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Connecting Livestock Farmers To Cropland
Minnesota’s new Cropland Grazing Exchange (CGE) website (www.mda.state.mn.us/cge) connects livestock farmers who need grazing land with crop farmers who have land to graze.
  The idea came from farmers who wanted to improve soil health by adding manure from grazing animals, says Kelly Anderson, a Minnesota Department of Agriculture livestock specialist.
  She notes that most crop farmers don’t have livestock that they can put on cover crops in the late fall and spring. At the same time, livestock owners who want to extend the grazing season and save feed for winter benefit also.
  Just started in March, Anderson says about 20 producers had logged in with their locations and information. “We keep things pretty private,” Anderson says. “Producers negotiate with each other.”
  While anyone can view the website map, participants must set up an account to log in. They answer questions that provide helpful information. Landowners list the number of acres and type of land (residue, cover crop, pasture/hay) and if it is organic, seasons it is available, fence type, water availability, and herbicide history. Livestock producers list the number and livestock type (cattle, sheep, goats), how far they will travel, season they want to graze, and if they are willing to fence, install a water system or haul water.
  While it is set up in Minnesota, Anderson invites producers near the borders in neighboring states to check out the website and set up an account if they are interested.
  “It’s a win/win for improving soil health and extending the grazing season for livestock,” Anderson concludes.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Kelly Anderson, Farwell, Minn. (ph 320 808-4424; www.mda.state.mn.us/cge; Kelly.anderson@state.mn.us).

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2017 - Volume #41, Issue #3