Floods, droughts and wildfires over the past few years have many farmers and land managers thinking about ways to improve the resilience of their operations and become more nimble in responding to difficult conditions.

Moving livestock to available grazing is one way to be nimble. Adding cover crops and livestock to row cropping systems helps improve soil health and is one way to build resiliency. Trouble is, many livestock farmers don’t own or rent land in multiple locations — and many crop farmers don’t own or manage livestock.

The Midwest Grazing Exchange can help solve both sides of this equation.

Brett Mathews of Dividing Ridge Farm in Illinois says, “The Midwest Grazing Exchange connects cow producers to crop farmers and pasture owners. But I believe that more importantly, it puts livestock back on the ground.”

Midwest Grazing Exchange is a matchmaking website for livestock and grazing opportunities.

The website lets users

  • Search listings, including through an interactive map with filters for criteria like season, land or livestock type
  • Create listings of what land or livestock they have to offer
  • Create a free account to save listings of interest, add new listings, see contact details and send messages to other users
  • Browse a curated list of grazing resources, including examples of grazing lease agreements and contracts
  • Explore the benefits of regenerative grazing for both landowners and livestock owners

The Midwest Grazing Exchange now covers seven states: Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin.

State-level and multi-state grazing exchanges for more parts of the U.S. are linked on the website as well at https://www.midwestgrazingexchange.com/resources

Grazing connections between crop farmers and livestock farmers is a win-win-win for soil health, livestock and farm profitability. While taking stock of 2022 and planning for 2023, consider adding or expanding a grazing component to your farm operation, and look to the Midwest Grazing Exchange to help make it happen.

The Midwest Grazing Exchange is led by Practical Farmers of Iowa and the Pasture Project, which is run by the Wallace Center at Winrock International, as part of their involvement in the Midwest Perennial Forage Working Group (MPFWG). The MPFWG's mission is to facilitate an increase in land used for pasture and perennial forage production in the Upper Midwest and to improve the environmental performance of farming systems while maintaining agricultural production and profitability. The MPFWG is coordinated by Green Lands Blue Waters.

Source: Green Lands Blue Waters