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Kansas farming and ranching, economic viability, quality of life, conserving our natural resources, and good stewardship. All are subjects to be covered in the Kansas Agroforestry Workshop scheduled for May 20 – 21, in Topeka, Kansas.

The workshop features some of the most knowledgeable experts in the field of agroforestry which endeavors to integrate trees and shrubs into agricultural systems while simultaneously maximizing conservation and economic benefits. The goal? Increasing the over-all value of your farming operation!
Catering to farmers, ranchers, landowners and natural resource professionals, the workshop will teach science-based design, function, and benefits of silvopasture, alley cropping, windbreaks, riparian buffers and forest farming.

Sponsored by the Kansas Farmers Union, the Kansas Forest Service and a host of other partners, the workshop features experts from the University of Missouri’s Center for Agroforestry. Gene Garrett, editor and co-author of North American Agroforestry: An Integrated Science and Practice, will provide an overview of agroforestry and lead a session on alley cropping which places high-value tree rows of black walnut in wide spacings while wheat, corn, soybeans or hay are grown in-between rows. Alley cropping potentially creates long-term high value lumber or veneer products while providing annual income from the crops planted in the alleyways.

Foresters sometimes only see livestock as being damaging to trees, and they certainly can. However, silvopasture practices enable ranchers to grow high value trees while producing annual forage crops and providing grazing opportunities. Dusty Walter and Carol Williams, University of Missouri, experts on the subject, will outline the steps necessary to develop silvopasture systems.

Other featured speakers include Shibu Jose, Director of the Center for Agroforestry at the University of Missouri, and recent recipient of the Scientific Achievement Award from the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO). Shibu will be on hand to lead panel discussions along with several other nationally recognized experts.

Rich Straight, National Agroforestry Center, will teach the mechanics and function of windbreaks and shelterbelts which are expected to become more prevalent in farming operations as drought continues and reductions in irrigation increase interest in dryland farming. Research will also be shared regarding the crop yield benefits shelterbelts provide and the new Great Plains Windbreak Crop Yield Study which is based on yield monitor data from combines.

Cover crops, economics of agroforestry, forest buffers, specialty crops like pecans and shiitake mushrooms, are additional subjects that will also be covered during the workshop.

The registration fee for the workshop is $70 per person ($85 after May 16) which includes refreshments, lunch and social on the 20th and breakfast and lunch on the 21st.
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A workshop brochure is also available on line at by clicking on News and Events. Contact Mary Howell, Amazing Grazing Project Director, with questions: 785-562-8726 or

The Ramada Downtown Hotel is the site of the two-day, indoor event. A special room rate of $74 has been arranged for the meeting. Call 785-234-5400 to make reservations and ask for the Agroforestry Workshop block of rooms. The Ramada is located at 420 SE 6th Avenue. A workshop brochure is also available on line at by clicking on News and Events.

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.

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If you would like more information about Amazing Grazing program, or wish to schedule an interview with presenters, please call Mary Howell at 785-562-8726 or email Mary at

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Graphic: Amazing Grazing III: Soil Heal for Ranch $uccess logo available here.

Kansas Farmers Union is the state’s oldest active general farm organization working to protect and enhance the economic interests and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers and rural communities. We believe family ownership of farm land is the basis for the world’s most viable system of food and fiber production, and that maintaining this family farm system will preserve our natural and human resources.