This new program from the University of Florida and funded by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is a great step toward partnership and community for the farming and ranching community. Beneficial for all parties and great for the environment, this program looks to take advantage of available resources and multiply the goodness by working together. Interested in learning more about ranching programs in your area? Visit the Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch blog.
The Southeast Grazing Exchange aims to create a mutually-beneficial partnership between ranchers with cows and farmers who have land. Cattle can consume about 2 percent of their body weight per day. This leaves ranchers constantly looking for more fresh feed. Pasture rotation is the most beneficial and nutritious, but not every rancher has enough space for that. Farmers can work with ranchers to provide for that need.
The program, titled Southeast Grazing Exchange, was created by the University of Florida. It matches farmers who have empty land with ranchers who need a place to graze their cattle. Similar programs have existed in California and South Dakota, but this is the first widespread program for this area. It encompasses the Southeast, and includes farmers and ranchers from not just Florida, but also Alabama and Georgia. It is free for all users to participate.
While the benefits of cover crops have been known for a while, it can be cost-prohibitive for growers to participate. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services funds this Southeast Grazing Exchange program, making it more accessible for growers to have crops, coverage, and a profit all year round. Cows get to graze, farmers save money on fertilizer, and land doesn’t erode since it’s being used for cover crops.
Opportunities to better work together to use our resources for good are always welcomed. One way we like to do that is by opening up our farm to agritours and events. Want to learn more? Visit the Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch website to schedule your visit.