The availability of grants for grazing assistance and education has been announced by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).

"The education and technical assistance provided by these grants will strengthen Wisconsin's grazing industry by helping farmers to be more profitable," says Mike Powers, administrator of the department’s Agricultural Development Division.

Grazing grants are provided through the Wisconsin Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative, which aims to expand the use of profitable, grazing-based livestock production systems that foster environmental stewardship. Eligible applicants include county, state and federal agriculture and natural resources agencies, colleges and universities, non-profit organizations, grazing networks and farmers.

Education grants support the activities of networks, organizations and agencies to educate farmers and consumers about the economic, environmental and social benefits of grazing. Technical assistance grants provide funds for grazing specialists to work one-on-one with farmers to develop their grazing systems.

Laura Paine , DATCP organic and grazing specialist, says previous recipients of education-project grants directly served an estimated 42,430 farmers by hosting 181 pasture walks and holding 174 meetings, conferences or workshops.

"Our technical service providers wrote and revised 427 grazing plans for individual farmers, managing 25,270 acres of high-quality acreage." Paine says. "I encourage applicants to review the grazing-grant materials to create strong proposals that will build on these successes."

Applications must be postmarked by April 23. Projects will be selected through a competitive process dependent on final state and federal funding levels.

For more information or to get an application, call 608-224-5120.