A program that helps individuals and organizations work together to maintain and improve the management and productivity of privately owned grazing lands has been growing. The Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative is run by the Wisconsin office of the USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service.
Coordinators say 140 farmers utilized the program for technical assistance during the past year.
Owners and managers of these grazing lands address natural resource concerns while contributing to the economic viability of their rural communities. GLCI emphasizes high quality, voluntary technical assistance and expanded research and education for farmers and managers of grazing lands.
Last year, the program saw 268 grazing plans implemented covering over 12,200 acres. Approximately 6000 acres were converted from cropland to pasture in 2013. That has led to a reduction in phosphorus and nitrogen runoff by 80 percent compared to cropland.
NRCS has the primary responsibility to carry out the GLCI. NRCS Grazing Land Specialists and Soil Conservationists have the expertise and experience to provide technical assistance to landowners regarding the long-term productivity and ecological health of their grazing land.