Annual grazing conference will help producers improve forages

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Livestock producers, Extension educators and agribusiness professionals from around the Midwest interested in improving forages and pasture productivity should attend the Heart of America Grazing Conference Jan. 20-21.

The conference will be at the Clarion Hotel, 2480 Jonathan Moore Pike, Columbus, Ind.  The conference, now in its 13th year, rotates among Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Ohio and features speakers from many states.

Jason Tower, Southern Indiana Purdue Agricultural Center superintendent, said the conference will highlight improved grazing management techniques and how producers can improve bottom lines and animal performance.

"Anytime we can have our animals grazing more days out of the year, it saves money and helps increase overall profitability, and it can also provide better feed quality for the animal," Tower said.

The conference will kick off with an evening program and tradeshow on Jan. 20. Purdue Extension forage specialist Keith Johnson will discuss Indiana's forage industry and contributions that are based in Indiana.

"The amount of pasture growth in late summer and into early fall is not as much as we would have liked it to have been," he said. "Individuals who were careful about not overgrazing will benefit next spring."

Johnson said pastures that were overgrazed the last couple years would have more stress and less productivity in the coming year.

On Jan. 21, sessions will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and cover soil health, invasive species woodlot grazing with goats and forage-finished versus grain-finished beef.

Registration is $65 per person for both days and $55 for an additional person from the same farm. One-day registration is $40 and $35 for a second person. Meals are included. After Dec. 20, full registration is $75 and one-day registration is $50. Meals are not guaranteed for those who register after Jan. 13.

Checks should be made payable to the Indiana Forage Council. Registration forms can be downloaded at https://ag.purdue.edu/agry/extension/Pages/grazing.aspx. Registration and payment should be sent to the Indiana Forage Council, c/o Keith Johnson, 915 W. State St., West Lafayette, IN 47907-2054.

A block of rooms has been reserved at the hotel with a rate of $84. Contact the Clarion Inn at 812-372-1541 by Dec. 20 and mention the Heart of America Grazing Conference to receive the discounted rate.

In addition to Purdue University Extension, conference sponsors are the Indiana Forage Council, Missouri Forage and Grassland Council, Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative, The Ohio State University Extension, University of Illinois Extension, University of Kentucky Extension, University of Missouri Extension, U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service and Indiana's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.



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