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Warren King Manager, The Pasture Project Grassfed Exchange Annual Meeting August 22, 2013 M ANAGED G RAZING The 21 st Century Solution for Agriculture.

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Presentation on theme: "Warren King Manager, The Pasture Project Grassfed Exchange Annual Meeting August 22, 2013 M ANAGED G RAZING The 21 st Century Solution for Agriculture."— Presentation transcript:

1 Warren King Manager, The Pasture Project Grassfed Exchange Annual Meeting August 22, 2013 M ANAGED G RAZING The 21 st Century Solution for Agriculture and the Environment Warren King Project Manager The Pasture Project

2 O VERVIEW About the Pasture Project Beyond the farm benefits of sustainable and grass-based agriculture Current and potential applications Conclusions Discussion & questions About the Pasture Project Beyond the farm benefits of sustainable and grass-based agriculture Current and potential applications Conclusions Discussion & questions 2

3 T HE P ASTURE P ROJECT Our Goal Increase acreage in the Upper Mississippi River Basin that is sustainably managed by expanding the regions production of grass-fed livestock. Approaches: Broadly share with farmers the economic and environmental benefits associated with grass-fed beef production Help trusted individuals/institutions provide technical assistance to farmers related to land management and accessing the grass-fed beef market Support shifts in political, financial, land access and other systems that limit entry into grass-fed markets Regional Partner Organizations: Our Goal Increase acreage in the Upper Mississippi River Basin that is sustainably managed by expanding the regions production of grass-fed livestock. Approaches: Broadly share with farmers the economic and environmental benefits associated with grass-fed beef production Help trusted individuals/institutions provide technical assistance to farmers related to land management and accessing the grass-fed beef market Support shifts in political, financial, land access and other systems that limit entry into grass-fed markets Regional Partner Organizations: Kickapoo Grazing Initiative Land Stewardship Project Southwest Badger RC&D Sustainable Farming Association Land Stewardship Project 3

4 A PPROACHES W E VE T ESTED Transition conventional cattle producers through existing grass-fed farmers and ranchers as experts to deliver education, training, and connection to resources Use a Train the Trainer approach to target local NRCS agents or Grazing Specialists for advanced education - to create events and tools that will promote conservation and conversion Create a new position/career called a Grazing Broker to educate landowners, assess financial potential, and implement plans to transition existing acres to pasture-based agriculture 4

5 A PPROACHES W E VE T ESTED Expand bird-friendly grass-fed beef production. Explore development of an Audubon through business planning and marketing to connect producers and consumers Initially focused in western Missouri and eastern Kansas Use a kitchen table counseling approach to engage producers and landowners in conversation about what they want from their land and the opportunities for stewardship and profit with grass-fed beef Close gaps in the supply chain by developing a role for professional finishers and encouraging other producers to transition 5

6 L EADERSHIP Core Team Warren King, Wellspring Ltd. Allen Williams, Ph.D., LMC, LLC John Fisk, Ph.D., Wallace Center at Winrock International Advisory Committee: Todd Churchill, Thousand Hills Cattle Co. Andrew Gunther, Animal Welfare Approved Lauren Gwin, Oregon State University Will Harris, White Oak Pastures Mike Lorentz, Lorentz Meats Lauren Paine, WI Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection Kerry Smith, USDA AMS Patricia Whisnant, Rain Crow Ranch Dan Rosenthal, Chicago Green Restaurant Co-op Denis Jennisch, US Foods George Boody and Terry VanDerPol, Land Stewardship Project Greg Nowicki, Wisconsin Grass-fed Beef Cooperative Cara Carper, SW WI Grassland and Stream Conservation Association Jeff Hastings, Trout Unlimited Cynthia Olmstead, Kickapoo Grazing Initiative John Mesko, Sustainable Farming Association Kristine Jepsen, Grass Run Farms Moira McDonald, Walton Family Foundation Sarah Bell and Michael Roberts, Schmidt Family Foundation Rod Ofte, Norse Group Allison Van, Wallace Center at Winrock International 6

7 S UPPLY C HAIN R ESEARCH The market for grass-finished beef is growing at 15-20% annually, with potential to reach 22% of households Relative to conventional cattle production, producers can lower costs, increase prices, and participate higher up the value chain Supply of grass-finished animals is the key limiting factor, however, the region has the animal numbers, acres and processing capacity to support transition Working with existing branded programs is likely the quickest way to expand sales; there are multiple choices of branded programs to sell to in the region 7

8 O VERVIEW About the Pasture Project Beyond the farm benefits of sustainable and grass-based agriculture Current and potential applications Conclusions Discussion & questions About the Pasture Project Beyond the farm benefits of sustainable and grass-based agriculture Current and potential applications Conclusions Discussion & questions 8

9 B EYOND THE F ARM B ENEFITS What can well- managed grazing do? Improve Water Quality Increase Wildlife Habitat Reduce Flooding & Increase Water Recharge Capture & Hold Carbon What can well- managed grazing do? Improve Water Quality Increase Wildlife Habitat Reduce Flooding & Increase Water Recharge Capture & Hold Carbon HOW? I T ALL STARTS WITH THE SOIL !!! 9

10 C LEAN A IR AND W ATER S TART WITH S OIL O RGANIC M ATTER 10

11 W ATER H OLDING C APACITY 11

12 B ENEFITS OF C OVER C ROPS AND M ANAGED G RAZING 12 soil erosion nutrient run-off herbicide/pesticide use operational costs soil health soil moisture retention net farm returns R EDUCE /E LIMINATE : I MPROVE :

13 I MPROVING W ATER Q UALITY 13 Lower Fox River Watershed: Phosphorous Reduction Project Multi-year pilot project of NRCS through GLRI Targeted reduction of sediment and phosphorous Agriculture contributes 66% of Total Suspended Solids(TSS) Grazing as alternative for dairy farmers is a key element of the pilot. Local RC&D is contracted for outreach and technical assistance on managed grazing Eventually lead to development of a phosphorous trading scheme for the watershed

14 L OWER F OX R IVER W ATERSHED 14 Source: Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources

15 I MPROVING W ATER Q UALITY 15 Yahara CLEAN: Phosphorous Reduction Project Multi-year pilot project by Clean Lakes Alliance of Dane County, WI (Madison Area) Targeted reduction of P by 50% annually in Yahara River chain of lakes Agriculture contributes ~ 71% of total phosphorous load 20 year project costing $50 million to meet reduction goals Strategies include increasing cover crops, no-till, production of biomass, erosion control and purchase of manure digesters. Grazing as an alternative practice is NOT in the strategic plan

16 Y AHARA C LEAN 16

17 I MPROVING W ILDLIFE H ABITAT 17 National Audubon Society: Bird-Friendly Grazing Use of adaptive grazing to improve the habitat of grassland birds Pilot project in Flint Hills Area of Missouri to determine which grazing practices are of highest benefit MDC and consultants providing technical assistance to ranchers May lead to protocol, certification and brand of bird- friendly beef

18 B IRD -F RIENDLY G RAZING 18 New paddock with over 20 documented species Pasture after hard grazing with cover remaining for birds Images courtesy of Dr. Allen Williams

19 B IRD -F RIENDLY G RAZING 19 Moving from grazed to ungrazed pasture – note the difference in forage height Pasture allowed to mature prior to next grazing provides cover for birds Images courtesy of Dr. Allen Williams

20 I MPROVING W ILDLIFE H ABITAT 20 Trout Unlimited: Driftless Area Initiatives Trout Unlimited (TU) is partnering with state & federal agencies, conservation groups and farmers to promote managed grazing Recreational fishing in the Driftless generates over $1.0 billion annually TU is a leader in The Kickapoo Grazing Initiative, promoting grazing to increase SOI and reduce nutrient runoff in streams and rivers Improvements in fish populations are so dramatic that WDFW is removing brown trout from some streams

21 D RIFTLESS A REA 21 Source: Driftless Area Partners

22 I MPACTS OF I MPROPER G RAZING 22 Images Courtesy of: Trout Unlimited

23 WDNR S TREAM R ESTORATION 23 Trout Run, Eyota MN Restoration in Progress Images Courtesy: Trout Unlimited

24 WDNR S TREAM R ESTORATION 24 Images Courtesy: Trout Unlimited

25 G RAZING ON S PRING C OULEE 25 Grazing on Spring Coulee Ungrazed, unrestored stretch Images Courtesy: Willow Creek Ranch

26 E CONOMIC I MPACT OF R ESTORATIVE G RAZING 26 Images Courtesy: Trout Unlimited

27 O VERVIEW About the Pasture Project Beyond the farm benefits of sustainable and grass-based agriculture Current and potential applications Conclusions Discussion & questions About the Pasture Project Beyond the farm benefits of sustainable and grass-based agriculture Current and potential applications Conclusions Discussion & questions 27

28 C ONTROLLING F LOODING AND I NCREASING W ATER R ECHARGE City of Milwaukee GreenSeams® Project Infrastructure and land acquisition project by the Milwaukee Metro Sewer District (MMSD) to control flooding and improve water quality The project has acquired over 2,000 acres at a cost of nearly $15 million to re-establish natural flood plains Since flooding in the late 90s that caused an estimated $90 million in damage, MMSD has spent over $250 million on infrastructure to control flooding http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLsmXXR1gz0 City of Milwaukee GreenSeams® Project Infrastructure and land acquisition project by the Milwaukee Metro Sewer District (MMSD) to control flooding and improve water quality The project has acquired over 2,000 acres at a cost of nearly $15 million to re-establish natural flood plains Since flooding in the late 90s that caused an estimated $90 million in damage, MMSD has spent over $250 million on infrastructure to control flooding http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLsmXXR1gz0 28

29 C ONTROLLING F LOODING AND I NCREASING W ATER R ECHARGE Paw Paw River Watershed (MI): FieldPrint Calculator Collaboration between Van Buren Conservation District, Coca-Cola, World Wildlife Federation and the Nature Conservancy The calculator allows farms and landowners to determine the environmental impact of ag operations, including soil erosion, water usage and SOI No-till and cover crops are being promoted as management tools to improve sustainability Coca-Cola is particularly interested in recharging the aquifer since they have a bottling operation in Van Buren County 29

30 C OCA -C OLA S I NTEREST 30 Source: The Coca-Cola Company

31 C APTURING & H OLDING C ARBON California Cap and Trade Program Allows Polluting Industries to Purchase Offsets to Carbon Emissions Recent Auction Permits Sold from $10-$15 per ton of CO2 Grazing is not yet approved as an offset activity, however the protocol is being developed Using conservative estimates for CO2 captured from grazing, the offset credit could be worth $40-$60 per acre There are other GHG, fertilizer, and fuel reductions from grazing that could also be included in the credit 31

32 O VERVIEW About the Pasture Project Beyond the farm benefits of sustainable and grass-based agriculture Current and potential applications Conclusions Discussion & questions About the Pasture Project Beyond the farm benefits of sustainable and grass-based agriculture Current and potential applications Conclusions Discussion & questions 32

33 C ONCLUSIONS 33 The environmental issues are on a landscape and watershed scale They are expensive to address using the present technology and a mitigation mentality Changes to agricultural are seen as part of the solution, however grazers are not part of the conversation The ability of managed grazing to address these issues is a proven solution Grazing planned and executed on a watershed scale will take a high level of coordination and teamwork

34 C ONCLUSIONS 34 Grass-based livestock operations are the opportunity to use an agronomic solution that reduces the cost of production, leverages a real & growing market demand, and potentially saves taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure spending Strategic and coordinated communications targeted at municipalities, conservationists and businesses that promotes the benefits of grazing related to clean water, flood control, harvesting water and wildlife habitat should be a high priority for the grass-fed beef industry

35 35 Q UESTIONS AND C OMMENTS ? For more information, go to: www.wallacecenter.org, email w.king@wellspringltd.com, or call 703-302-6530 W ARREN K ING T HE P ASTURE P ROJECT


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