17 events to focus on Soil Health for Ranch $uccess

Kansas Farmers Union is pleased to announce North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center has awarded funding for Amazing Grazing III – Soil Health for Ranch $uccess. This project offers a wide variety of workshops and tours to improve soil health and profitability on Kansas ranches.

“Producers and educators greatly enjoyed the variety of educational events and reported the value of the activities offered in Amazing Grazing I and II. Amazing Grazing III was created based on requests for information needed by producers at past grazing events. We submitted Soil Health for Ranch $uccess to help provide ranchers the information that they need to better operate their ranches and succeed in the business and livelihood that they love. This effort brings an outstanding group of educators, organizations, ranchers and topics together for Amazing Grazing III,” stated Mary Howell, Project Director.

Soil Health for Ranch $uccess provides educational events and networking opportunities on improving soil health while producing forage using cover crops, mycorrhiza fungi, understanding how multi-species crops compliment and help improve the function of the pasture resource. Several workshops focus on specific topics like cool season forages, agroforestry, electric fence and water systems. Ranchers will have opportunities for hands on pasture experience to develop skills by actually observing plant communities, grazing situations, learning plant identification, evaluating soil, and practicing with instructor help and group discussion.

Workshops and field days featuring nationally know instructors will focus on how to improve grazing resources with soil health and management to reduce input costs. A healthy soil improves productivity and prosperity for livestock producers exploring managed grazing, alternative forage crops, ranching economics, and cost management. Producers will understand market demands and the trends in the meat industry effecting profitability. Participants will learn to figure actual production costs for effective decision making. The easiest money a rancher makes is the money he doesn’t needlessly spend.

The first event is a two day Agroforestry workshop May 20-21, 2015 in Topeka. Agroforestry allows for the practices of silvopasture, windbreaks, riparian buffers, alley cropping, and forest farming. These practices diversify farm income, improve water quality and nutrient cycling, reduce erosion, protect crops and enhance habitat. Trees can provide a wide variety of understory crops, the deep roots stabilize the soil, the soil health improves and the trees sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Foresters from Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri will be teaching this workshop.

Amazing Grazing is a collaboration of the Kansas Farmers Union and the Kansas Graziers Association. Funding for this project was provided by the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center & USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture under Award Number 2012-49200-20032. Project partners include: Kansas Alliance for Wetlands & Streams, Kansas Grazing  Lands Coalition, K-State Research and Extension, Farm Credit Associations of Kansas, Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops, and NRCS-Kansas. More information can be found at AmazingGrazingKansas.com, contact Mary Howell kfu.mary@gmail.com or call 785-562-8726.