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Well-managed grazing systems: a forgotten hero of conservation

Franzluebbers, Alan J., Paine, Laura K., Winsten, Jonathan R., Krome, Margaret, Sanderson, Matt A., Ogles, Kevin, Thompson, Dennis
Journal of soil and water conservation 2012 v.67 no.4 pp. 100A
agroecology, conservation practices, ecosystem services, ecosystems, education, farming systems, farms, foods, governmental programs and projects, grazing, issues and policy, landscapes, livestock production, pastures, surveys
Well-managed pasture-based farming systems provide society-wide environmental services while offering productivity and profit to individual producers. Small-scale farms are supplying local communities with food and aesthetic, yet functional, landscapes. While some barriers to greater adoption of well-managed pasture-based farming systems are real, surveys suggest that many barriers are perceived and could be overcome with education. Grazing networks and on-farm demonstrations are separating what is real from perceived. Local, state, and federal programs to support well-managed grazing systems need to be organized into coordinated action. New comprehensive research investigations need to be designed so that ecologically sound, pasture-based farming systems can be adopted and adapted using a firm scientific basis for greater understanding of the broad biogeochemical and socioeconomic considerations. New and existing policy options should be further developed to encourage adoption of well-managed pasture- based livestock production as one of several agroecological approaches to meet the current and future demands of a robust production system without harming the ecosystem that supports it.