Winter Forage Conference to Highlight Positive Impacts of Beef on the Environment and Human Health

RICHMOND, Va. –When it comes to grazing systems, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has been climate-smart from the start with a full range of practices and programs to help convert agriculture from greenhouse gas (GHG) source to carbon sink.

Now, we’re partnering with the Virginia Forage and Grassland Council and Virginia Cooperative Extension to offer four Winter Forage Conferences in 2022 that will explore The Green Side of Beef: Defending Grassland Agriculture. The same core program will be offered from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in four locations across the state to enable producers and stakeholders to engage in a conversation on opportunities for the livestock industry to be part of the solution to our global environmental problems.

  • Jan. 18 – Wytheville Meeting Center, Wytheville
  • Jan. 19 – Olde Dominion Ag Complex, Chatham
  • Jan. 20 – The Carver Center, Rapidan
  • Jan. 21 – Blue Ridge Community College, Plecker Center, Weyers Cave

Keynote speaker Nicolette Hahn Niman was once an environmental attorney who fought against the livestock industry. Today, the former vegetarian turned rancher writes and travels widely, making the case that beef can be sustainably produced and that our grazing lands can play an important role in preserving water quality, enhancing biodiversity and supporting wildlife.

Dr. Alan Franzluebbers, a USDA Professor of Soil Ecology with North Carolina State University, will share some surprising new research with implications for managing nutrients on pasture as well as discuss the role of healthy grasslands in sequestering carbon. Local livestock producers will also weigh in with their own real-world experiences raising livestock on grass in a practical and sustainable way.

Visit the VFGC website at vaforages.org to view the conference agenda, register online or get a mail-in registration form. The early bird registration rate of $35 is available if received by Jan. 4, 2022. After that date, the fee will increase to $50. For more information, contact Margaret Kenny at vfgcforages@gmail.com.