How a Blue Ridge Farmer Set Up His Rotational Grazing System

John Fant, Colonel, US Army (Ret), returned to southwest Virginia in 2013 to resume daily operations and management of the family farm. In this 6:52 video, John describes how he assessed the farm's resources and then developed and implemented a plan that would improve water quality, and soil and animal health. What he found was a continuous grazing system that had reduced soil and forage health and impacted water quality in the stream flowing through his paddocks. E. coli counts were high and dissolved oxygen counts were low, so one of his first decisions was to fence stock out of the stream corridor. Though is neighbors expressed concern about this, noting that he might lose access to valuable pasture, John says it has actually helped him gain access to other parts of the farm and to make better use of the pastures he had available. He's also been pleased at the recovery within the riparian border, including an increase in the wildlife that lives there. How Do You Set Up Fencing for Rotational Grazing? With no experience on how to set up a paddock system, he turned to his Soil and Water Conservation District staff for help. The aerial map of his property helped him understand the lay of the land and the role of topography in setting up a fencing system. They also suggested he set up a lane down the middle. Though this might not wo

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