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Grazing Conference to offer New info On Old Practice

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Written Friday, January 14, 2000  

With all the emphasis on new technologies in agriculture, it's ironic that one old-fashioned farming method is attracting renewed interest. Grazing, which dates back to when man first domesticated animals, is improving farmers' profits and the health of many farm herds today.

While grazing animals is not new, there are new and improved ways of getting the most from a forage operation. Producers can learn the latest about grazing Feb. 14-15 during the Great Lakes International Grazing Conference at the Shipshewana Antique Auction Barn in Shipshewana, Ind.

"Many producers are switching from a heavy emphasis on grain-feeding animals to feeding forages," said Ed Heckman, a Purdue Cooperative Extension Service educator in Wayne County, Ind., and co-chairman of the conference. "Grazing allows farmers to let their animals do the harvesting of the crops, reducing farm machinery expenses and lessening the farmer's work in some areas."

Heckman said one of the benefits of the conference is that many of the presenters are graziers who share their success stories. "Persons who attend the conference can network with others and learn from those in the business what are the best ways to manage a forage operation," he said.

Researchers such as Keith Johnson, a Purdue University professor of agronomy, also share their insights at the conference. "Through research we are finding out how to improve both the quality and quantity of forages in the field and how to efficiently utilize the feed resource. Farmers can have greater profits through use of improved grazing systems," Johnson said.

Topics to be covered during the conference include grazing for dairy, beef, sheep and horses; how to get started in grazing; how to master the art of grazing; and alternative marketing techniques.

The cost for the event is $65 for the first person from each farm and $55 for additional people from that same farm. After Feb. 7, the registration fee goes up to $70 and $60 respectively.

For registration information, contact Donna Hunter at the Lagrange Soil and Water Conservation District in Lagrange, Ind., at (219) 463-3471.

The Great Lakes International Grazing Conference is sponsored by Purdue, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, the University of Illinois and the Ontario Ministry of Farming.

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