Grazing expert Jim Gerrish to present workshops on soil health

For graziers, the key to increasing revenue stream and profitability is managed grazing. By understanding the ecological processes behind soil health, utilizing effective fencing strategies and developing water systems for livestock, pastures are more productive and support more livestock. And nobody knows grazing management better than Jim Gerrish.

Gerrish, author of “Management Intensive Grazing, the Grassroots of Grass Farming,” “Kick the Hay Habit: A Practical Guide to Year-around Grazing” and numerous other articles, has more than 20 years experience in beef-forage systems research and outreach as well as 20-plus years raising cattle and sheep. He and his wife, Dawn, own and operate American GrazingLands Services LLC, a business dedicated to aiding farmers and ranchers more effectively manage their grazing lands for economic and environmental sustainability. In addition to on-ranch consulting services and suppliers of electric fenced water system products, they participate in many workshops and seminars across the U.S. and Canada.

Gerrish’s single-day workshop, Grazing for Better Soil Health, will be presented throughout Kansas beginning on Sept. 17 at the Anderson Building in the Lyon County Fairgrounds, Emporia. Addition workshops will be held on Sept. 18 at the Samuels Community Building, Eureka; Sept. 19 at St. Columbkille’s Parish Hall, Blaine; Sept. 20 at Jewell Community Center, Jewell; and Sept. 21 at the Kansas Polytechnic Center, Salina. All workshops begin at 8 a.m.

Tickets are $25 per workshop and can be purchased online at Sponsors include the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams through funding from North Central Extension Risk Management Education.

Soil health is the critical foundation of a grazing business.

“Healthy soils can help keep you and your livestock healthier,” Gerrish said. “Biologically active soils allow natural processes of mineral cycling and pathogen checks and balances to take place. And when the soil is alive and functioning, purchases of off-farm inputs can be dramatically reduced.”

Some of the highest returns on investment graziers can make on the farm or ranch are with stock water development and subdivision fencing, he said. Other pasture or herd improvement systems graziers choose to make can be made even more beneficial through time-controlled grazing.

Understanding the principles of effective grazing practices is also a critical component of successful grazing businesses, he added.

“You should never stop learning how to improve the profitability of your business while creating healthier soils and plant communities,” Gerrish said.

The Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams is a nonprofit organization working to connect the lands, water, and people of Kansas through an inclusive, non-partisan and science-based approach to support sustainability of the natural ecosystems and working lands of Kansas. 

For further information, contact Mary Howell at 785-562-8726 or [email protected].