Potential of Grazing in the Riparian Zone
Friday, December 1st 1:30-2:30pm E.T.
~with Kimberly Hagen – Extension Grazing Specialist, Center for Sustainable Agriculture at University of Vermont
There is a great deal of evidence that allowing livestock uncontrolled access to riparian areas can damage the ecological integrity and sustainability of those ecosystems. In the efforts to recover and rehabilitate riparian zones we have seen:
- Nearly 3 decades of government programs – volunteer programs for those choosing to enroll in return for a share of the cost of implementing a practice, or building a structure.
- Over 100 million spent by the Government to implement, and mostly this went into improving or building animal confinement facilities and manure management facilities – a lesser amount to better cultivation practices, and streambank rehabilitation and protection.
- More recently efforts have focused on the establishment of buffer zones/filter strips along stream banks and wet areas, and grazing is not allowed.
- This effort has brought a rapid increase in the population of invasive weeds and woody plants – Japanese knotweed, honeysuckle, multiflora rose, bedstraw, reed canary grass, etc.
- Only minor improvements to stream ecosystems have resulted from this effort.
Research is providing evidence that if livestock are managed properly, grazing these areas can be beneficial – simultaneously improving farm productivity, while decreasing input expenses and protecting the environment. Management is the key.
Kimberly joined the Center for Sustainable Agriculture in February 2012 to provide technical assistance and support for grass-based farms: for those already immersed in the practices, those planning to transition, and everything in between. Kimberly spent several years working on all kinds of farms around the world, finally returning to Vermont where she has been raising sheep, chickens, horses and the occasional cow, on her own grass-based farm since 1987, and providing agricultural education and outreach for NOFA to communities and schools. With a background and MS in Environmental Biology from Antioch New England, Kimberly thoroughly enjoys the problem solving of bringing farms to a more balanced relationship with the natural systems around them. Years of observations and working with grass-based systems have led her to believe that if the environment is healthy, the animals and plants are healthy and the economics of the farm will also be healthy.
Go to our Eventbrite Page for registration details.
or Logon to the webinar classroom at 1:30 ET on Friday, December 1st!