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Back to Grass – Turning Marginal Cropland to Pasture For a Diverse Sustainable Operation

By   /  May 14, 2018  /  Comments Off on Back to Grass – Turning Marginal Cropland to Pasture For a Diverse Sustainable Operation

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Darin Michalski’s direction in life was influenced by his father. “Dad didn’t like farming much. He was more into cattle. He always cussed some of the land we farmed. It was pretty marginal land and said that we should sow this down to grass.”
So when he got his first 80, that’s what Darin ended up doing. It was a poor piece of ground covered in quack grass and rocks, and when all he ended up with 30 bushel of corn, his next move was to disc it up and turn it back into grass.
In this 3:03 installment of “Our Amazing Grasslands,” Darin and his wife Jessica talk about their passion for grasslands and raising livestock on them.  They talk about how their rotational grazing system, and how their management and the timing of their grazing has brought back native species, both grasses and forbs, even on land where they thought the native population had disappeared.
“The loss of our native grasslands really impacts us on a global scale. It maybe isn’t as headline news as the loss of the rain forest for example. But it’s as impactful….We need to remember that this land was native grassland when we first inhabited it. That serves a huge purpose in our global ecosystem. We need to keep that in mind when we are talking about feeding the world, but also maintaining those native grasslands. They’re so important.”

If you’re inspired by what you see and you’d like a little more detail, you’ll want to listen to Working Cow’s podcast #17. Clay Conry interviews Darin and Jessica about the history of their operation and what they’ve learned along the way. You’ll learn about how they focus on the long-term with their decision making. Jessica talks about how she uses her Animal Science education and her access to the newest and best ideas from the Natural Resources Conservation Service about the importance of diversity in grasses and legumes to improve soil health. Darin talks about their rotational grazing management and the return of the native species, and about their landlord relationships and how good management is sometimes worth more to landowners than more rent money. You’ll even learn about why they’ve given up alfalfa to grow other forages to feed their stock.

Do You Want to Listen But Need a Little More Information on How?

I included instructions on how you can download podcasts to your smartphone or tablet in this article.

What Do You Think of Podcasts Now?

Let me know if you’re taking the leap to a new technology or not. There’s a lot of great information out there in this format and it would help me to know how it’s working for you. Just send me an email. Thanks!

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About the author

Publisher, Editor and Author

Kathy worked with the Bureau of Land Management for 12 years before founding Livestock for Landscapes in 2004. Her twelve years at the agency allowed her to pursue her goal of helping communities find ways to live profitably AND sustainably in their environment. She has been researching and working with livestock as a land management tool for over a decade. When she's not helping farmers, ranchers and land managers on-site, she writes articles, and books, and edits videos to help others turn their livestock into landscape managers.

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