The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has just launched the Cropland Grazing Exchange. The new online tool seeks to connect crop farmers and livestock farmers to improve soil health.
Livestock are an integral part of achieving optimal soil health. They convert forages to more available forms of nutrients and help break up residue material and stimulate soil microbial activity. As crop producers have become more specialized, the lack of livestock impact has become evident in declining soil health.
“The Cropland Grazing Exchange is a simple solution to a sometimes complex issue,” said MDA Program Administrator Kelly Anderson. “Modern agricultural tools like portable watering systems, temporary fencing, and remote solar energizers make it possible for livestock producers to graze their herds on a short-term basis. That gives livestock farmers more grazing options, and it also helps stimulate soil health for crop farmers. It’s a win-win.”
The online tool allows crop and livestock farmers to register their location by township and provide basic information about their fields or livestock. An interactive map shows available grazing sites and livestock herds. Registered users may contact each other to initiate a conversation about grazing agreements.
Visitors to the Cropland Grazing Exchange website will also find information about writing a grazing lease, guidelines on herbicide restrictions, and other considerations for custom grazing.
For more information and to register, visit http://www.mda.state.mn.us/cge or contact Kelly Anderson at 320-808-4424.
The Cropland Grazing Exchange was created in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the Minnesota Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota.
Alauna Yust, MDA Communications