Thursday, September 16, 2021

Play

Hundreds of wealthy Americans back the Biden Build Back Better Act; Roger Stone is served with a warrant on live radio; and family caregivers are in need of assistance.

Play

Virginia gubernatorial candidates debate; former federal prosecutor Michael Sussmann indicted for lying to FBI; lawmakers set to question oil industry over climate disinformation; and FDA scientists express skepticism over booster shots.

Play

Lawsuits stall debt relief for America's Black farmers; Idaho hospitals using "critical care" protocols; grant money boosts rural towns in Utah and more conservation acreage could protect the iconic sage grouse.

"Silvopasture" Movement Reaches WI Farms

Play

Monday, February 8, 2021   

MADISON, Wis. -- As brutal cold grips the upper Midwest, some farm animals are getting protection from the wind in forested settings.

They're being raised through a form of sustainable agriculture that's gaining attention in Wisconsin.

Ag researchers say "silvopasture" has long been popular in Europe, and is catching on in the U.S.

It integrates trees, forage and grazing livestock. Producers can either strategically plant trees in a pasture, or have their animals rotate through existing woodlands.

Diane Mayerfeld, senior outreach specialist for the University of Wisconsin Extension, said it benefits livestock by helping protect them from extreme cold or the summer heat, and it can improve a farmer's bottom line.

"Having those three different systems means you have an additional source of income," Mayerfeld explained. "Either income from the trees in addition to the livestock, or income from the livestock in addition to the trees."

There's also an environmental benefit: Planting more trees means they can sequester carbon from the air.

But Mayerfeld said silvopasture requires some detailed management to avoid drawbacks that could hurt the movement. Her office and the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute shared information with livestock producers in a panel discussion this winter.

Other partners included the Conservation Professional Training Program, the Iowa County Farmer-Led Uplands Watershed Group, and the Savanna Institute.

Keefe Keeley, co-executive director of the Institute, which advocates for more Midwestern farmers to adopt agroforestry, said there's a lot of trial and error, including keeping livestock from stomping over growing trees.

But he emphasized it isn't a reason for farmers to stop trying.

"When you're talking about climate change and how do we get more atmospheric carbon in our landscapes, planting trees in open pastures is where that possibility is really strong," Keeley contended.

According to the most recent Ag-Census Survey, nearly 1,100 Wisconsin farms said they practiced some form of agroforestry, and while researchers say it's hard to determine how much of that is silvopasture, they estimate it accounts for a significant portion.

Disclosure: Michael Fields Agricultural Institute contributes to our fund for reporting on Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Rural/Farming, and Sustainable Agriculture. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Oregon's Hispanic population grew 30% from 2010 to 2020. (Gstudio/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Hispanic Heritage Month began this week, and will be celebrated through Oct. 15. Oregon has a rapidly growing Hispanic population…


Social Issues

SILVER SPRING, Md. -- As the Biden administration challenges a Texas law restricting abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, Planned Parenthood for …

Social Issues

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Social Security, the program credited with lifting 15 million older residents in Wyoming and across the U.S. out of poverty…


Arkansas' rental-assistance program has distributed funds to more than 3,200 households in the state. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas has made some changes to its state rent relief program to make it easier to distribute assistance to residents…

Environment

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The historic clean-energy bill signed into Illinois law yesterday includes measures from closing coal and natural gas plants by 2…

Indiana ranks 44th out of 50 states for bankruptcy. (Andriy Blokhin/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

INDIANAPOLIS -- A new coalition is forming to push back against predatory lending and urge state lawmakers to take action to protect consumers…

Social Issues

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- More than 200 high earners have written a letter urging Congress to raise taxes to help support social safety-net programs that …

Health and Wellness

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Limiting women's access to abortion and other reproductive health care can have a devastating impact on state economies. According …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021