All animals satiate – they get sick and tired of eating the same old foods in the same old places. Providing animals with a variety of foods and habitats enhances their nutrition, health, well-being and ultimately efficiency of production.
Biodiversity is thus more than an ecological buzzword – it is the foundation for nutrition, health, and low-cost production. Provenza explains, “Biodiverse landscapes are literally nutrition centers and pharmacies. A diverse array of plants are necessary for the health of soil, plants, herbivores, and people. Biodiversity enables animals to select diets that meet their needs for primary (nutrients) and secondary (nature’s pharmacy) compounds, thereby enhancing nutrition and health.”
Dr. Provenza’s research is helping people to better develop plant mixtures that build soil organic matter and nutrients, reduce dependence of plants on fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides, promote the nutrition and health of herbivores without reliance on antibiotics and anthelmintics (parasite control), and enhance the flavor and quality of meat for human consumption.
Registration for Winter Grazing Conference is $60.00 and includes lunch and handouts. A $10 early bird discount is available if registering before January 24.
Doors open at 8:00 a.m. and Dr. Provenza will start at 8:30. For more information contact Mary Howell at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 785-562-8726. A block of rooms is being held at Salina Ambassador, 785-833-2079.
Amazing Grazing II partners include: Kansas Farmers Union, Kansas Graziers Association, Kansas NRCS, Kansas Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops, Kansas State Research and Extension, Farm Credit, and Kansas Grazing Land Coalition, with funding from North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.