Spartan Green Stories: W.K. Kellogg Biological Station Pasture Dairy Center
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Spartan Green Stories: W.K. Kellogg Biological Station Pasture Dairy Center

To be honest, when I was growing up I had
a fishing pond that I liked to go to, and about, I don’t know, when I was in high school,
that fishing pond finished silting in and the fish died. That’s what initially drove me, like I knew
I loved farming, but I loved the outdoors too. I love the natural setting, and so that started
driving me from the beginning. Obviously there are a lot of things that come
into play since then, things I’ve learned through graduate school and so forth, but
it all kinda stems from that early desire of loving the outdoors and wildlife and doing
those things, but also loving farming. What we do here at KBS is really systems research,
so we look at the big picture. I think our efforts towards being more sustainable
have direct effects on the environment. They have direct effects on utility costs
for the university. So a lot of the practices we do here at KBS
can be incorporated regardless of the method of farming you choose to do. We do things like grazing. Our dairy cows get outside and go out and
harvest their own feed and that saves us a lot of energy and resources that we would
normally have to incorporate into feeding cows. We have irrigation for our pastures which
have lysimeters that we use. 56 different lysimeters throughout our pastures,
and what that does is allows us to irrigate only when we need water, so we really have
a precision irrigation type system. We use managements that we believe is optimal
for conservation purposes across landscapes because we have 1300 acres. We have evidence from research projects here
that shows that these practices can provide a number of different benefits to the environment,
but we’re not sacrificing profit or production, necessarily. It’s really a part of what we need to do here
as a land grant university, this outreach that we’re doing. We generally educating about farming and what
we’re doing here and how those practices contribute to the research project, but to understanding
the system as a whole, both improving bottom line for farmers but improving or lessening
environmental consequences of farming. A lot of things that we do can be applied
to organic farms as well as conventional farms, and they can be economical on organic farms
and conventional farms. We can train and help economically and environmentally. We can help these farms be more sustainable
to whatever degree they want to be. Right? If we get people that are really, really wanna
go and be as sustainable as absolutely possible but if I can get the ones that wanna do just
one step better, that’s what we’re here for.

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