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JR Boulden - 2013 Prescribed Grazing Hero Award Recipient

 The Kentucky Conservation Partnership recognizes JR Boulden as the 2013 Prescribed Grazing Hero for Kentucky.  This award honors distinguished efforts to improve soil quality through the adoption of prescribed grazing technology.  Thank you for taking the initiative to implement conservation on your land  and for serving as a role model for prescribed grazing in Mason County.

JR BouldenWilliam E Boulden Jr. (JR), a native of Mason County, grew up in the Mayslick area of the county, where his love of farming began.  He assisted his grandfather and other neighboring farmers with their cattle herds and began showing cattle through 4-H.

This led him to secure a long term lease of 139 acres of land where he is running a commercial cow / calf operation.  JR is currently running 50 brood cows on 130 acres of the operation which is an increase from the 35 he was had prior to implementation of the prescribed grazing system.

When entering into the lease agreement, the 139 acres had open grazing due to limited water availability and very little cross fencing. The watering facilities that were there were not protected by heavy use areas and had become muddy.  JR had attended several meetings and field days where rotational grazing was demonstrated but was unable to implement a system on this farm due to the lack of infrastructure. To overcome these obstacles, JR came to NRCS seeking assistance to lay out and install a prescribed grazing system. A conservation plan was developed which showed the need to install cross fencing, 3 watering facilities and a heavy use area around the 2 existing tanks.

After installing the conservation practices, JR was able to implement a prescribed grazing system.  The benefits JR has noticed is a quicker regrowth of the forages, increased production, improved soil and plant health and reduction in feeding of hay during the winter.  There is better infiltration of water which allowed JR’s pastures to stay green during the 2012 drought when neighboring farms were brown.

The watering facilities were placed in a manner to allow for additional pastures to be created using electric fence. The system will change easily to fit the management needs each year. JR said, “If you are not doing prescribed grazing now, it needs to be done. It has made my farm easier to manage, given me better cattle performance and better forages.”

JR received the KY Small Farmer of the Year Award and the Mason County Cooperator of the Year for production Agriculture Award due to his efforts in conservation farming.  He continues to work with youth on livestock shows and serves as a role model for prescribed grazing in Mason County.