By Melissa G.S. McKendree
In grazing beef cattle operations across the United States, grazing management, soil health, profitability and producer wellbeing are all connected. Scientific research to quantify these connections has lagged, despite growing challenges facing beef producers in recent years.
The Metrics, Management, and Monitoring: An Investigation of Pasture and Rangeland Soil Health and its Drivers project will measure soil health, environmental outcomes, profitability and wellbeing across a range of grazing management strategies in Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado and Wyoming. This will require support from producers, like you, to work with us to collect on-site and operational data. If you join our project, we will ask you to participate in:
- Training in land health monitoring in year 1 with a short survey-based evaluation.
- Potential installation of research equipment on-site for 4 years.
- Annual surveys (total 60 minutes) and an interview (1-2 hours).
- Annual sharing of beef operation financial records.
- Attendance at annual regional meetings and one whole team meeting in 2024, with participation in focus groups while present at the meeting.
By determining relationships between management decisions and ecological, economic, and social outcomes, this research will create tangible benefits for farmers and ranchers, including improved monitoring tools to more easily evaluate pasture and rangeland health, and decision support tools to help producers make informed decisions to benefit their operations. As a participant, you will also receive:
- Information about your farm/ranch’s soil health and socio-economic wellbeing.
- Trainings in financial analyses (income statement, balance sheet, and enterprise budget).
- Required software (Pasture Map, etc.) free of cost.
- Connections to producer networks via our partners.
- An annual stipend plus funds to support your travel to the regional meetings.
- The potential to label your products as part of the Land to Market program.
If this sounds of interest and you're based in Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado or Wyoming, we would appreciate you completing this 15-minute survey to help us learn more about your beef operation. Completing these questions does not guarantee participation in the project but will allow us to select a group that covers a range of grazing strategies and locations. We will follow up by phone or email with you to determine next steps by the end of February 2023.Source : msu.edu