The Missouri Regional Grazing Schools are educational programs taught by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and University of Missouri Extension (MU).
The schools serve three purposes:
- educate producers and agency personnel in the art and science of grazing management;
- transfer new technology in grassland management to producers and agency personnel;
- qualify producers for the state DSP3 cost-share program.
COORDINATORS, INSTRUCTORS, AND GRAZING REGIONS
The schools are taught in nine “grazing school regions.” These regions do not conform to institutional boundaries of either NRCS or MU. Rather, they define regions according to similar soil, topography, and land use; boundaries for regions were established more than ten years ago by NRCS and MU with approval from administration. Some regional boundaries have been adjusted since that time. Within each region are two co-coordinators–one from NRCS and another from UE. A map of these regions, along with the names of regional coordinators is posted on the website for the Missouri Forage & Grassland Council/Grazing Land Conservation Initiative (MFGC/GLCI). Please check the website to view this map.
All schools must address the following core subject matter in some form or another:
- Introduction to Management-intensive grazing
- Resource evaluation
- Plant growth
- Forage quality
- Livestock nutrition on pasture
- Soil fertility and landscape ecology
- Layout and design
- Fence and water technology
- Tying it all together
Other subject matter may be added as deemed appropriate and as time allows.
Schools are taught during the grazing season only. The grazing season runs from April 1 to October 31. They are scheduled in each of the nine regions under the leadership of the two co-coordinators. The two co-coordinators work together, along with instructors from NRCS and MU, to determine the number, the dates and the locations of schools in their region. They relay this information to MFGC/GLCI by February 14.
After information is relayed back to MFGC/GLCI it will be put on a calendar on the MFGC/GLCI website. MFGC/GLCI provides dates, places, and local contact persons for each school. This information will be posted on the MFGC/GLCI website in mid-March. In addition, the information will be published in various newsletters, including Missouri Grasslands. Finally, it will be available to anyone who calls the MFGC/GLCI office at (573) 499-0886; the office is opened 9:00 am to noon Monday – Friday.
Instructors in each region are provided with multimedia materials. In the year 2000, (updated in 2011) each region received 2 CD’s with all of the presentations in a digital format (Microsoft PowerPoint) along with additional digital photos and figures in jpg format.
Producer materials include manuals, grazing sticks, and other technical teaching tools. They are to be purchased from MFGC/GLCI, and the orders placed ONLY BY REGIONAL COORDINATORS. Materials are not to be ordered by instructors, secretaries, or other support personnel in the region; this will prevent duplicate orders and confusion of invoicing.
Materials can be ordered by the item. All orders are final, and regions that purchase materials are responsible for them. All orders must be turned in by February 14 to MFGC/GLCI.
Purchasing by Item:
- Missouri Grazing Manual- $20.00
- A Guide to the Common Forages and Weeds of Pastures – $14.00
- Grazing Stick- $5.25
The above materials can be picked up by coordinators between 9:00 am and noon at the MFGC/GLCI office in Columbia. Pickup times must be scheduled in advance by calling Cindy Thompson at the MFGC/GLCI office at (573) 338-1772. During pickup, coordinators will sign for all materials and they are to receive written receipts or signatures from all instructors, secretaries, or other personnel in the regions who receive these.
Additionally, copies of the NRCS publications Electric Fencing for Serious Graziers, Watering Systems for Serious Graziers, and Missouri Soil & Pasture Health Guide can be obtained through your local NRCS/SWCD offices. These are excellent resources and should be used as reference materials at grazing schools.