Sustainable pastures increase profit for farmers through increased productivity and profitability. Good pasture
maintenance will reduce erosion, protect streams, provide pollinator habitat and promote environmental
stewardship. In Iowa where pasture is about 10% of land, farmers can make pasture more sustainable through
rotational grazing, planting more diverse and native species, and using natural windbreaks. Through workshops,
youth will learn the basics of pasture maintenance, livestock use, sustainable pasture practices and then apply
this learning to self-directed experiments. Youth can improve the quality of life in their communities by creating
action plans for how to relay this information to others.
1. Provide youth with skills to maintain pastures through workshops with hands-on activities and interactive
presentations on sustainable pasture.
2. Disseminate knowledge of the benefits of sustainable pasture practices for livestock, people, and the
environment through a series of workshops.
3. Increase the use of sustainable pasture practices in Iowa as youth develop action plans to bring the information
to their communities.
4. Foster positive youth development by giving youth the opportunity to make positive changes in their
5. Generate interest in science careers by taking students through a self-directed experiment on pasture plant
Educational & Outreach Activities
We will present two workshops at three different field days held at the ISU research farms (Sutherland, Nashua and Boone IA). These field days are for high school students and their teachers and between the three field days, 400 students are expected to be reached. The workshops will be presented for a total of 30 times. A curriculum is also being created and all teachers will receive a flash drive with the curriculum along with some printed teaching materials. The lessons were piloted in early June with a group of middle school students at an ISU STEM camp.
Through the activities in this program youth will learn how to improve sustainability of pasture by focusing on maintenance of pasture land and livestock with minimum inputs and reduced environmental impact. Specifically, youth should understand that:
- Good pasture management can help Iowans make better use of land and natural resources while meeting nutritional needs of livestock and increasing profit.
- More than one plant species is better for a managed pasture system and plants need time to recover after grazing.
- Rotational grazing increases animal grazing efficiency and allows plant recovery
- Stocking rate, nutrition and diseases all need to be considered for proper animal health
Upon completion of the workshops a survey will be completed by participants to help determine knowledge gain and any practices that the youth would implement as a result of the workshops. The success of the program will be shared as a press release.