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Beginning Farmers’ Success with Managed, Multi-Species Grazing, Cover Crops and More

By   /  June 5, 2017  /  2 Comments

Shane and Jessica Blair are new Minnesota farmers getting started with the help of a team from the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Here’s how it worked for them. See if there are resources here that might be useful to you, no matter where you are in your farming/ranching career.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm”.  To see th
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About the author

Julie MacSwain has served as the State Public Affairs Specialist for NRCS in Minnesota since 2003. Effective May 28, 2017. Julie will be working for Oregon NRCS as the Assistant State Conservationist- Partnership Coordinator. Julie has been with NRCS for 32 years. She has worked in Wisconsin and Minnesota and held positions including Soil Conservationist, District Conservationists and Public Affairs Specialist. Julie was born and raised on a beef cow calf operation in Blanchardville, Wisconsin where she learned about crop and beef production, soil and water conservation, and the importance of caring for the land. Julie has a Bachelors of Science degree in Agriculture Education from the University of Wisconsin Platteville. She enjoys many sports, but especially the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. Julie values outdoor activities and spending time with family and friends.


  1. Gene Schriefer says:

    I can’t attach photo’s to the comment section, while sheep may not “like” to graze tall forage but once trained, can and will graze rather tall forage. 12″+ grazed to 5-6″.

    Taller forages have deeper more robust root system, shade the soil keeping at a more conducive temperature in summer and less weed seed germination and higher water infiltration rates. The combines to improve pasture resiliency.

    Taller forages with higher residual also keeps parasite re-infection levels lower as the highest concentration of L3 larvae are in the lowest layer of the canopy.

    Keep trying. Who’s the manager here, you or the flock?

    • Steve Meyer says:

      I had my lambs in 16 to 20 inch tall grass last year co-grazing with the cattle. They gained over half a pound per day, so they didn’t suffer too much…

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