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Pounding Rocks in the Noonday Heat

     After a couple of days of filling out new employee paperwork at the Ithaca Field Office of the USDA-NRCS in Ithaca, New York, it’s out to the field to inspect a rotational grazing plan being implemented by a Tompkins County farmer.  The 113 acre former dairy farm boards dairy heifers and young stock from surrounding dairy farms.  Rotational grazing goes by many different names such as grass-based farming, management intensive grazing or prescribed grazing.  The names are different but the concept is the same.  Larger pasture land is divided up into smaller, more manageable paddocks.  This is often accomplished by the use of temporary fencing.  Each paddock is grazed by the animals for a determined time, and then allowed to rest and recover as the animals are moved into another paddock.  Trained grazing specialists work with farms to develop plans, recommend seedings, along with fencing and water systems. 
     We went out as part of the (CBWI) Chesapeake Bay Water Initiative to inspect the system that the farmer was installing and confirm that it meets all the NRCS standards required for shared funding for the project.  The CBWI’s main focus is the conservation and protection of the surrounding land and water that feed the Susquehanna River and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.   The farmer had many environmental concerns and was experiencing difficulties installing outer perimeter fence post due to subsurface rock.  The Upper Susquehanna Coalition recently acquired a fence post driver equipped with an auger.  While on site inspecting the project, we were able to assist in installing some the more difficult fence posts on the project. 



It was a great learning experience and a chance for collaboration with adjoining county agencies.

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