Forage Field Days program gets residents out on farms

Farming can be a daunting process, but an informal forage and grazing management program could lend green thumbs across the U.P. a helping hand.

The program is called Forage Field Days. It’s supported by a grant fromĀ Project GREEEN (Generating Research and Extension to meet Economic and Environmental Needs), given to Michigan State University for research and extension work related to agricultural industries.

Farmers attend the field days on farms across the U.P. to learn varying techniques from one another.

“The primary goal is for farmers to learn new methods that are more sustainable both environmentally and economically,” MSU Extension U.P. crop production educator Jim Isleib said. “Hopefully out of this we’ll be able to develop more localized groups of farmers that can feed back information and interests to the local MSU Extension people so we can get the ball rolling a little bit better. There’s a lot of difference in soils and conditions across the region, so we wanted to make these programs local and specific to an area where they’re held.”

Each farm participating in Forage Field Days covers a different topic from dairy to beef to crop production.

“This farm (Brule River Farm) is pretty much a beef operation, so (farmers will learn) pasturing, successful watering systems for cattle, improving pastures with low-cost renovation processes, the use of industrial wood ash as a soil amendment…the things that (owner) Jon Ahlberg is doing here that are very successful in his operation he’s going to share with the crowd,” Isleib said.

Two Forage Field Days will take place Saturday at farms in Rudyard and Dafter, and more are planned for this fall.