Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Grass-Based Livestock Working Group

Purpose

grazing cattleThe Grass-Based Livestock Working Group seeks to boost viability of the grass-based livestock industry in Iowa by supporting diverse groups of passionate practitioners and outreach professionals who are willing to share knowledge and work toward sustainability. It has operated since 2008 as part of the Value Chain Partnerships project and a competitive grant from the Leopold Center.

The working group meets quarterly to discuss issues in profitable grazing management, grazing, wildlife and the environment, grass-based branding and supply chains, and grazing policy and education. It seeks to address practitioners’ most pressing issues using sound research and effective knowledge transfer between participants. It identifies education programs and resources for established and beginning practitioners, and annually funds research and demonstration grants in these focus areas.

The goals of the GBLWG:

  • Create a diverse and inclusive support network for grass-based farm and food business people
  • Promote innovation, conservation and information-sharing in the grass-based livestock sector
  • Help grass-based livestock agriculture realize potential ecological, economic and social benefits

Priorities

  • Production: Profitable Grazing Management
    • developing cost-effective grazing systems and models, or creating decision-making aids to compare alternatives
    • facilitating grazing networks/circles/services
  • Marketing: Grass-Based Branding and Supply Chains
    • branding and product differentiation
    • guidance for processing and packaging of grass-based livestock products
  • Ecology: Grazing, Wildlife and the Environment
    • valuation of social and ecosystem services provided by grass-based livestock systems, and educational materials to circulate this information
    • networking graziers and conservation service providers
  • Policy: Grazing Policy and Education
    • building educational teams and stakeholder coalitions
    • promoting policy that rewards environmental benefits from grass-based livestock systems

Working group resources

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