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FAYETTE — Livestock producers with an interest in strengthening or transitioning grazing practices can sharpen their skills by attending Grassroots Grazing workshops offered by Iowa State University Extension and regional Natural Resources Conservation Service. The Grassroots Grazing short course consists of five different modules taught over the grazing season.

“Grassroots Grazing is designed for graziers interested in managed grazing systems to increase forage availability and carrying capacity,” said Denise Schwab, ISU Extension livestock specialist. “Producers who want to optimize forage and livestock production, increase forage utilization and conserve natural resources will find the modules very informative.”

The course will cover concepts relevant to all producers of grass-based livestock, whether it is beef, dairy, sheep or other animals, according to Schwab. This summer Grassroots Grazing will be held in three different locations; Clayton and Fayette counties, Buchanan and Delaware counties, and Jackson county but any producers in northeast Iowa are welcome to attend. Each workshop will have a classroom component with experienced instructors and a hands-on field component.

The workshops will begin promptly at 4:30 p.m. and will conclude by 8:30 p.m. The first classes will be held Tuesday, June 28 for the Clayton and Fayette county group, and Wednesday, June 29 for the Buchanan and Delaware county group. The following four sessions will be held in late July, late August, mid-September and mid-November.

The June sessions will feature Josh Michel and Virgil Schmitt, ISU Extension Agronomist, on the basics of soil and fertility, and plant identification and the importance of managing forage by Schwab.

The July sessions will feature weed and brush control and pasture condition scoring.

The August sessions will feature fencing systems and utilizing annual forages.

September will feature water system development with Brian Dougherty, ISU Extension engineer, and soil health. The final program will feature cover crop and winter grazing. Each session will be held on a different farm so check with the county Extension offices for details and locations.

“The Grassroots Grazing program is designed to help livestock producers evaluate their own pasture management and implement steps to increase their grazing efficiency,” said Schwab. “This training features experienced graziers sharing their knowledge along with ISU and NRCS specialists; it’s the best combination of academics with real-world experience.”

The course fee is $50 for all five sessions in the series. Registration fees include a resource notebook and a light dinner and will help offset speaker travel.

For more information on specific locations or details contact Denise Schwab at (319) 721-9624 or dschwab@iastate.edu.

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