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Course Details for the Cumberland River Compact’s new River Friendly Farms Grazing School

About the River Friendly Farms Grazing School

The Cumberland River Compact’s latest agricultural education series, the River Friendly Farms Grazing School, sprung from a desire to help local livestock farmers improve their land– and their economic outcomes– while protecting sensitive water resources. The Compact will host one-day Grazing School workshops in the spring and fall starting in May of 2024 to teach farmers how to implement managed grazing systems on their farms. 

“Managed grazing” simply means rotating livestock into designated paddocks so that other previously munched pastures can recover. It is also known as rotational grazing, prescribed grazing, or adaptive multi-paddock grazing. 

Properly implemented, managed grazing systems are proven to improve forage quality and quantity and increase stocking densities. They also improve soil health, which decreases erosion, protects waterways, and can even help to sequester carbon. 

Through a holistic framework, Grazing School workshop attendees will learn how to inventory their farm and assess how their goals can be met with the land and resources available to them. They will learn many aspects of sustainable livestock management, including: 

  1. Construction of fencing (both temporary and permanent) and bracing 
  2. Low-stress animal handling 
  3. Determining carrying capacity of their land

Participating farmers can also apply for comprehensive funding for fencing, including portable electric fencing.

Apply here. Registration closes on Sunday, May 5, 2024.

Grazing School Teachers and Mentors

The Compact is thrilled to partner with Greg Brann for these Grazing School workshops. Greg is a renowned grazing specialist, consultant, and farmer based in Adolphus, Kentucky. He possesses a deep understanding of plant communities as indicators of soil health, and his attentive planning has helped passionate land owners and managers transform over 200,000 acres of land. In addition to teaching the Grazing School, Greg is offering a one-on-one mentorship opportunity for one lucky farmer who falls under the USDA’s Historically Underserved category. Contact Greg at gregbrann5@gmail.com to learn more.

Greg Brann

Ira Jones will serve as a farmer-mentor to our Grazing School cohort. Ira is a farmer and consultant who has seen his pastures and herd health improve with managed grazing. His efforts earned him the 2022 Davidson County Soil & Water Conservation District “Conservation Farmer of the Year Award.” He is a legacy Black farmer who grew up on a family farm in West Tennessee. Ira now resides in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, where he raises a small herd of beef cattle.

Ira Jones

Details About the Spring 2024 River Friendly Farms Grazing School

Who: Farmers interested in implementing or increasing livestock rotations. Historically Underserved (HU) farmers– those who identify as Socially Disadvantaged, Beginning, Veteran, or Limited Resource– will be given priority admittance and are strongly encouraged to apply. Farmers/consultants Greg Brann and Ira Jones will lead the class.

What: A 2-part class spent partly in the field at the Neal Brothers’ cattle farm in Lebanon, Tennessee, and also in the classroom at the nearby James E. Ward Agricultural Center. Lunch will be provided. The event will happen rain or shine.

When: Friday, May 10, 2024. Time TBD.

Where: Neal Farms Beef Co. and the James E. Ward Agricultural Center, Barnard School Exhibit Building, 945 E, Baddour Parkway, Lebanon, TN, 37087

Why: You are interested in improving your farm’s forage quality, stocking density, and herd health. You’d like the option to sell directly to consumers instead of the sale barn. You want to improve your farm’s soil and water resources for future generations to enjoy.

Cost: This course is offered at no cost to participating farmers, thanks to a grant from the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA).

Additional opportunities: Participating farmers can apply for funding to pay for portable electric, exclusionary, and cross-fencing. On a case-by-case basis, the Compact’s Field Team can also erect permanent fencing at no cost to exclude sensitive resources and rehabilitate degraded riparian areas. Greg Brann is offering  a one-on-one mentorship opportunity to a Historically Underserved farmer. Contact gregbrann5@gmail.com for further details on the mentorship.

Apply here. Registration closes on Sunday, May 5, 2024.

For additional information on the River Friendly Farms Grazing School or our River Friendly Farms Program, contact Caroline Hutchins at caroline.hutchins@cumberlandrivercompact.org.

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