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


    Two successful regional training workshops were organized by NCAT and hosted by the Heifer Ranch at Perryville, Arkansas in May 2005 and May 2006. Workshops emphasized grassfed beef production, small ruminant management, transition to organic livestock production and fine-tuning grazing management for beef, sheep and goats. Presentations and field demonstrations allowed participants to benefit from diverse trainers including ranchers, university faculty (including 1890s) and nonprofit organization staff with extensive experience in production, marketing, extension, and/or research. A total of eighty-six participants (56 educators and 30 farmers) received scholarships from grant funds which covered all training expenses (including lodging and use of Heifer Ranch learning site) for the 3 day workshops. During the workshop, each participant also received CDs and printed materials related to training topics.

    Project 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.
    • Ten educators from each of the states in the Southern region will participate in one of the two training conferences.
    • Educators will have the opportunity for individual follow-up to help them develop their own programs in working with local producers.
    • Workshop attendees will learn to use and interpret monitoring tools that producers can use to make changes in their operations.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Educators and farmers in the Southern region will receive excellent practical research results to achieve the goal of managing their resources more effectively.
    • Networking between these universities and other educators and farmers in the Southern region will result in better understanding of what these universities offer.
    • 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.