Tanks, electric fence wire, posts and other materials used in the grazing system at the Adams County CRP Research and Demonstration farm near Corning were recently sold at auction. The first-in-the –nation project was in operation for 19 years and demonstrated rotational grazing as an alternative to row crop production on highly erodible marginal land. The farm was removed from the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) so it was no longer available for research and demon- stration projects. Material used on the farm to demonstrate rotational grazing systems was removed from the farms.
The farm and the demonstration and research projects were managed by the Southern Iowa Forage and Livestock Com- mittee (SIFLC). “SIFLC”, according to Norvell Houck who served as chairman of SIFLC for several years, “is a group of farmers, business people and agency people from Adams, Ringgold and Taylor Counties. The committee was organized in 1989 because of a concern of the future of highly erodible land enrolled in CRP when the CRP contracts expired.”
SIFLC held numerous field days and sponsored many meetings throughout Iowa in the past 20 years to increase the awareness and improve the knowledge of farmers about managed rotational grazing systems. “However”, according to Brian Peterson SIFLC chairman and retired NRCS State Grassland Conservationist, “there is still a need to demonstrate and educate people about grazing management practices that meet the mission of SIFLC, which is to demonstrate eco- nomically feasible and environmentally sound alternatives to row crop production on Highly Erodible Land.” To meet this educational need and continue to be a leader in meeting the needs of producers SIFLC has initiated a program where individuals or groups can submit an application for projects that are related to forage production and/or grazing animals. A project could be an on-farm demonstration, a field day, public meeting or some other activity. SIFLC will use proceeds from the equipment auction along with other funds available to fund this program.”
On-farm demonstrations will typically be a new or different technology or management system the producer is interested in trying. SIFLC could make project funds available to purchase components of the system, make equipment available to assist in implementing the system, or help provide funds for a field day to share this information with other producers. Depending upon the type of project SIFLC may require the producer to maintain some records of the project so that it will better assist other producers when they review project results. SIFLC will require, as part of its assistance, a field day to share the project idea and results with other producers. SIFLC will work closely with a producer to assist him/her to host a field day event.
SIFLC could also work with a producer to host a field day event to highlight technology or management system currently in place on his/her farm. Assistance could include publicity, helping arrange for technical experts to be available for the field day, or food if it is provided.
Meetings are another good method of providing information to producers. SIFLC can assist in facilitating these events by helping with publicity, loaning audio visual equipment, arranging for technical experts to be available as part of the pro- gram, and other expenses related to public meetings.
Some projects require a more detailed description than others and often the SIFLC Board of Directors will contact the ap- plicant for more information before approving a project request. It is important for applicants to provide the contact infor- mation so that SIFLC can follow-up on project requests to get more information.
“SIFLC believes it is important to partner with other individuals or groups to implement projects,” according to Peterson. “We will want to know what the project applicant, or other funding sources, will provide to the project. This may include equipment in the case of many on farm demonstrations or a portion of the expenses for a meeting.”
A Request for Project Assistance is available from the address shown below and will be accepted by SIFLC any time dur- ing the year. Any individual or group in Iowa can submit a project request to SIFLC. However priority will be given to appli- cations from southern Iowa. Please return the application to Melissa Maynes, Executive Secretary; Southern Iowa Forage and Livestock Committee; 603 7th Street; Corning, Iowa 50841. Melissa can also be contacted at 641-322-3184.