Sustaining Minnesota’s Beef and Dairy Industries and Environment
A joint project of the MN NRCS and Sustainable Farming Association
The Mission of Keep Cattle in Minnesota is to sustain the beef and dairy industries in Minnesota while protecting our vast environmental resources.
Keep Cattle in Minnesota is targeted toward four main audiences
- Brand-new farmers
- Experienced Farmers who are looking to add or adjust a business enterprise
- Retiring dairy producers
- Farmers seeking to re-integrate livestock into their row crop operations for the purpose of building soil health
Upcoming Keep Cattle in Minnesota Events
Led by SFA Livestock and Grazing Coordinator Kent Solberg and project coordinator Wayne Monsen, a key function of Keep Cattle in Minnesota will be on-farm events where expert producers will teach farmers – new and experienced alike – new ways to launch or enhance their cattle operations.
SFA Keep Cattle in Minnesota Soil Health Webinar Slated for Nov. 21
Registration is now open for a free SFA Keep Cattle in Minnesota webinar featuring soil health experts Michael Lehman and Wendy Taheri of the USDA North Central Agricultural Research Lab in Brookings, S.D. The webinar, set for 1-2:30 p.m. Fri., Nov. 21, is part of our Keep Cattle In Minnesota project and functions as a bridge to our upcoming Midwest Soil Health Summit, where both Lehman and Taheri are scheduled to present.
- Cover Cropping: A Great Tool for Building Soils That Work – Lehman will consider the invisible world of soil microorganisms, what they do that is helpful to producers, and how cover cropping is one management tool that promotes soil microorganisms and their beneficial activities.
- Understanding the Importance of Diversity in Cropping Systems – Taheri’s presentation will help farmers understand the importance of diversity in their cropping systems and the role cover crops play in creating and maintaining diversity.
To register, click here. This webinar is sponsored by The Pasture Project.
SFA Keep Cattle in Minnesota Cover Crop Field Day is Nov. 1 near Sebeka
SFA is hosting a Cover Crop Field Day as part of its Keep Cattle in Minnesota project from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Nov. 1, 2014, in the Sebeka/Verndale area. The event is FREE and open to the public, and no RSVP is required.
During the Field Day, attendees will review two fields planted to complex cover-crop mixes; one is planted to a cool-season mix and the other to a warm-season mix. These mixes were designed to stimulate soil microbes, build soil organic matter and provide livestock forage. Cattle will likely be utilizing at least one of these fields the day of the tour. There will be a soil pit in the second field to view cover crop root action and growth.
The tour begins at Larry Heitkamp’s Yellow Rose Organic Farm on County Road 12 seven miles east of U.S. 71 in Sebeka, or three miles east of the Co. Rd. 12 and Co. Rd. 23 intersection. Watch for SFA signs.
After the program at the Heitkamp farm, the group will caravan to the second stop, Kent and Linda Solberg’s farm, at 18618 Co. Rd. 23, Verndale.
Keep an eye on this page and in SFA Connect (click here to subscribe) for Upcoming Keep Cattle in Minnesota events. Also, attend the Midwest Soil Health Summit, a full conference geared to improve the health of your soil, which is set for Feb. 18-19, 2015.
From NRCS, this video, “The Science of Soil Health: Without Carrot or Stick” is a short interview with Penn State researcher Dr. Sjoerd Duiker that details how dairy farmers in his state are using cover crops to improve their business – without regulations or subsidies. Watch it here.
Other Grazing Groups
For more information about the Crow Wing River Basin Forage Council, contact Jim Chamberlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the Grazing Lands Conservation Association, visit the GLCA homepage.
Scenes From Past Events
2014.1.17 KCIM-Moose Lake at Abe Mach’s farm in Sturgeon Lake.
Video from Abe Mach’s Farm:
2013.12.17 KCIM-Redwood Falls at Grant and Dawn Breitkreutz farm.
2013.11.22 KCIM-Wadena at Ivan and Dayle Reinke farm.
In photo below, Ivan Reinke discusses bale grazing and management of his beef operation to participants at the workshop in Ottertail County.
Shifting the focus of agriculture from maximum yields to maximum soil health quality is critical to the sustainability of agriculture in Minnesota, the Upper Midwest, the United States and globally. SFA is committed to continued soil health programming, including programs addressing the integration of cover crops, row crops and livestock grazing. We will continue the pursuit of funding and programs that foster the development of soil health building practices for the long term.