Pasture improvements by osmosis

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cattle and bales of hay on pasture

The New Year evokes a spirit of willingness to change for the better. Resolutions to make healthier, cleaner, more economical, more environmentally friendly and/or more spiritually-fulfilling decisions are prevalent right now. Something about flipping the calendar gives us hope that now is a good time for change. Regardless of what day on the calendar it is, if you want to change something for the better, today is the perfect day to start.

Personally, I am a fan of the kind of resolutions that create less work for myself rather than those that create more. My day and my mind are already divided between too many things; to add another or three makes me exhausted just thinking about it.

What I need is change by osmosis. Osmosis? What does that word really mean? It means “the spontaneous movement of a substance across a semipermeable membrane.”

So, that makes my body and soul the semipermeable membrane and new information and habits the substance that spontaneously makes its way into the right place to evoke change.

That sounds good. Too bad it doesn’t work that way. Or could it?

Seems to me that learning by osmosis happens every time we listen to another person share an experience of their own that gives advice on what we could or should do if the same situation happened to us. Couldn’t change by osmosis happen the same way? If ideas of how someone else made a change for the better were simply shared in an open dialogue, then anyone listening could be prompted to change by osmosis.

Now the biology gurus out there are scolding me for making a biological term philosophical and the forage growers reading this are wondering what this philosophy lesson has to do with grazing. Hear me out, readers!

There is an opportunity coming up for you to experience pasture improvements by osmosis! The Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council will be hosting its 2023 Annual Meeting on Feb. 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Deerassic Park Education Center, 14250 Cadiz Road Cambridge, OH 43725. This meeting serves as an opportunity to interact with forage growers of all backgrounds and interests and share with each other. Along with socialization you can listen to intriguing presentations, interact with vendors of forage growing supplies and enjoy a delicious lunch.

The Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council is Ohio’s commodity organization for pasture and hay crops. Ohio State University partners closely with the council to support forage education, research and outreach throughout the state. It is the only organization of its kind, bringing together farmers, conservationists, academics, industry representatives and service personnel into a shared environment to converse and build relationships that lead to more productive forage and grassland ecosystems and more profitable farm operations. The Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council is the state affiliate organization of the American Forage and Grassland Council. Ohio members are automatically extended membership to the national level for even more networking opportunities and learning experiences.

The 2023 meeting theme is “Feeding Forages — Forages Feeding Us” and will feature information on how to provide adequate fertility to forages while on a budget, how to create pasture ecosystems that are simultaneously beneficial to livestock and wildlife, cutting edge research from Ohio State University and producer insights from local beef, sheep, and dairy farmers.

Keynote speakers include Ed Rayburn, recently retired extension rorage specialist from West Virginia University,; Jason Jones, Ohio grasslands & grazing coordinator for Ohio Pheasants and Quail Forever; Marilia Chiavegato, agroecosystem management for food system resilience professor at Ohio State University; and local farmers, Andy Fadorsen (beef), Devin Cain (dairy) and Stuart Heavilin (sheep).

Service and achievement awards will be announced at the annual meeting. There will also be opportunities to socialize with your peers and to visit with vendors of related agricultural products at the event.

Registration  is due on Feb. 10. Find the registration form online at: https://ohioforage.com/event/2023-ohio-forage-and-grasslands-council-conference/

Paper registration can also be secured and submitted by contacting OFGC executive secretary Gary Wilson at osuagman@gmail.com or 419-348-3500.

The Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council Annual Meeting is an opportune time to pick up inspiration for ways to improve pasture, hay, and livestock systems. Hearing the experiences of others is one of the best ways to find motivation to make changes for the better on-farm. Share your experiences with an OFGC board member and maybe you will be on the speaker list in future years! Not a member of OFGC? Not a problem. All people interested in pasture management and forage production are welcome to attend.

I hope to see you there making pasture improvements by osmosis on Feb. 17!

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