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Grazing System Success in Red Lake County, Minnesota


Minnesota's Conservation Showcase






Grazing System Success in Red Lake County, Minnesota

Since 2006, Luther Newton has been serving as the District Conservationist for the Red Lake Falls, Minnesota NRCS Field Office.  In this short period of time, Newton has come to appreciate what a difference he can make with farmers in Red Lake County. 

Grazing has been a major success in Red lake County, Minnesota.  For more information regarding grazing, please stop by your local NRCS Field Office in Minnesota.Shortly after Newton’s arrival to Red Lake County he discovered there were several agricultural producers with resource concerns for forage and water quality issues.  Ponds were drying up and in some situations the ponds became filled with algae. Newton came in contact with Andy Moran, farmer from north-west Red Lake County.  Moran owned and operated an angus cow/calf herd and wanted to improve his grazing land situation.

Newton worked with Moran to develop a conservation plan that worked on resolving the resource conservation issues on the Moran farm.  After the plan was developed Moran applied for technical and financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). 

Through EQIP, Moran developed a grazing plan. He was able to put together a contract that addressed his resource concerns centering around forage and water quality issues.  Some of the conservation practices that were planned and implemented on the Moran farm included:  Full grazing system; water tanks; pipeline; well; fencing and forage harvest management.

“Working with NRCS on developing a Grazing Management System was the best thing I could have done for my livestock operation in Red Lake County,” said Andy Moran. 

Grazing has been a major success in Red Lake County.  “Initially producers were skeptical, but now have become true believers in the conservation planning and application process,” said Newton.   “I have seen years where Red Lake County had drought like conditions, yet for those producers who were following grazing plans, these producers had some lush, green pasture.”

Moran is willing to discuss his personal experience with grazing with other Red Lake County agricultural producers.  This has been a big benefit to NRCS as producers like hearing the way it is from an actual farmer.  One-on-one farmer testimony and sharing with other farmers has been a win-win for everyone, said Newton.

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