Professional Development Program for Silvopasture Adoption

Final report for ENC19-178

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2019: $89,530.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2021
Grant Recipient: Sustainable Farming Association of MN
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:
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Project Information

Abstract:

The Professional Development Program for Silvopasture Adoption, sponsored by the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota (SFA), is an education, training and outreach program targeting 50 agricultural professionals, notably University of Minnesota Extension personnel, natural resource professionals (MN Department of Natural Resources, Soil and Water Conservation personnel) and farmers to learn the rudiments of silvopasture and its relationship to soil health.  Long term, this project equips participants to educate and support farmers and landowners to adopt silvopasture practices to supplement farm income and restore unmanaged forests. This project addresses the lack of trained silvopasture professionals in Minnesota and complements a new University of Minnesota Extension silvopasture program focused on nearly 640,000 acres of unmanaged wooded pasture that are an untapped soil health and agricultural resource. 

Using a model of three learning clusters convened in 3 Minnesota regions (southern, central and northern), the project uses professionals trained in silvopasture, agroforestry, soil health and oak savanna restoration to teach 50 participants the rudiments of silvopasture, agroforestry and its relationship to soil health, AND how to support farmers and landowners to develop and implement silvopasture plans.  The learning clusters will be convened twice over 2 years (1 workshop + 1 field day), supplemented by webinars and workshops incorporated into SFA's Soil Health Summit.  Learning clusters will be coached to convene one silvo pasture education event in their region.  Farmers practicing in silvopasture or beginning their journey will be recruited, along with participants in SFA's 1,140 person Soil Health Network.  Trainers include the Savanna Institute, Extension educators and SFA personnel.  

Project Objectives:

Outputs of the Professional Development Program for Silvopasture Adoption include:

  • tangible working relationship with the project team that strengthens during project.
  • greater knowledge, skills and experience on silvopasture and savanna restoration among SFA's personnel and leaders
  • Year 1 webinar content as well as the webinar with at least 25 people attending
  • Workshop materials for Mar. 2020 Soil Health Summit with at least 25 people attending the silvopasture session.
  • Workshop curriculum and materials for late March early April 2020 workshops in each of 3 regions with 25 attendees per workshop.
  • Field day curriculum and materials for summer 2020 silvopasture field day in each of 3 regions with 25 attendees per region.
  • Workshop materials for Mar. 2021 Soil Health Summit with at least 25 people attending.
  • Workshop curriculum and materials for late March early April 2021 workshops in each of 3 regions, and 25 people attending each.
  • Evaluations -- total of 12 during the entire 2 year project (one for each of the 3 workshops held each year, one for each of the field days held each year) -- total should be at least 300 evals (25 people x 6 events x 2 years = 300) 
  • Advertising and social media materials used to generate interest in the project for workshops and field days
  • A new and growing list of at least 50 ag, forestry and natural resource professionals with knowledge of silvopasture who attend a workshop or field day.
  • A new and growing list of farmers and landowners with knowledge of silvopasture who are able to be demonstration and (possibly) research farms.  Total of 3 per region per year, 6 for the project.
  • A list of at least 25 attendees for each regional workshop each year, and each regional field day each year.  Potentially, new people could attend each event, while it is hoped that those attending a workshop will then attend a field day. Or, if a field day is their first exposure
  • Stronger relationships with partners in NRCS, SWCD, MDA, Extension, State Cattlemens and Sheepgrowers, Savanna Institute, Dovetail Partners, Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, Great River Greening, and Prairie Restorations, Inc around silvopasture practices. 

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Dr. Ashley Conway (Educator and Researcher)
  • Keefe Keeley (Educator and Researcher)
  • Dr. Doimy Zamora (Educator)
  • Tyler Carlson (Educator)
  • Gary Wyatt (Educator)
  • Cody Nelson (Educator)
  • Allysse Sorensen (Educator)
  • Tom Barthel (Educator)
  • Vickie Kettlewell (Educator)
  • Greg Booth (Educator)
  • Tom Hunter (Educator)
  • Diane Mayerfeld (Educator and Researcher)
  • Terri Peters (Educator)
  • Lance Smith (Educator)
  • Jeff Duchene (Educator)
  • Celie Borndal (Educator and Researcher)
  • Jake Langeslag (Educator)
  • Jane Grimsbo Jewett (Educator)
  • Travis Bruce (Educator)
  • Brad Jordahl Redlin (Educator)
  • Jeff Jackson (Educator)
  • Doug Voss (Educator)
  • Jared Luhman (Educator)
  • Ashley McFarland (Educator)
  • Stephen Thomforde (Educator)
  • Dr. Sue Wika (Educator)
  • Dr. Tom Prieve (Educator)
  • Callie Bertsch (Educator)
  • Kristen Schmitt (Researcher)
  • Dan MacSwain (Educator)
  • Wil Crombie (Educator)
  • Sandi Fuller (Educator)
  • Bill Fitzgerald (Educator)
  • Angie Walter (Educator)

Education

Educational approach:

This project focuses on education, training and outreach targeting agricultural professionals, notably University of Minnesota Extension personnel, natural resource professionals (NRCS, SWCD, DNR personnel) and farmer mentors to learn the rudiments of silvopasture management and its relationship to soil health.  Over the life of the project we planned to provide at least 50 scholarships to agricultural professionals to attend educational events throughout Minnesota as well as host webinars, field days, and produce education materials on silvopasture.  

Over the two-year project we provided 37 scholarships to agricultural professionals to attend face to face educational events throughout Minnesota.  We had planned to provide 50 scholarships, but with the pandemic we had to make numerous changes to the planned education events.  We hosted 4 in-person trainings in 2020 and 3 in 2021.  We decided to host more online learning activities than were originally planned.  During the two years we hosted 7 webinars on silvopasture, these webinars were recorded and are available on the SFA website.  We also produced 5 podcasts on silvopasture and case studies with silvopasture operators in MN as part of our work on an LCCMR project managed by the University of Minnesota College of Food Agriculture and Natural Resources

 

 

Education & Outreach Initiatives

“Overview of Silvopasture Principles”
Objective:

At the Midwest Soil Health Summit on March 5, 2020 train agricultural professionals and farmer mentors on the principles of silvopasture management. The summit had two tracks: silvopasture track and agronomic track. There were 75 attendees to the silvopasture track. The SFA provided 17 scholarships to agricultural professionals to attend the summit.

Description:

At the Midwest Soil Health Summit on March 5, 2020:  Gary Wyatt, UMN Extension, presented work that Dr. Diomy Zamora had done on applying the concept of silvopasture agroforestry systems in enhancing wood and grazing for environmental and economic productivity with the understanding of below and above ground interactions of tree and crops in agroforestry systems to develop a suitable farming system for landowners.  Dr. Zamora’s research included using agroforestry systems and practices such as alley cropping and riparian buffers to improve water quality, increase carbon sequestration, and to produce feedstock for energy.  Here's the link to the agenda: https://www.sfa-mn.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Program_2020_MSHS_web.pdf

 

Outcomes and impacts:

This session provided an introduction to the principles of silvopasture to agricultural professionals and farmers.  Agency and Extension staff are then able to provide technical services on silvopasture management and establishment to farmer clients.

“Our Silvopasture Message – Talking Points for Farmers, Land Owners and Forestry Professionals”
Objective:

Train agricultural professionals and farmer mentors on how to discuss and explain the principles of silvopasture management.

Description:

At the Midwest Soil Health Summit Keefe Keeley, co-executive director at the Savanna Institute discussed how talk about and encourage silvopasture management adoption to wary farmers, land owners, natural resource personnel, and forestry professionals.

 

Outcomes and impacts:

This session provided methods and talking points on silvopasture to agricultural professionals and farmers.  Agency and Extension staff are then able to discuss the concepts and benefits of silvopasture management and establishment to farmers, land owners, and natural resource professionals that really do not want to consider livestock in woodlands.

“Restoring Savanna with Silvopasture”
Objective:

Provide agricultural professionals and farmer mentors opportunity to discuss silvopasture experiences with farmers that use silvopasture techniques on their farms or provide a silvopasture service to other farmers.

Description:

Farmer panel of 4 farmers at the Midwest Soil Health Summit that are currently practicing silvopasture shared their experiences and methods of silvopasture.  The farmer members were: Cody Nelson, Belview, MN; Tom Barthel, Becker, MN; Doug Voss, Paynesville, Mn; and Allysse Sorensen, St. Croix Falls, WI.  Allysse owns a business of renting goats to graze in wooded areas such as public lands, residential properties, and farms for invasive species control such as buckthorn.

 

Outcomes and impacts:

Attendees at the summit gained important aspects of silvopasture management from practitioners of silvopasture.  There were numerous questions and discussions went on well beyond the end of the session.

“Introducing the ‘Silvopasture Resource Manual"
Objective:

Introduce attendees of a new publication resources for information on silvopasture.

Description:

At the summit, Tyler Carlson introduced a new resource manual which is a compendium of web-based resources, professionals, universities, government agencies, non-profit organizations and other sources of silvopasture information, training, and networking.  Here's the link to the Silvopasture Manual:

https://www.sfa-mn.org/silvopasture-resource-manual/

 

 

 

Outcomes and impacts:

This resource will provide valuable information to help agricultural professionals and farmers information on silvopasture. 

“Silvopasture: A Global and Historical Perspective”
Objective:

To begin a series of webinars starting at the global and historical perspective, then Midwest, then local, and funding opportunities for installing and adopting silvopasture techniques. Provide agricultural professionals and farmer mentors perspectives on silvopasture to help them realize that silvopasture is not a new nor environmentally damaging practice.. Silvopasture management is not well understood or practiced in Minnesota and the Midwest but has been practiced for centuries in other regions of the world.

Description:

A webinar on April 14 with Ashley Conway, Ph.D., Assistant Research Professor; University of Missouri Center for  Agroferestry.

Here's the link to the entire webinar series which includes Dr. Conway's presentation.  https://www.sfa-mn.org/silvopasture-webinars/

 

 

Outcomes and impacts:

Agency, Extension staff, and farmer mentors realized that silvopasture has been used for centuries and this will help provide technical services on silvopasture management and establishment to farmer clients and land owners.  There were 66 participants on the webinar: MN SWCD and NRCS, UMN Extension, non-profits, Native American, consultants, and 4 states besides MN. 

“Silvopasture in the Midwest”
Objective:

Second webinar in the series on silvopasture. The objective of the webinar was to show participants examples of silvopasture practices currently implemented around the Midwest.

Description:

On April 16 Gary Wyatt, UMN Extension, and Keefe Keeley, Co-executive Director, Savannah Institute presented on current silvopasture examples around the Midwest.

Here's the link to the entire webinar series which includes this presentation.  https://www.sfa-mn.org/silvopasture-webinars/

 

Outcomes and impacts:

Agency, Extension staff, and farmer mentors gained insights on silvopasture practices in-use around the Midwest.  These examples will help provide technical services discuss potential silvopasture practices with farmer clients on silvopasture management and establishment.  There were 68 participants on the webinar and most were repeat attendees. 

“Silvopasture in Minnesota”
Objective:

Third webinar in the series on April 21 was focused on silvopasture management examples in Minnesota. Four different farms and businesses provided information on their silvopasture management.

Description:

Bruce Travis, from Pine Island uses multiple species; Jane Jewett, Palisade and Vickie Kettlewell, Brainerd use beef and Jake Langeslag, Goat Dispatch owner described his goat rental business for woodland management, namely buckthorn control.  The presenters described their silvopasture management and decision-making procedures on their farms and businesses. 

Here's the link to the entire webinar series which includes the farmer panel.  https://www.sfa-mn.org/silvopasture-webinars/

Outcomes and impacts:

Agency, Extension staff, and farmer mentors gained insights on silvopasture practices in-use around Minnesota.  These examples will help provide technical services discuss potential silvopasture practices with farmer clients on silvopasture management and establishment.  There were 52 participants on the webinar, the people from other states were not on this webinar.

“Minnesota Silvopasture Resources”
Objective:

To provide agricultural service providers and farmers with information on government programs that may provide planning and funding sources for implementing silvopasture practices.

Description:

This was a pre-recorded webinar that is posted on the SFA’s website.  Jeff Duchene, NRCS Grazing Specialist and Celie Borndahl, MN NRCS State Forester, presented on NRCS programs and what goes into a silvopasture grazing that may be used for infrastructure funding programs such as EQIP.  Brad Jordahl Redlin discussed the Ag Water Certification Program at the Minnesota Department which a silvopasture system may qualify for certification and funds from the program.

Here's the link to the entire webinar series which includes the Minnesota resources.  https://www.sfa-mn.org/silvopasture-webinars/

 

Outcomes and impacts:

Viewers of this pre-corded webinar will learn about funding sources, planning services, and water certification potential for their farmer clients and their own farm businesses.

“Silvopasture Field Training Workshop at Snake River Farm”
Objective:

Integrating grazing animals and forest management, or silvopasture, can be beneficial both for environmental conservation and as a farm income generator. Participants learned the principals of this managed intensive grazing system and hear from the farmer host utilizing these principles.

Description:

At the August 6, 2020 silvopasture field training workshop at the Snake River Farm near Becker, MN all activities were outside due to the COVID-19 meeting requirements.  Dr. Zamora gave a brief introduction to silvopasture.  Then the host farmer, Tom Barthel, described his operation and the decisions made to incorporate silvopasture.  Tyler Carlson discussed site assessment procedures for determining what silvopasture to incorporate or to decide if the site is not suited for silvopasture.  Gary Wyatt, UMN Extension, discussed potential problem plants and to control them. As participants walked the site, Tom described the work, and Diomy and Tyler led discussions on the practicality of the work.

Outcomes and impacts:

Attendees experienced actual silvopasture practices in use as well as heard what decisions the host farmer used to incorporate on the farm.  There were 20 attendees at this workshop and the SFA gave out 7 scholarships to agricultural professionals to attend.

“Silvopasture Field Training Workshop at the Tom Hunter Farm”
Objective:

Integrating grazing animals and forest management, or silvopasture, can be beneficial both for environmental conservation and as a farm income generator. Participants learned the principals of this managed intensive grazing system and hear from the farmer host utilizing these principles.

Description:

At the August 8, 2020 silvopasture field training workshop, at the Tom Hunter Farm near Wabasha,  MN all activities were outside due to the COVID-19 meeting requirements.  Dr. Zamora gave a brief introduction to silvopasture.  Then the host farmer, Tom Hunter, described his operation and the decisions made to incorporate silvopasture.  Tyler Carlson discussed site assessment procedures for determining what silvopasture to incorporate or to decide if the site is not suited for silvopasture.  Gary Wyatt, UMN Extension, discussed potential problem plants and to control them. As participants walked the site, Tom described the work, and Diomy and Tyler led discussions on the practicality of the work. 

Outcomes and impacts:

Attendees experienced actual silvopasture practices in use as well as heard what decisions the host farmer used to incorporate on the farm.  There were 17 attendees at this workshop and the SFA gave out 4 scholarships to agricultural professionals to attend.

“Silvopasture Field Training Workshop at the Sunup Ranch”
Objective:

Integrating grazing animals and forest management, or silvopasture, can be beneficial both for environmental conservation and as a farm income generator. Participants learned the principals of this managed intensive grazing system and hear from the farmer host utilizing these principles.

Description:

At the October 1, 2020 silvopasture field training workshop, at the Sunup Ranch near Brainerd, MN all activities were outside due to the COVID-19 meeting requirements.  Dr. Zamora gave a brief introduction to silvopasture.  Then the host farmers, Kettlewell and Greg Booth, described their operation and the decisions made to incorporate silvopasture.  Tyler Carlson discussed site assessment procedures for determining what silvopasture to incorporate or to decide if the site is not suited for silvopasture.  As participants walked the site, Vickie and Greg described the work, and Diomy and Tyler led discussions on the practicality of the work.

Outcomes and impacts:

Attendees experienced actual silvopasture practices in use as well as heard what decisions the host farmer used to incorporate on the farm.  There were 16 attendees at this workshop and the SFA gave out 6 scholarships to agricultural professionals to attend.

“Digging Deeper into Silvopasture Webinar”
Objective:

This webinar was an opportunity for agricultural professionals and farmers to delve further into what goes into planning and implementing silvopasture practices. Learn about options from going from pasture to silvopasture, and from woods to silvopasture. And, programs available to assist with getting into silvopasture.

Description:

The webinar on November 17, 2020 started out with a brief presentation by Tyler Carlson, SFA Silvopasture & Agroforestry Lead, on getting started with silvopasture. 

Then Dr. Zamora, SFA Consultant discussed planning design considerations for going from pasture to silvopasture.

Diane Mayerfeld, University of Wisconsin Sustainable Ag Coordinator lead a discussion on planning design considerations from forest to silvopasture.

Lance Smith, NRCS State Rangeland Management Specialist presented on EQIP funds for silvopasture establishment.

Terri Peters, District Manager of Wabasha SWCD Getting Started with Silvopasture Using Cost-Share Programs – Terri Peters, SWCD Wabasha County.

Here's the link to all of the silvopasture webinars which include this webinar.  https://www.sfa-mn.org/silvopasture-webinars/

Outcomes and impacts:

Agricultural service providers and farmers gained knowledge into different silvopasture management options form adding trees to existing pasture and adding livestock to existing woodlands.  They also learned about programs to assist farmers in implementing silvopasture.  There 88 participants in this webinar.

Fact Sheet “Silvopasture in Minnesota”
Objective:

A fact sheet written to introduce the concepts of silvopasture to service providers and farmers.

Description:

Written by Dr. Diomy Zamora, the fact sheet describes what silvopasture is and is not, shows the benefits of silvopasture, and describes ways of establishing silvopasture.

Here's the link to the fact sheet:

https://www.sfa-mn.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Fact-Sheet-Silvopasture-in-Minnesota.pdf

Outcomes and impacts:

The fact sheet is available both online and in written form.  The fact sheet gets the information on silvopasture in a readable and attractive to both service providers and farmers.  The fact sheet is also very useful handout for use at workshops and field days, and was used at SFA field days.

Fact Sheet: “The How-Tos of Silvopasture”
Objective:

This fact sheet provides information on how to design and establish a silvopasture system to service providers and farmers.

Description:

Written by Dr. Diomy Zamora, the fact sheet goes into detail on where to start on planning a silvopasture system, how establish forage in woods or planting trees into existing pasture, and general management considerations.

Here's the link to the fact sheet:

https://www.sfa-mn.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Fact-Sheet-The-How-Tos-of-Silvopasture.pdf

Outcomes and impacts:

The fact sheet is available both online and in written form.  The fact sheet gets the information on silvopasture in a readable and attractive to both service providers and farmers.  The fact sheet is also very useful handout for use at workshops and field days and was used at our field days.

“Podcast: Silvopasture in Minnesota”
Objective:

Podcast recorded on silvopasture that can be listened to at any time by service providers and farmers.

Description:

Tyler Carlson, SFA Silvopasture and Agroforestry Lead, and Jared Luhman, SFA Soil Health Lead, give an intro to silvopasture practices, covering a little history, how silvopasture looks today, and the economic and biological benefits these systems can provide to Minnesota farmers.  This podcast is part of the UMN's LCCMR grant and is posted on the SFA's webiste.  The SFA is a major partner in this project.

Here's the link to the podcast Silvopasture in Minnesota:

https://dirtrichmn.podbean.com/e/9-silvopasture-in-minnesota/

Outcomes and impacts:

The podcast can be listened to at convenient times by service providers and farmers.  The podcast is recorded by two farmers with experience in silvopasture and soil health. 

 

 

“Podcast Implementing Silvopasture”
Objective:

This second podcast on silvopasture describes silvopasture systems established in Minnesota.

Description:

Tyler Carlson, SFA Silvopasture and Agroforestry Lead, and Jared Luhman, SFA Soil Health Lead, describe how silvopasture can boost soil health, water quality, wildlife habitat and diversity, carbon sequestration, raise timber value, improve animal performance, and overall economic returns. This podcast is part of the UMN's LCCMR grant and is posted on the SFA's website.  The SFA is a major partner in this project.

Here's the link to the podcast describing implementing silvopasture:

https://dirtrichmn.podbean.com/e/10-implementing-silvopasture/

Outcomes and impacts:

The podcast can be listened to at convenient times by service providers and farmers.  The podcast is recorded by two farmers with experience in silvopasture and soil health. 

"Economics of Silvopasture"
Objective:

Take a deeper dive into the costs of silvopasture establishment and the economics of silvopasture production systems. The presenters share findings from research conducted throughout the United States.

Description:

Webinar on February 8, 2021 a session during the virtual SFA Annual Conference.  Presenters: Dr. Ashley Conway PhD, PAS (Assistant Research Professor, University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry), Dr. Joseph Orefice PhD (Lecturer and Director of Forest & Agricultural Operations at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies), and Tyler Carlson (SFA).

Here' the link to this webinar and all the silvopasture webinars.  https://www.sfa-mn.org/silvopasture-webinars/

Outcomes and impacts:

Agency, Extension staff, and farmer mentors gained insights on the economics of silvopasture research and practices.  These examples will help provide technical services discuss potential silvopasture practices with farmer clients on silvopasture management and establishment.  There have been over 70 views of this webinar.

"Adaptive Grazing and Silvopasture"
Objective:

Learn grazing techniques for changing environment and conditions throughout the grazing season. Learn practical ways to introduce trees into pasture. Using both open pastures and wooded areas.

Description:

Webinar on April 29, 2021 with Dr. Sue Wika and Dr. Tom Prieve of Paradox Farm and Kent Solberg, SFA Senior Technical Advisor.

Here' the link to this webinar and all the silvopasture webinars.  https://www.sfa-mn.org/silvopasture-webinars/

Outcomes and impacts:

Agency, Extension staff, and farmer mentors gained insights on the economics of silvopasture research and practices.  These examples will help provide technical services discuss potential silvopasture practices with farmer clients on silvopasture management and establishment.  There have been over 100 views of this webinar.

Silvopasture Field Day
Objective:

Integrating grazing animals, chickens, and forest management, or silvopasture, can be beneficial both for environmental conservation and as a farm income generator. Participants learned the principals of this managed intensive grazing system and hear from the farmer host utilizing these principles.

Description:

On July 28, Wil and Carly Crombie hosted a face-to-face silvopasture field day at their farm in Faribault, the Organic Compound. The Crombies and presented and showed their chicken and nut silvopasture system.  Keefe Keeley (Savanna Institute) gave an overview of silvopasture.   Callie Bertsch, NRCS State Forester, discussed the NRCS programs that may assist producers in implementing silvopasture practices.  Jared Luhman, SFA, presented on the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program.

Outcomes and impacts:

Attendees experienced actual silvopasture practices in use as well as heard what decisions the host farmer used to incorporate on the farm.  There were 12 attendees at this workshop and the SFA gave out 1 scholarship to an agricultural professional from California to attend.

Silvopasture Field Day
Objective:

Integrating grazing animals (goats and/or beef) and forest management, or silvopasture, can be beneficial both for environmental conservation and as a farm income generator. Goats are being used as buckthorn control in a park along the Mississippi River. Another farm is grazing beef cattle in their silvopasture system. Participants learned the principals of these managed intensive grazing system and hear from the farmer host utilizing these principles.

Description:

On July 29 this Silvopasture Field Day began at Central Lakes College in Brainerd with Keefe Keeley (Savanna Institute) giving an overview of silvopasture.  Kristen Schmitt, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, discussed the conditions of the forests.  Callie Bertsch, NRCS State Forester, discussed the NRCS programs that may assist producers in implementing silvopasture practices.  Angie Walters, SFA, presented on the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program.

In the afternoon, the group traveled to Rotary Park for a tour and presentation on prescribed goat grazing for buckthorn control with Adam Maleski, Crow Wing SWCD. The field day closed at Judy & Harry Worm's farm for another tour and example of silvopasture in action.

Outcomes and impacts:

Attendees experienced actual silvopasture practices in use as well as heard what decisions the host farmer used to incorporate on the farm.  There were 17 attendees at this workshop and the SFA gave out 2 scholarships to  agricultural professional to attend.

"Silvopasture Professional Development Program Workshop
Objective:

To introduce agricultural and natural resource professionals about the concepts of silvopasture. Participants learned how goats are used to control invasive species in wooded areas.

Description:

At the Lake Elmo Park Reserve in Lake Elmo on July 30, 2021,  Dan MacSwain from Washington County Parks spoke on goat grazing for invasives control and the long-term goals for the parks.  Keefe Keeley (Savanna Institute) gave an overview of silvopasture.   Callie Bertsch, NRCS State Forester, discussed the NRCS programs that may assist producers in implementing silvopasture practices.  JaBill Fitzgerald, MN Department of Agriculture presented on the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program. 

After the presentations Dan led a tour of the goat grazing being done in the park.  They are trying many different techniques of using goats for invasive control to see which are the most effective.

Outcomes and impacts:

Attendees learned how goats are being used in a public park to control invasive species.  They also received an overview of silvopasture management and programs that can be used to help producers implement silvopasture practices.

Zoom Meeting to Summarize the Silvopasture Project (Phase 1) and Introduce New SARE PDP Silvopasture Grant (Pase 2)
Objective:

On September 29, 2021 we held a Zoom meeting with key individuals involved with this Phase 1 silvopasture grant. The objective was to summarize the first grant and introduce the second Phase 2 silvopasture grant which is on the econimcs of silvopasture.

Description:

An hour-long Zoom meeting.

Outcomes and impacts:

Fourteen individuals included scholarship recipients from the first silvopasture grant, NRCS, Extension, consultants, farmers, and SFA staff participated in the meeting.  Everyone was pleased with the amount of interest in silvopasture and how many people have viewed the materials on the SFA website that were developed and recorded in Phase 1.

The graduate student that is hired, with funds from SARE in Phase 2, introduced himself and described what he plans to research and develop an economic tool that producers can use to help them decide if silvopasture will work in their operation.  The participants also provided input on items to inculde in the economic tool that will be developed.

An Advisory Committee is being organized that will also provide input to the researcher, plan workshops and field days where the economic tool kit will be presented, and locate farmers that to demonstrate the useage of the toolkit.  The Job Description for this committee was presented to the participants.

Educational & Outreach Activities

14 Consultations
4 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
7 Webinars / talks / presentations
7 Workshop field days
2 Other educational activities: Two podcasts which were part of an LCCMR project. Podcasts: "Silvopasture in Minnesota" and "Implementing Silvopasture." There were 387 views to date.

Participation Summary:

15 Extension
12 NRCS
5 Researchers
11 Nonprofit
18 Agency
4 Ag service providers (other or unspecified)
74 Farmers/ranchers
368 Others

Learning Outcomes

150 Participants gained or increased knowledge, skills and/or attitudes about sustainable agriculture topics, practices, strategies, approaches
26 Ag professionals intend to use knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness learned

Project Outcomes

2 Grants received that built upon this project
7 New working collaborations
Project outcomes:

With the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to limit in-person meetings and trainings over the spring and summer the SFA pivoted to webinars as the means of delivering learning initiatives.  The webinars were well attended and the participants came back and attended most of the webinars.

In August, the COVID-19 restrictions were loosened and we were able to conduct 3 in-person trainings in the field.  With the number of attenddes limited to 25 attendees we focused on getting the word out to NRCS, SWCD, and Extension personnel in close proximty to the in-field workshops.  There were good numbers of agricultural professionals at these workshops.

We conducted online post event evaluations for the webinars and in-field training intiatives.  We received close to 50% return rate on the evaluations.  The question on what topics you would like in future workshops will help us design future trainings: topics included:

1. Implementing silvopasture, equipment, costs, getting funding, and full cost accounting.

2. More details on the forestry side of silvopasture and how to select trees to keep as crop trees.  Invite foresters to lead trainings. 

3. Help with how agencies can partner to get cost-share to landowners and producers for silvopasture implementation.

4. Conduct research on forage quality under different canopy cover. 

5.  More information on forages to plant.

6. Have more discussions on alley cropping and alternative trees/bushes that can be utlized with silvoapsture such as elderberries and hazelnuts.

7. Provide more information on bale grazing and watering in the winter. 

8. Want to learn more about pastured pork.

9. Ability to ask specific questions by people that really know the answer.

10. Hands on fencing workshop is great.

11. See the oak savanna and the process to how to restore the savanna.

12. Was helpful to build some fences. Gained confidence to do on my farm.

13. Possibly include more on financial benefits to the farmer, or the amount of land needed compared to traditional pasture land. Or ways farmers can utilize their land when the cattle are kept out to allow trees to regenerate.

14. More on how silvopasture impacts soil.

15. Anything on buckthorn control.

 

 

 

28 Agricultural service provider participants who used knowledge and skills learned through this project (or incorporated project materials) in their educational activities, services, information products and/or tools for farmers
96 Farmers reached through participant's programs
Additional Outcomes:

It is important to note the NRCS's involvement in the 2020 Midwest Soil Health Summit.  During the plenary session Troy Daniel, NRCS State Conservationist, shared how the NRCS programs can be used for silvopasture and their adoption of a new forestry rule that recognizes silvopasture.

The Univesity of Minnesota received a Legislative Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) to study using silvopasture to for oak savanna restoration.  The SFA is a major partner in this project.  The SFA is providing technical assistance on the silvopasture management technigues to the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge research and demonstration site in this LCCMR project.  The UMN is maintaining a database called the Silvopasture Learning Network of people interessted in silvopasture.  The network provides updated information on silvopasture management, learning opportunities, research results to the members.  To date, the network has over 600 members in the database.  The SFA, through the many learning opportunites, is providing many interested persons to the network.  The two silvopasture podcasts the SFA recorded are also part of the LCCMR project as well as the SARE PDP.  

A common theme throughout all the events is a way of better understanding the costs and benefits associated with implementing a silvopasture system.  This led us to submit the Phase 2 proposal on the economics of silvopasture and to develop a tool that addresses the economics of silvopasture.  This tool will be tested and then delivered to both farm technical support staff and farm clients to aid in decision making on implementing a silvopasture sytem.

Success stories:

With the pandemic and the need to switch from in-person contacts and meetings to internet meetings enabled the SFA to reach many people.  Likely more than if we only conducted the in-person learning activities.  The SFA tracks the number of hits on the the webinars and podcasts and the numbers are impressive with nearly 1,300 hits.  Below are the numbers of hits:

Webinars: "Silvopasture: A Global Perspective" 599 hits

               "Silvopasture in the Midwest" 498 hits

               "Silvopasture in Minnesota" 280 hits           

                "Minnesota Silvopasture Resources" 140 hits

                "Digging Deeper into Silvopasture" 438 hits

                "Adaptive Grazing and ilvopasture" 99 hits

                 "Economics of Silvopasture" 70 hits

Podcasts:  "Silvopasture in Minnesota" 273 hits

                "Implementing Silvopasture" 598 hits

 

Recommendations:

One item for future study for professional development is how agencies can partner to get cost-share to landowners and producers for silvopasture implementation.

 

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.