Monday, April 18, 2011

Ohio Grazing School Program

The Ohio Grazing Schools are educational programs taught by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and The Ohio State University Extension. The schools serve three purposes: 1) educate producers and agency personnel in the art and science of grazing management; 2) transfer new technology in grassland management to producers and agency personnel; 3) improve the producers’ ability to better manage the natural resources.
They are a “hands-on” grassland school that is designed for the producer and the resource manager.   We aim to provide valuable information in a fun atmosphere you can use to ensure your farm is environmentally responsible as well as economically viable.  The goal is to make this educational event a one of a kind experience.  If you are a producer or agency person you are encouraged to register.
Contact Agency your local office of the USDA-NRCS, OSU Extension, or the local Soil and Water Conservation District.
Schools are taught generally during the grazing season.  The grazing schools consist of both class room and field exercises.
Ohio Forage and Grassland Council provide a notebook at a nominal cost.  
Program Highlights
191 Grazing Schools have been held so far with over 3250 participants through December, 2010.  There are Basic (Pasture for Profit) and Advanced Grazing Schools and a Forage for Horses school.  There is also a Forage Production Workshop for hay and silage producers.  All these programs are 2 to 3 evenings in length and some include an on farm exercise sometimes held on Saturday mornings.
Pasture for Profit
Ø     Getting Started
Ø     (What is MiG)
Ø     Pasture Plant  Growth
Ø     (Environmental Considerations)
Ø     Fencing Systems
Ø     Livestock Watering Systems
Ø     Forage Species Selection
Ø     Economics of Grazing
Ø     Paddock Layout and Design
Ø     Meeting Animal Nutritional Requirements on Pasture
Ø     (How Soils Affect Grazing)
Ø     (Pasture Weed Control)
Ø     (Mineral Supplementation)
Ø     (Designing a Grazing Systems)
Forage for Horses
Ø     Horse Nutrition
Ø     Soils and Soil Fertility
Ø     Forage Species Selection
Ø     Plant Growth Physiology
Ø     Pasture Management and Paddock Design
Ø     Hay Quality and Storage
Ø     Manure Management
Ø     (Economic and Marketing)
Ø     (Poisonous Plants)
Ø     (Pasture Renovation)
Ø     (Tall Fescue Management)
 Topics in (  ) are available, but the other topics are strongly recommended to be presented at all grazing schools.
Instructors are provided with multimedia materials.   The material was originally developed as slide set converted to power points and now revised to digital format (updated in 2006, 2009).
Producer materials include manuals, grazing sticks, and other technical handouts provided by the speakers.
 Program Description
Grazing Councils offer a good, inexpensive way for people to exchange ideas and information about specific pasture management practices.  Most grazing councils are informal, periodical gatherings were local producers talk about current pasture management needs.  Pasture walks are the format generally used.  A pasture walk consists of a host farm sharing their management and walking a pasture discussing the effects of the management system.
 Contact your local USDA-NRCS, Soil and Water Conservation District and Ohio State University Extension Offices. There are several grazing councils across the state.  There are two good reasons for starting or joining a grazing council.  You help yourself by learning from the experiences of others and you can help others by sharing your experiences.