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Cows grazing

Grazing in Illinois

Illinois NRCS values the benefits good grazing management offers Illinois producers and their natural resources. We offer conservation programs and practices specifically designed to help graziers find success in sustainable and profitable operations.

Grazing Programs & Practices

NRCS programs most relevant to graziers include the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP), the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), and the Organic EQIP options.

Grazing Information Web Sites and Organizations



Illinois Grazier Profiles and Success Stories

Grazing Profile

Bauman Family Farms

Meet Grant and Casey Bauman from Vienna, IL. Read their story to learn about their grazing operation and their close relationship with conservation.

Family posing
Grazing Profile

Burnt Hill Cattle Company

Meet Logan and Jessica Karcher from Dahlgren, IL. Learn from them how grazing different and diverse species can be successful.

Producer family posing
Grazing Profile

Main Street Pastures

Meet Jill and Chad Vonder Haar from St. Rose, IL. Their operation is sustainable and profitable and meets community needs.

Producers posing
Grazing Profile

Root and Sky Farms

Meet Josh and Tiffany Kriner from Marengo, IL. They transformed depleted cropland into a grazing oasis that meets everyone's needs.

Goats in pasture
Grazing Profile

Tri-Point Ranch and "Graized"

Meet three young farmers from Moweaqua, IL who put their skills and passions together to create an impressive livestock operation.

Producer with cows
Grazing Profile

Wanda Family Farm

Meet Joe and Hannah Wanda from Harvard, IL. Farming so close to Chicago, their grass-fed options are in high demand and their soils are protected and healthy.

Producer family
Feature Story

Livestock Operations-The Ultimate Recycling Story

Larry O’Hern owns a large cattle operation in Central Illinois. He’s a Midwest cattleman to be sure, but he’s also a successful businessman, managing all aspects of the operation—inputs, accounting, profits, infrastructure, clients, neighbor relations, and oh yeah, all those cows.

producer photo

Educational Materials

Grazing educational materials

Back in 2010, NRCS and GLCI launched an effort to promote the art and science of good grazing management through a campaign called “Good Grazing Makes Good $ense!” To learn more about these new educational materials or to speak to someone about using these materials to promote grazing at a local field day, demonstration site or workshop, please contact your local NRCS District Conservationist.

With feed costs always on the rise, Illinois livestock operators might be ready to consider the benefits of a GRAZING MANAGEMENT PLAN. “Good Grazing Makes Good $ense!” is Illinois NRCS’ newest information campaign. These materials detail benefits and options of sustainable and profitable grazing systems and they tell you how to make it work on your ground.




NRCS works alongside many Illinois partners committed to grazing—The Illinois Grazing Lands Coalition (GLC), University of Illinois Extension specialistsIllinois Forage and Grassland Council, and others who value grass and forage production, good grazing management techniques, and planning.

illinois grazing lands coalition logo
illinois forage and grassland council logo


Wallace Center logo


Pasture Project logo

Learning Center

Use these resources to help improve your grazing operation. Whether you are just starting out or if you have an established operation, you are bound to find some useful information.

Fence Building (NRCS Practice Standards)

Grazing "how to" videos

Grazing Fact Sheets (Illinois Grazing Manual)

To download the entire Grazing Manual, we have split it into 4 Parts. For individual fact sheets, scroll down to where you can access the PDF or click the topic below.

  • Part 1 – General, Gazing Management, Establishment/Renovation, Noxious Weeds
  • Part 2 – Species
  • Part 3 – Animal Health, Fertility, Livestock Watering Infrastructure, Livestock Nutrition, Miscellaneous, References/Contacts
  • Part 4 – Livestock Handling Facilities


How Plants Grow (1.39 MB)
Plant Succession (800.99 KB)
Water Cycle (845.29 KB)

Grazing Management

Brush Management (590.23 KB)
Effects on Plants (569.1 KB)
Forage Quality (602.25 KB)
Prescribed Grazing (555.38 KB)


Alfalfa Autotoxicity (1004.42 KB)
Frost Seeding (973.36 KB)
Seed Quality (565.57 KB)
Weed Control (952.99 KB)


Warm-Season Grasses

Bermuda Grass (435.88 KB)
Big Bluestem (373.87 KB)
Caucasian Bluestem (246.98 KB)
Eastern Gamagrass (885.42 KB)
Indian Grass (483.98 KB)
Little Bluestem (685.7 KB)
Side-Oats Gama (646.81 KB)
Switchgrass (886.8 KB)

Cool-Season Grasses

Kentucky Bluegrass (471.11 KB)
Orchard Grass (566.75 KB)
Redtop (1.2 MB)
Smooth Bromegrass (329.22 KB)
Tall Fescue (959.42 KB)
Timothy (385.93 KB)

Cool-Season Perennial Legumes

Alfalfa (481.78 KB)
Alsike Clover (1.19 MB)
Birds-Foot Trefoil (511.13 KB)
Crownvetch (491.94 KB)
Kura Clover (320.73 KB)
Ladino Clover (509.78 KB)

Biennial Legume

Red Clover (669.7 KB)
Sweet Clover (568.73 KB)

Annual Legumes

Annual Lespedeza (498.88 KB)

Annual and Alternative

Chicory (934.42 KB)
Rape for Forage (494.21 KB)

Noxious/Invasive Species

Invasive Species

Johnsongrass (458.51 KB)
Reed Canary Grass (615.61 KB)

Poisonous Plants

Black Locust (503.95 KB)
Bouncing Bet (451.38 KB)
Bracken (617.1 KB)
Buffalo Bur (669.01 KB)
Buttercups-Wooded (702.74 KB)
Common Cocklebur (212.74 KB)
Common Pokeweed (323.1 KB)
Corn Cockle (436.39 KB)
Hemp-Dogbane (227.63 KB)
Hemp-Marijuana (446.69 KB)
Hogwort (338.35 KB)
Horsenettle (350.55 KB)
Jimsonweed (204.41 KB)
Milkweed (314.69 KB)
Oaks (624.31 KB)
Ohio Buckeye (536.38 KB)
Pigweed (887.1 KB)
Poison Hemlock (358.81 KB)
Potato (846 KB)
Rocket Larkspur (1.24 MB)
Sneezeweeds (767.28 KB)
Star of Bethlehem (290.99 KB)
Water Hemlock (552.7 KB)
White Snakeroot (256.27 KB)
White Sweet Clover (745.93 KB)
Wild Cherries (799.65 KB)
Yews (780.67 KB)

Animal Health


Livestock Watering Infrastructure

Livestock Handling Facilities

Livestock Nutrition

Feeding Cows (1.4 MB)


Minerals (942.51 KB)


Pasture/Hayland/Livestock Inventory Worksheet



Matt Bunger

State Grazing Land Specialist