Sand County Foundation will demonstrate the conservation and economic benefits of grazing livestock on cover crops.
A $249,205 grant by the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) Program supports Sand County Foundation’s three-year project with farmers in Wisconsin’s Baraboo River watershed.
“We will demonstrate that grazing cover crops positively impacts soil health, nutrient runoff reduction, and feed cost efficiency,” said Dr. Heidi Peterson, Sand County Foundation’s Vice President of Agricultural Research and Conservation.
Sand County Foundation, a national non-profit that works at the intersection of agriculture and environmental improvement, will work with experienced graziers involved in the Sauk Soil & Water Improvement Group (SSWIG).
SSWIG is a farmer-led effort that focuses on improving soil health and water quality within the Baraboo River watershed. By expanding the number of acres using conservation practices, their efforts minimize runoff, increase water infiltration and mitigate flooding events.
Dr. Randy Jackson with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Agronomy is another key partner in the project titled, “Onto Greener Pastures with Rotational Grazing and Cover Crops.”
“By sharing the feedback we’ll gather from experienced graziers on the benefits of using cover crops in a rotational grazing system, we hope to build confidence among other landowners in this conservation tool,” Peterson said.
For more than 50 years, Sand County Foundation has evaluated and demonstrated conservation practices with farmers, ranchers, foresters and businesses. These efforts produce clean water, healthy soil, abundant wildlife habitat and opportunities for outdoor recreation.
Sand County Foundation has considerable experience in the Baraboo River watershed, having spearheaded the initiative to remove old and unsafe dams and return the river to a free flowing condition in 2001.
NCR-SARE awarded more than $2.9 million to 13 projects in a competitive grant program for researchers and educators. NCR-SARE is one of four regional offices that run the SARE program, a nationwide grants and education program to advance sustainable innovation to American agriculture.
NCR-SARE offers competitive grants and educational opportunities for producers, scientists, educators, institutions, organizations, and others exploring sustainable agriculture in America’s Midwest.