I’m excited. Well that may be an understatement. But, at the moment I can’t think of a better words to describe my feelings. I just returned from my first GrassWorks! Conference and with some great ideas to improve my farm. I also am feeling reaffirmed in my decision to focus my time on the farm full time.
Over the last year and half, it’s been a work-in-progress to get to becoming a grazing operation. We first started working with NRCS in developing plans for our pasture and how we would graze our goats on our land. We then chose to move to strictly forage only feeding. Our fence and waterline finally went in late this fall right before the early snow in November. It was quite the sense of relief to have the fence in and start out wintering the livestock. Throughout this time, I’ve been doing what I can to learn about grazing: reading, talking with our grazing specialist, going to local pasture walks, talking with other small ruminant grazers and attending workshops. Throughout this time GrassWorks kept coming up in conversations. I was beginning to get the impression the organization, including its annual conference, was a worthwhile investment as a graizer.
The Conference did live up to its reputation and then some. I’m looking forward to the next few months to start planning and then implement a number of strategies as the next grazing season begins in the spring. I’ll be making changes or trying out new approaches with free choice minerals, soil sampling and fertility, slivaculture and slivopastures, and direct marketing. Besides great sessions, the producers I met were all friendly, willing to discuss their management practices and all shared the same deep-rooted passion for agriculture and the environment. It’ll be fun to to see where my operation goes as I work on refining my own grazing and animal management practices, as well as become a seasoned producer.