Winter Feeding and Other Cattle Best Management Practices

Grants and Contracts Details


Research conducted nation-wide has identified many possible reasons for the lack of adoption of conservation practices, including but not limited to economics, lack of information, and individual producer attitude (NRCS, 2003). There is an abundance of literature documenting the recent surge in BMP research and development; however, many producers still view water quality and nutrient management BMPs as extraneous and as barriers to farm profits. The Kentucky livestock industry needs a holistic approach involving education, demonstration, and producer involvement to make the connection between the benefits of best management practices (BMPs) required by the Kentucky Agriculture Water Quality Act and the practices needed to competitively produce livestock. If producers are convinced that tangible benefits are achievable and affordable, they are more likely to make the commitment needed to adapt their management and fully implement BMPs. This project seeks to develop and demonstrate an integrated and comprehensive suite of BMPs for beef cattle and other ruminant producers through the use of on-farm demonstration sites, field days, extension publications, and a multi-region educational campaign, all of which will be used by agricultural professionals to guide producers in the adoption of economically-feasible BMPs designed for livestock productivity and environmental stewardship. A variety of BMPs will be implemented as a part of this project. For cattle producers, new winter feeding structures will be demonstrated in addition to heavy traffic pads, water harvesting, and filter strips to control feedlot runoff. Other BMPs will also be implemented and demonstrated, including shade structures, enhanced riparian areas, stream crossings, dry lots, nutrient management plans, rotational and flash grazing techniques, windbreaks, stormwater BMPs, alternative water sources, and water control structures. DOW, NRCS, Conservation Districts, Soil and Water Commissioners, and staff will be invited on a yearly basis to attend a “show-and-tell” session to discuss the planned and/or implemented BMPs. This project will take place on at least four Kentucky locations. These sites include: the Loretto Motherhouse Farm, the Morehead State University Farm, the Morgan County Extension Farm, Eden Shale Farm, and possibly county high school farms. The project will have both regional and statewide appeal through inclusion in producer education programs that include the Master Cattleman, Master Stocker, Master Grazer programs, and many more events. UK animal science and sustainable agriculture courses, as well as local high school agriculture and environmental science classes, will visit BMP demonstration sites as part of their curriculum. All BMPs will be maintained after the project funding end date and will be continually used for education and outreach opportunities. It is anticipated that implemented BMPs will be used for hosted tours and field days that may include K-12 students, college studies, special interest groups, advisory groups, state agency personnel and committees (e.g. DOC, DOW, Soil and Water Commissioners, Ag Water Quality Authority, Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy (GOAP), etc.), as well as farmer and livestock producer field days. This project has a large education and outreach component, which will employ a wide variety of methods and materials. In addition to the workshops described above, the project will work with the education and outreach sub-committee of the KY Agriculture Water Quality Authority to implement and promote a multiregion educational campaign for producers and agricultural industry professionals that addresses Kentucky Agricultural Water Quality Act compliance and nutrient management planning. Project staff (including theExtension, and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) staff from around the state. These trainings will address BMPs recommended by the KAWQA and the recently updated Agriculture Water Quality Planning Web Tool. Advertisements promoting responsible practices and environmental compliance will be placed in industry magazines, newspapers, blogs, and on websites throughout central and western Kentucky. Displays that demonstrate project BMPs will be made and circulated in Conservation District and Cooperative Extension offices throughout the state. University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension publications that detail some of the implemented BMPs will also be developed as part of the project. The educational materials developed as part of this annually renewable project will last for many years to come. This demonstration project will be initiated in cooperation with an interdisciplinary team of professionals. Project cooperators will be included on a regional basis to assure state-wide knowledge dissemination. One of the major objectives of the project is to provide agriculture and natural resource management specialists with the necessary tools to persuade livestock producers to adopt conservation and pasture management practices that improve the livestock industry and simultaneously promote environmental sustainability. Project cooperators include but are not limited to the Kentucky Agriculture Water Quality Authority, UK Cooperative Extension Service, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Kentucky Division of Water, the Master Cattleman, Master Stocker, and Master Grazer programs, KY Division of Conservation, KY Division of Forestry, Morehead State University, the Lorreto Motherhouse, the Morgan County Extension office staff, livestock producers, watershed groups, and local media agencies. The number of participants in field days and other events and the attitude changes of these participants as a result of educational efforts will serve as measures of success, as will any water quality improvements achieved as a result of BMP implementation. Data will be collected in the form of cooperator and producer surveys and will be synthesized to assess achievement of project goals, isolate future outreach priorities, and evaluate adoption rate and behavior changes as a result of project outreach efforts. A targeted minimum of 2 BMP installations per project location will be set as a baseline for evaluative criteria.
Effective start/end date9/15/169/30/18


  • KY Department of Environmental Protection: $221,363.00


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