New Jersey Farmer Benefits Through the Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA)
New Jersey Farmer Benefits Through the Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) Program
In 2001 John Johnston of Lambertville, New Jersey, attended a Pasture Walk sponsored by the Grazing Land Conservation Initiative in New Jersey. After the pasture walk, he contacted NRCS to request assistance for his beef operation. He had noticed that his pastures had reduced forage quality and quantity over the last 10 years, and he wanted to improve conditions on his operation. After walking the farm with the producer and listening to his concerns, NRCS developed a conservation plan to address the resource needs on 16 acres of his farm. In conjunction with the conservation plan, the producer applied for the Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) program and was funded for Prescribed Grazing, Fencing and Pipeline for Livestock Watering Facilities at 75% cost share.
Mr. Johnston started his prescribed grazing contract by soil testing his fields and then applying lime and fertilizer in the appropriate amounts. He installed the water pipeline and waterers in spring and summer of 2002. The pipeline enabled him to begin dividing his pastures to facilitate rotational grazing. The first year of prescribed grazing, the producer thought he saw some benefits to forage quality, but it was hard to quantify the results at that time.
By 2004, Mr. Johnston easily recognized the benefits of the practices he had been implementing. He was able to graze a smaller portion of the farm in the spring which enabled him to hay part of his pastureland and store the feed for winter feeding. His animals had better weight gain on the improved pastures, and since he was working with the animals every three to four days to move them for rotational grazing, the animals were more tame and easier to manage.
By improving his grazing practices, Mr. Johnston has also improved his soil. Deeper root penetration and higher organic matter in the soil have led to better forage quality, increased infiltration and improved water storage capacity at this beef operation in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.
Read about other conservation successes in New Jersey!