Forages and Grazing for Improving Farm Resiliency

Jan 18, 2024 11:00AM—2:00PM


Pizza Ranch 1522 Broadway St. Alexandria, MN 56308

Cost $0.00

Event Contact Derek Schmitz | Email

Categories ,

Topics , , , ,

Join the Minnesota Dairy Initiative (MDI) and Sustainable Farming Association (SFA) on January 18th in Alexandria for a discussion on improving farm resiliency through alternative forages and forage management. Four area dairy farmers will be sharing strategies around forage selection and grazing management that they have seen increase the ability of their farm to weather the recent drought years.

This is a “lunch and learn” opportunity for central Minnesota dairy farmers to get together and hear from other dairy farmers who have implemented some specific strategies for increasing their farm’s resiliency in challenging times. There will be time for attendees to ask questions and share strategies they have implemented. Attendees will also learn how MDI can assist their dairy operation in setting operational goals, making improvements and planning for the future.

While this workshop has been designed for dairy farmers, we encourage farmers and ranchers who would benefit from the principles of grazing and forage management to join us. There will be plenty to learn that will be applicable to your operation.

There is no cost to attend! Advance registration requested, walkups welcome.

Panelists: Nate Walter, Ron Klaphake, Derek Schmitz, Dr. Brad Heins
Panel Moderators:  Leah Bischof and Jay Brown, Minnesota Dairy Initiative Coordinators

Address: Pizza Ranch, 1522 Broadway St. Alexandria, MN 56308
Info: Derek Schmitz,

About our panelists:

Nate Walter: Nate and his wife Angie (SFA’s Ag Water Quality & Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship Coordinator) own and operate Walter Organic Dairy Farm in Villard, MN. They milk about 100 cows and raise their own feed on 350 acres of certified organic land. They rotationally graze their cows and have experimented with some non-typical forages. Come hear what strategies have worked for them as they seek to increase their farms profitability and resiliency.

Derek Schmitz: Derek and his wife Taylor operate Grassrich Dairy in Cold Spring, MN. They are known for their intensive grazing and maximizing their cows’ abilities to harvest as much forage as possible. They are in the process of transitioning their farm to certified organic.

Ron Klaphake: Ron and his family farm near Sauk Centre, MN on their certified organic dairy.  Ron has been experimenting with alternative forages for several years with the goal of improving soil health while producing high-quality feed in a positive ecological and economical way.

Dr. Brad Heins: Brad is a dairy professor and oversees the research at the U of MN West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris, MN. His areas of interest include cattle genetics, organic production, and forages. He will talk about his research around forages and grazing.

Jeff Duchene, NRCS State Grazing Lands Specialist will also talk about NRCS practices for forage and grazing, including some new annual forage practices.

SFA staff and volunteers occasionally take photos during our workshops, cafe chats and field days for promotional purposes and to use as documentation of events to share with our funders.  If you do not wish to be photographed, please let our event host know — we’ll make every effort to make sure you are not photographed.