Grassland 2.0 Aims to Replace Soy and Corn Farming with Perennial Pasture in the Upper Midwest

The University of Wisconsin-Madison project will help farmers transition to pasture-based systems to protect the environment and boost rural livelihoods while meeting demand for grassfed meat and dairy.

“We’re shedding farms,” Randy Jackson remarks grimly one autumn day over video conference. A professor of grassland ecology in the department of agronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Jackson points to the fact that a record 10 percent of dairy farms in his state of Wisconsin shuttered in 2019, another milestone for a local economy that led the nation in farm bankruptcies last year.

Wisconsin’s dairy sector contributes more than $45 billion to the state’s economy and employs 154,000 people. Thus, dairy farm closures have enormous trickle-down impact. “There are less than 7,000 dairy farms left in the state,” Jackson adds morosely. “Two go out of business each day.”...

- - Volume: 8 - WEEK: 47 Date: 11/16/2020 10:08:40 AM -