Partner Profile: North Carolina Forage and Grassland Council
Forages and grasslands are an integral part of agriculture in North Carolina. Hay, grasses and other cover crops provide nutritious feed for livestock, help maintain healthy soils and play a vital role in water conservation. The North Carolina Forage and Grassland Council (NCFGC) joins grassland managers, livestock owners, agribusiness, public servants and interested citizens to support the effective use of North Carolina’s grassland resources. The member-led, all-volunteer non-profit encourages producers to be efficient and profitable in using forage crops for feed. They also connect their farmers, facilitating education and sharing of best practices to improve forage management. One of their main objectives is to support forage research and build coalitions to serve and advocate for the forage-livestock industry. To that end, they became early supporters of the North Carolina Plant Science Initiative (N.C. PSI).
“N.C. PSI’s interdisciplinary approach really lends itself to helping farms in the future,” said Chad Woods, past president of NCFGC. “We have the same mindset of collaborating to improve soil health and use every inch of farmland as effectively as possible.”
NCFGC works closely with the North Carolina Cattlemen’s Association. They enjoy a symbiotic relationship and collaborate to educate land managers about cost-effective, sustainable practices for grazing cattle and to improve forage management on all types of farms. For example, crop farmers work with livestock farmers to use the land year-round. Cover crops and forages help capture the byproducts of livestock like swine and poultry, and the forages that grow can in turn be used as feed for cattle.
“Agriculture in North Carolina is diverse on the farm. Livestock, forages, crops, management practices make farms sustainable economically and environmentally,” said Bryan Blinson, executive director of the North Carolina Cattlemen’s Association. “That’s the part of N.C. PSI that excites me. It gives an opportunity for leaders, researchers and educators to work together to be successful.”
“Local research on forages or any North Carolina crop puts a lot of money in the economy. Anytime we can partner with NC State to make our farmers more efficient—whether it’s using less fertilizer or optimizing management practices—we want to do it,” agreed Woods. “It’s important that we make our farmers productive, profitable and sustainable for future generations. We want to do something to help them now and in the future.”
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Senior Director of Development, Plant Sciences Initiative