“The only thing I wish I would have done different with my grazing was to have started 20 years sooner,” Fond du Lac County dairy farmer Dan Flood said as he addressed attendees at a kickoff meeting earlier this month on Improving Dairy Profitability Through Managed Grazing.
The meeting was one of several in an upcoming series that will look at how grazing can help dairy farmers reduce input costs and increase profitability. These are especially timely as dairy farmers are experiencing lean times with some of the tightest profit margins they have experienced in decades. Attendees will have a chance to consider if grazing would be a good fit for their farm and hear from other farmers who have found successful strategies.
Upcoming events include:
- MINERAL POINT: April 6, Quality Inn, 1345 Business Park Rd., Mineral Point
- CHILTON: April 10, Calumet County Court House, 206 Court St., Chilton
- BALDWIN: April 23, Ag Services Building, 1960 8th Ave., Baldwin
- ABBOTSFORD: May 7, Abbotsford City Hall, 203 N. First St., Abbotsford
These regional workshops are being organized by Wisconsin Farmers Union in partnership with Glacierland RC&D, River Country RC&D, Southwest Badger RC&D and Grassworks. The sessions are targeted at both farmers who are not presently using managed grazing and current dairy grazers who want to improve their management skills and share ideas.
“These are tough times for Wisconsin dairy producers,” said Wisconsin Farmers Union President Darin Von Ruden. “I encourage all dairy farmers to attend these workshops, which take a hard look at how grazing can increase dairy farm profitability.”
The workshops run from 10:30am to 2:30pm and include lunch. Featured presenters are Bill Kolodziej, Marathon County Grazing Specialist; Paul Dietmann, Compeer Financial Senior Lending Officer; Serge Koenig, Sauk County Soil Conservation Technician; and Gene Schriefer, Iowa County Agriculture Agent. The day will wrap-up with a panel of local dairy graziers.
Please RSVP at least one week in advance by calling the WFU State Office at 715-723-5561 or register via the corresponding event at www.wisconsinfarmersunion.com/upcoming-events.
Previous workshops held this spring were rated 98 percent excellent by attendees. “This was a great opportunity to hear from other county Land and Conservation Development staff promoting grazing and from the farmers doing it,” one reviewer wrote. “I’ve been looking into grazing, but now that I see these numbers, my fencing is a huge priority,” another attendee said. “I can’t afford not to do this!”
“It’s like trying to convince an old guy to get a skid steer – once you get him in it, it’ll be the last piece of equipment to leave the farm,” said another farmer in attendance. “As long as I have livestock, I’ll have grazing.”
WFU and the partner RC&Ds will also be joining forces to host pasture walks around the state this summer, which will be geared at farmers and groups interested in watershed conservation. Dates will be posted soon at www.wisconsinfarmersunion.com.