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GrassWorks hosted its 25th Annual Grazing Conference at the Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells from February 2-4. The first grazing conference was in 1993 at the exact same location. Over the years the event has been held in Wausau, Rothschild, Stevens Point and Wisconsin Rapids, but conference attendees always enjoy coming back to where it all began. GrassWorks is a grassroots membership organization that provides leadership and education to farmers and consumers for the advancement of managed grass-based agriculture to benefit present and future generations. GrassWorks links farmers with the resources they need to be successful graziers.
Managed grazing is an economically and environmentally-sound method of livestock agriculture. For over twenty years, managed grazing has been a foundation of the sustainable agriculture movement in the upper Midwest and we are proud of the role that GrassWorks has played in its development. We provide leadership, education and resources for grass-based farmers and regional organizations that support graziers. This is done through many projects and programs, but the largest and most effective of these is the grazing conference.
Over 435 people attended the conference this year to learn from grazing experts, Jim Gerrish, Tom Franzen and Joyce Turk, plus many other speakers. Highlights also included the Closing Time Barbershop Quartet who provided grand entertainment throughout the night and even closed down the hotel bar at 2:00 am with a song. A Grazing Handy Hints competition sponsored by Hoard’s Dairyman declared four innovating winners: Joe Borgerding of Belgrade, MN, Rob Moore of Nichols, NY, Carl Werner of Beaver Dam, WI and Altfrid Krusenbaum of Elkhorn, WI. Nine individuals or teams answered our call for grazing parodies and put together compositions performed for the crowd. It was all great fun and we recognized a lot of un-tapped talent in the community.
There were 48 tradeshow vendors and sponsors who provided information and resources for attendees. Time for networking, conversation, and entertainment was a major component of this successful annual educational conference. Three of the major sponsors for this conference include Byron Seeds, the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship Program and Simple Soil Solutions.
Quotes from evaluations included: “I was impressed with the content and the ability of all the speakers that I listened to at the conference. They were all engaging and passionate about what they were speaking on and could speak well without losing our interest.” And “I like the mix of real world experience with the scientific data. Can’t say enough! All very great, better every year!”
Lastly, the GrassWorks Board of Directors awarded Greg and Wendy Galbraith of Aniwa, WI with the Jerold Berg Grazing Advocate Award. This honor is awarded to individuals each year to recognize their enthusiastic efforts to educate farmers and consumers about the many benefits of managed grazing.
To learn more about Grassworks, visit www.grassworks.org