Dave Johnson, president of the membership organization GrassWorks, recently sent letters to every Wisconsin legislator, calling on them to restore $400,000 per year in funding for grazing specialists and networks. He urges graziers to ask their state senator and assembly representative to back legislation to place funding for the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI) in the upcoming biennial budget.

Johnson is concerned because the budget submitted by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) to Governor Walker doesn't include money for grazing specialists.

Johnson calls managed grazing "the bright spot" of the past few years, when Wisconsin struggled to provide jobs and economic development in rural communities.

He points out that 22 percent of Wisconsin dairy farmers use managed grazing and that approximately half of beginning dairy producers are graziers.

The grazing networks and technical service providers supported through the GLCI provided peer-to-peer education for 10,140 farmers in 2012. PD


—Compiled from various sources