On Friday April 22, 2022, Agricultural Technology students attended a one-day grazing school on Virginia Tech’s campus to complement what they had been learning in the classroom.  Representatives from American Farmland Trust, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Virginia Cooperative Extension, and Virginia Forage and Grassland council graciously gave of their time and talents to extend their knowledge of conservation and rotational grazing with our students. 

In the field 3

Students were engaged in a mix of classroom presentations and field exercises.  Jacob Gilley with American Farmland Trust discussed utilizing mobile applications to improve efficiency and profit in grazing operations.  Jacob also led a pasture walk where he shared with students the importance of soil health and what to look for in accessing pasture and soil health. 

John Benner with Augusta County Virginia Cooperative Extension discussed Graze 300 and drought mitigation strategies.  Alston Horn with Chesapeake Bay Foundation discussed temporary fencing and watering solutions for rotational grazing.  In the field John and Alston led students in exercises in setting up and testing temporary fencing systems. 

In the field 1

Jeannie Dudding from Giles County Virginia Cooperative Extension led students in measuring standing forage using a falling plate meter and taught calculations needed to determine stockpiled forage availability. 

We were also fortunate to be joined by Keith Tuck, AT alumnus, Bedford cattle producer, and current President of the Virginia Forage and Grassland Council.  Keith shared his story of converting from a traditional operation that relied on stored feeds to a rotational grazing operation that has greatly reduced reliance on stored feed and winter feeding.  Lunch was graciously provided by American Farmland Trust.