ST. PAUL, Minn. — The SARE grant project “Match Made In Heaven: Livestock + Crops” has released a new infographic depicting integration of livestock and crops at a glance. The infographic was developed by and for farmers and service providers, in collaboration with the design firm Background Stories. Digital files of the infographic are available at the project’s website.
“We invite people to download the infographic and add their own local contact information in the space provided,”
said Jane Jewett, project co-director. “Our hope is that it will be shared widely!”
Farming practices that integrate crops and livestock, such as grazing cover crops or crop residue, can create mutual benefits on both the crop and livestock sides. Crop enterprises can save on fertilizer costs, break pest and disease cycles, add soil organic matter, market their cover crop as forages, and potentially receive ecosystem service credits; while livestock enterprises can use cover crops and crop aftermath to stretch the grazing season into winter.
“A key feature of crop and livestock integration is that the same farmer need not do all the work to make it happen,” said Laura Paine, Grassland 2.0 outreach coordinator and another of the project’s co-directors. “It’s exciting to think about the potential for partnerships between crop producers, livestock producers, and custom operators and how that can support local economies and build relationships.”
Beginning farmers are another group that can benefit from such partnerships. The infographic acknowledges some of the many challenges of integration as well and suggests places to start.
“Match Made In Heaven: Livestock + Crops” is a three-year, six-state project funded by North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE). The centerpiece of the project is a broad survey of crop and livestock farmers across the Upper Midwest to learn about their successes, interests, needs, and challenges around integration of crops and livestock. .
The collaboration is led by Green Lands Blue Waters and currently includes over 50 participating organizations across the six Upper Midwestern states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin), including crop and livestock associations, educational institutions, and service agencies; plus two farmers from each state. The collaborative group welcomes new organizations as they head into the survey design phase of the project. Those interested in participating can learn more at the project website: https://greenlandsbluewaters.org/match-made-in-heaven-livestock-crops/. If you have questions about the infographic or any other of the project’s activities, contact Amy Fenn, project coordinator.
— Green Lands Blue Waters