By Deborah Daniels
For Rural Life Today
WAVERLY — Area livestock producers looking for new ideas in livestock management will discover a number of educational opportunities at the upcoming District Grazing School in Waverly. Sponsored by the Pike Soil and Water Conservation District (PSWCD) and the Ohio Forage and Grassland Council, the school focuses on livestock grazing and grazing management.
The three-day event begins with indoor classes from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, March 6 and Thursday, March 8 at Grace United Methodist Church, 104 S. High St., Waverly, and the field exercise from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 10. Participants will spend the morning on a working livestock farm. Cost of the course is $30.
According to Kevin Yost, senior district technician for the PSWCD and local liaison for the event, multiple agencies are involved in presenting the school. The focus of events such as this is “to educate and inform on current issues that might help operations and best management practices,” Yost said.
Cody Hacker, program specialist for the Ohio Department of Agriculture, said grazing schools are a team effort. The Ohio Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Ohio State Extension, Ohio Forage and Grassland Council and Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) all have a role in making grazing schools possible.
Grazing schools are designed to fit the needs of the area where they will be hosted. “The local Soil and Water Conservation District provides input as to what grazers in the area are asking about or working with, and we do our best to present on those topics,” Hacker said.
Yost explained that the district works with livestock operations in managing the natural resources on these farms to ensure that livestock production and environmental conservation go hand-in-hand.
“The soil, water, air, plants and animals can and should be considered together, as well as the human aspect to ensure that the land remains productive and the natural resources are not degraded,” Yost said.
The field exercise for the upcoming Grazing School will take place at the Chuck and Jenny Elliott farm on Wilson Run Road in Waverly.
“The Elliotts are young farmers and have an interesting farm. We don’t always get to work with young operators, so this will be good for people to see,” Yost said. He also said the field exercise is a good way for the community to connect with what is going on at a local farm.
The $30 fee for the school covers course materials which include a Pastures for Profit 3-ring notebook and a Pasture Stick. Reservations are required. For more information, contact Yost at the Pike SWCD (740) 947-5353.
Other opportunities to attend grazing schools/workshops this spring include: Pickaway/Fairfield, Belmont, Hocking/Vinton, Morrow and Washington counties. If you’re interested in attending or would like more information on grazing schools/workshops across the state, contact Hacker at email@example.com or (614) 809-1009.