Putting it all together: using livestock to manage natural resources

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2004: $80,187.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: Southern
State: Arkansas
Principal Investigator:

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: corn, millet, oats, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Additional Plants: native plants
  • Animals: bovine, goats, sheep
  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Animal Production: parasite control, herbal medicines, mineral supplements, grazing - multispecies, pasture fertility, pasture renovation, preventive practices, grazing - rotational, stockpiled forages, winter forage, feed/forage
  • Crop Production: nutrient cycling
  • Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, hedges - grass
  • Pest Management: physical control
  • Soil Management: organic matter

    Proposal abstract:

    NCAT (a national nonprofit with a strong sustainable agriculture program) will organize 2 training conferences in two locations within the southern region to meet the following objectives: 1) enhance the skills of educators and farmer-trainers who work with clients and peers on using livestock to manage natural resources 2) provide producers with help they need to utilize and sustain their natural resources 3) provide producers the opportunity of teaching educators what they learned as they applied SARE funded tools to their own farms 4) help 1890s universities disseminate research results to more educators and farmers in the Southern region. Heifer International Ranch and Learning Center in Perryville, Arkansas and the Middle Tennessee Experiment Station and Profitability Center in Spring Hill, Tennessee are committed as training sites and partners. Conferences will build on training activities and materials developed through previous SARE projects relating to beef, dairy and small ruminant sustainability. Target areas for skill-building of trainees are a) transitioning to organic livestock production b) fine tuning grazing management and c) assessment and management of natural resources on farms where livestock are produced on a major amount of the farm acreage. Project funds include a scholarship fund for up to 130 educators to be trained. Participants include and will be identified by: PDP Coordinators, CES agents and specialists, USDA-NRCS field personnel, 1890 university staff, Heifer International field coordinators, and farmer-leaders. Evaluation activities include: usefulness of past SARE deliverables by trainees and farmers (who will be using tools on-farm as part of conference prep) and followup with educators on adoption of skills.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    C. Behavior-based Objectives
    1. To teach educators, through attendance at a training conference and receiving learning modules, about using livestock to manage natural resources with a particular emphasis in the subject areas of small ruminants, grass-fed beef production, pasture-based dairy production, transitioning to organics, and fine tuning of grazing management.
    a) Ten educators from each of the states in the Southern region will participate in one of the two training conferences.
    b) Educators will have the opportunity for individual follow-up to help them develop their own programs in working with local producers.
    c) Workshop attendees will learn to use and interpret monitoring tools that producers can use to make changes in their operations.
    d) Learning modules will provide review materials and visuals to reinforce skills after the training conferences.
    2. To provide producers with the help they need to utilize and sustain their natural resources.
    a) Educators will identify producers in their areas to work with using current information in the checksheets and other SARE-funded work as well as providing practical monitoring tools.
    b) Thirty producers will benefit from this project by either being part of the advisory panel, attending and teaching at the workshops, and/or working with educators on their own operations
    3. To allow producers the opportunity of teaching educators what they have learned when applying the information in the checksheets to their own farms.
    a) Educators and farmers will learn how producers can set up monitoring tools on their own farms, and what they look for in determining how they work and, more importantly, what decisions they make as a result of the monitoring.
    4. To help 1890s schools disseminate their research results to more educators and farmers in the Southern region.
    a) Educators and farmers in the Southern region will receive excellent practical research results to achieve the goal of managing their resources more effectively.
    b) Networking between these universities and other educators and farmers in the Southern region will result in better understanding of what these universities offer.
    c) Educators from 1890s schools will have the opportunity to learn techniques they can use with their farmer groups.

    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.