All grazing photographs on this page were provided courtesy of Elisabeth Spratt.
Overview | Who Should Apply? | Why the Embarras? | Application Information |
Course Structure | About the Presenters | Schedule
As consumers have become more concerned with the environmental impact of their food choices, many are looking to source their meat locally from producers whose practices support our environment. Fortunately, producers want to meet increased local demand using good grazing practices. What’s missing? Agricultural technical assistance providers who are knowledgeable about grazing and livestock management. These professionals are needed to support producers and landowners making decisions about managing livestock grazing on their land. To address this gap in available technical assistance, the Pasture Project, University of Illinois Extension, The Land Connection, and the Champaign County Soil & Water Conservation District have developed an online educational series to provide you with a broad understanding of the ins and outs of regenerative grazing and how you can help producers integrate regenerative grazing into their operations. This support will help meet consumer demand for local meat while improving environmental outcomes in our state.
Regenerative Grazing: The Basics and Beyond
• Apply by October 1, 2020
• Decisions announced October 15, 2020
• Program runs December 2020-January 2021
• Optional farmer sessions run February-March 2021
(more information coming soon!)
• Field Day spring 2021 (location and date TBA)
Cost: $0 (approximately 10 hour time commitment)
This program will utilize a cohort model in order to deliver the highest level of interaction, knowledge-sharing, and ongoing support to participants. For this reason, capacity is limited to 15 participants and all interested participants must apply to join this cohort.
Applications are open to all Illinois-based agricultural educators and technical service providers intending to support producers integrating regenerative grazing into their operations. Please consider applying if you are,
- University Extension agent
- Government agency natural resources and/or agricultural staff
- Nonprofit agricultural educator and/or technical service provider
- Consultant or private business employee serving agricultural producers
While all are encouraged to apply, priority will be given to early-career agricultural support professionals and those providing services within the Embarras watershed.
The Embarras River is located in eastern Illinois, originating in the City of Champaign and flowing south through primarily rural land for nearly 190 miles until it meets the Wabash River in Lawrence County. The Embarras River Watershed covers more than 1.5 million acres, with just over 80% of the watershed being in agriculture or forest.
In 2018, the Pasture Project at The Wallace Center conducted a comprehensive analysis of Illinois and Indiana watersheds which identified the Embarras River Watershed as a priority area for increasing regenerative grazing in Illinois (learn about their assessment here).
The watershed has further been identified as a priority area in the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy for reducing phosphorus loads (learn more about the implementation strategy here). Regenerative grazing can help reduce phosphorus loads by reducing input needs.
Space is limited! This program is designed to create a cohort of motivated individuals exploring regenerative grazing together. To encourage rich discussion and provide space for participants to create deep, lasting connections in their professional networks, capacity is limited to 15 participants.
The application requires basic information about yourself, a self-assessment of your knowledge of natural resources and agricultural practices, and the short answer questions below (each response has a 1200 character limit). We strongly encourage applicants to review the questions prior to beginning their online application.
- Briefly describe the type of services you regularly provide to farmers and landowners and the geographic area in which you work. (Consulting/advising; training/education; technical assistance; etc.)
- Briefly describe your understanding of regenerative agriculture, including livestock grazing. (Please note that prior knowledge of regenerative agriculture and livestock grazing are not required.)
- Briefly describe your professional and/or personal interest in increasing implementation of regenerative agriculture and grazing practices in Illinois.
- Briefly describe why you would like to participate in this course including how you intend to utilize the knowledge, resources, and professional connections to further your ability to support your professional or personal commitments.
- What issues or questions do you hope this course addresses?
Your application will be reviewed by a panel of staff representing each of the collaborating organizations contributing to this program. The application review committee is:
- Cassidy Dellorto-Blackwell, Farmer Training Program Manager, The Land Connection
- Erin Gundy, Resource Conservationist, Champaign County Soil & Water Conservation District
- Pete Huff, Pasture Project
- Mallory Krieger, Pasture Project
- Jennifer Jones, Watershed Outreach Associate, UIUC Extension, College of ACES
- Kelsey Vergin, Pasture Project
- Renee Weitekamp, Administrative Coordinator, Champaign County Soil & Water Conservation District
Please direct your application questions to Jennifer Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This course series will be offered entirely online, primarily using the Zoom videoconferencing platform. Participants are expected to attend all six online sessions (see schedule below). Additional readings and tasks will be assigned for participants to complete between sessions.
- 3 x 90 minute presentation and discussion sessions (classroom-style sessions)
- 3 x 60 minute Ask Me Anything! sessions (open form Q&A sessions)
Participants are further encouraged to attend an additional three online sessions designed for farmers (more information coming soon) to learn about producer questions and concerns firsthand. Participants are also invited to attend an in-person field day in Spring 2021. While all online sessions are offered free of charge, the field day will cost $15 to attend.
- 2 x 90 minute presentation and discussion sessions (classroom-style sessions)
- 1 x 60 minute Ask Me Anything! sessions (open form Q&A sessions)
If you have concerns about the stability of your internet connection, please reach out to Cassidy (email@example.com) to see how we may be able to support you.
All sessions will be led by Kent Solberg who will be joined by Illinois graziers to provide context for each session.
Kent Solberg, Livestock and Grazing Specialist, Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota
Kent and his wife Linda own and operate an award-winning dairy farm in northwestern Minnesota. Kent has a B.S. degree from the University of Montana and an M.S. from South Dakota State. He has been involved in planned grazing, fencing and pasture based livestock systems for over 25 years. For the past 13 years he has worked with cover crops and seeded annuals to integrate livestock into cropping systems and build soil health. He has worked with hundreds of farms over the years and served as a college instructor teaching regenerative agricultural principles and practices. Kent currently serves as the Senior Technical Advisor for the Sustainable Farming Association, a consultant with Understanding Ag, and Master Grazier with Dairy Grazing Apprenticeships.
To be announced…stay tuned!
|Thursday, December 7, 2020|
90 minutes - online
|The WHY: What is Regenerative Grazing?|
>Practice: what is it and how does it differ from continuous grazing
>Exploring multiple benefits: environment, soil health, profitability, and producer goals
|Thursday, December 10, 2020|
60 minutes - online
|Ask Me Anything! The WHY.|
|Tuesday, December 13, 2020|
90 minutes - online
|The HOW: The Nuts and Bolts of Regenerative Grazing on the Farm|
>The tools: paddocks, fencing, and water
>Forage basics: diversity and nutrition
>Grazing cover crops
|Thursday, December 17, 2020|
60 minutes - online
|Ask Me Anything! The HOW.|
|Thursday, January 7, 2021|
90 minutes - online
|Putting It Into Practice: Building a Regenerative Grazing Program for Farmers|
>Addressing common questions from producers
>How to respond to, “it won’t work here, because…”
>Tips for supporting producers
|Thursday, January 14, 2021|
90 minutes - online
|Ask Me Anything! Putting It Into Practice.|
This program is a collaboration of The Land Connection, the Pasture Project, University of Illinois Extension, and the Champaign County Soil & Water Conservation District. It is made possible through the generous support of the Lumpkin Family Foundation.