Heart of America Grazing Conference brings together five-state alliance

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LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky beef specialist John Johns estimates today’s livestock producers are utilizing only about 35 percent of their forage.

“No industry other than agriculture can exist with that number,” Johns said. “If we could increase that utilization to just 60 percent through better grazing techniques, better fencing, and better management, anyway you want to look at it, we could greatly expand the industry in this state and do it more economically than we are doing now.

“So teaching producers something about new grazing management techniques is very important.”

Johns, along with Monty Chappell, Kentucky sheep and goat specialist, and Bob Coleman, Kentucky horse specialist, are part of a five-state effort focused on improving grazing knowledge and management in their region.

Conference. The group has put together the inaugural Heart of America Grazing Conference, scheduled for Jan. 24 at Rend Lake College in southern Illinois.

“Forages really are the keystone to production in small ruminants and their utilization is the key to profitability in the industry.” Chappell said.

“We know that we can produce large amounts of forage. And, if we manage it properly, we can use it well.”

Topics. Conference attendees will hear from a variety of speakers ranging from extension specialists and industry professionals to producers who are successfully using new grazing techniques in their enterprises.

Kentucky Extension forage specialist Gary Lacefield will discuss ways to extend the grazing season. Other discussions will cover practices of effective grazing and the positive environmental impact of grazing.

Registration. The conference will run from 8:45 a.m to 3:30 p.m on January 24. The deadline for preregistration is Jan. 17, however registration will be accepted at the door the day of the conference.

To preregister send a check or money order for $20, made payable to University of Illinois Extension to Ed Ballard, U of I Extension, 1209 Wenthe Dr., Effingham, IL 62401-1697.

After Jan. 17 call Ballard at 217-347-5126 or bring your check with you to the conference.

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