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Field day will explore regenerative grazing practices – Sept. 22 near Grant City, MO

For Release: September 6, 2018

Contacts:

Andy Welch | Welch Family Farms | (660) 541-3675 | welchfarms81@gmail.com

Tamsyn Jones | Outreach & Publications Coordinator | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 | tamsyn@practicalfarmers.org

GRANT CITY, Missouri — Rotational and regenerative grazing may sound similar – both involve regularly moving livestock through different paddocks. But according to grazier Andy Welch, there is an important difference.

“When you’re doing regenerative grazing, you’re not just focused on the grass,” Andy says. “You’re focusing on everything: insects, plant diversity, wildlife.”

Andy operates Welch Family Farms near Grant City, Missouri. The farm is primarily a 60-head cow-calf enterprise focused on regenerative grazing and minimal inputs. Andy and his sons also own 280 acres of row crop land, which is farmed by a tenant.

Andy started rotationally grazing in 1995, moving his cattle weekly. In 2012, he rented out his row crop acres so he could focus on his cattle herd, and he intensified his grazing management. For the last five years, he has moved his cattle almost daily – and his once fescue-dominant pastures have turned into diverse cool- and warm-season mixes. He has also been able to graze stockpiled pastures all winter for the last four years.

Andy will share his experience with regenerative grazing at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day he is hosting on Saturday, Sept. 22, from noon-4 p.m., on his farm near Grant City, Missouri (16796 160th St., about 6 miles west of town. Please note: Google Maps does not take you to the correct location – use the directions below).

The event – “From Rotational Grazing to Regenerative Grazing” – is free and will start with a potluck lunch. Drinks and barbecued meat will be provided; guests are asked to bring a side dish to share. Please RSVP for the meal to Debra Boekholder, (515) 232-5661 or debra@practicalfarmers.org, by Tuesday, Sept. 18.

Practical Farmers of Iowa attracts members from the Midwest and beyond, and has started holding events in nearby states to expand its reach and impact.

Andy will discuss the differences between rotational and regenerative grazing, and how he has changed his management over the years. He will also discuss how he grazes stockers on summer and winter annuals; stockpiling; how he transitioned some row crop acres to pasture; creating shade in pasture; and the PastureMap app.

Additional speakers will include Doug Peterson, soil health specialist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and a representative from The Green Hills Farm Project. Andy is a member of Green Hills, a non-profit grassroots organization based in Missouri that focuses on sustainable agriculture and grazing.

“I knew I could do a better job grazing,” Andy says. “I want people to take away from this field day that it doesn’t take a lot of outside inputs to improve a grazing system, just a different style of management.”

Directions from the north: From Grant City, Missouri, drive west on MO Hwy 46 for 5 miles, turn south on Garnet Avenue and go 1.5 miles to a T intersection. On the south side of the road, you’ll see a red shed with a trailer.

From the west: From Sheridan, Missouri, go east on MO Hwy 246 (which turns into MO Hwy 46) for 6 miles. Turn south on Garnet Avenue.

Practical Farmers’ 2018 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Applegate Natural & Organic Meats; Blue River Organic Seed; Cascadian Farms; Center for Rural Affairs; Farm Credit Services of America; Gandy Cover Crop Seeders; Grain Millers, Inc.; Green Cover Seed; Green Thumb Commodities; Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance; Iowa Beef Center; Iowa State University Department of Agronomy; Iowa Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE); ISU Extension and Outreach; La Crosse Forage and Turf Seed; MOSA Organic Certification; Natural Resources Defense Council; Organic Valley / Organic Prairie; PepsiCo; Pipeline Foods; Premier 1 Supplies; Sunrise Foods International; The DeLong Company; The Fertrell Company; The Scoular Company; Unilever; University of Iowa College of Public Health (I-CASH); USDA: Natural Resources Conservation Service; Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture; and Welter Seed & Honey Co.

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Practical Farmers of Iowa works to equip farmers to build resilient farms and communities. Our values include: welcoming everyone; farmers leading the exchange of experience and knowledge; curiosity, creativity, collaboration and community; resilient farms now and for future generations; and stewardship of land and resources. To learn more, visit http://practicalfarmers.org.