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Partnership in stewardship

Summit brings together agencies, organizations and producers to learn about native Missouri grasslands

With stewardship defined as one of MFA Incorporated’s core values, it’s fitting that the cooperative has teamed up with the Missouri Department of Conservation, Conservation Federation of Missouri and Missouri Natural Resources Conservation Service to present the 2024 Missouri Native Grasslands Summit April 9-11 at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City, Mo.

The program will take a collective, deeper look into Missouri’s native grassland ecosystems, from remnant prairies to working lands establishment and management, and foster collaboration on ideas and solutions to reverse the current trend in habitat loss. The event is open to anyone who has an interest in enhancing, protecting and restoring Missouri’s prairies and those who would like to expand and manage native grasses for cattle production.

MFA Conservation Grazing Specialist Landry Jones says these topics are highly relevant to producers in Missouri, where native grasses grow well in the state’s soils and climate. Native grasses also prevent soil erosion, require less water than other forages and provide critical habitat for bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects.

“In the summer, when cool-season fescue shuts down, native grasses continue to thrive,” Jones said. “Because of the deep root system, during a period of drought, the native grasses are lush and green, making the cattle very happy.”

The conference will be packed full of presentations, including information on grazing native grasses, preserving remnant prairies and capturing the economic benefits of native warm-season grasses in a production setting. Experts will also share the status of Missouri’s grassland fauna, such as birds, frogs and pollinators, and how land management affects their population. Sessions on prescribed burning are on the agenda as well as a panel presentation by producers who will discuss their experiences in adopting native forages and keys to incorporating them successfully into cattle operations. Attendees will also learn more about weed control, grazing regimes and species diversification among many other topics.

Input will be gathered from the audience on how best to increase the adoption of native grasses for grazing and other uses and preserve Missouri’s remaining prairies. Recommendations from the Summit will be shared with the leadership of partner organizations that have an interest in these native grasslands.

To learn more and register for the Summit, visit www.confedmo.org/grasslands or contact Micaela Haymaker, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Bill White, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or Frank Loncarich, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Read more of the Feb. 2024 Today's Farmer Magazine Issue HERE.

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