In response to an increased interest by many livestock farmers in the effective utilization of pasture for raising and finishing livestock, the Maine Grass Farmers Network was created to gather and provide information and support to interested farmers.
Many livestock farmers in Maine are learning about potential advantages of growing grass as carefully managed pasture for their livestock. Growing grass in Maine takes advantage of our short growing season and cool climate. Keeping land in pasture reduces soil erosion caused by row crops.
Grass farming and pasture raised livestock utilize pastureland effectively, while improving animal health, product quality, and market advantage. Pasture raised milk, meat, poultry, and eggs have the potential for high nutritional content and higher market prices. Grass farming can increase profitability, helping to keep farms and farmland viable and maintaining the rural character of our communities.
With the support of a grant from SARE, the Northeast Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, the coordinators held a series of pasture walks and a first annual conference in October 2004. They also produced information to help farmers, and created a core group of trained professionals in University of Maine Cooperative Extension, MOFGA, Maine Department of Agriculture, and Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Farmer-consultants are now available to provide technical information and support to a network of grass-based farmers in Maine. A database and e-mail network of livestock farmers and professionals who wish to be part of the network has been developed. Fact sheets for professionals and farmers were created with topics that include: forage identification, fencing methods, watering systems, pasture management (reclamation, set-up, evaluation), predator control, and genetics.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Pat Bates: firstname.lastname@example.org
Xandy Brown: email@example.com
Denise Carpenter: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gabe Clark: email@example.com
Ben Hartwell: firstname.lastname@example.org
Justin Jamison: email@example.com
Richard Kersbergen: firstname.lastname@example.org
Diane Schivera: email@example.com
Barbara Skehan: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fred Sherburne: email@example.com
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