Farm pasteur
(Stock photo)

Jim Munsch raises beef cattle in western Wisconsin. And his herd has something in common with the wild bison that once roamed the area – they never graze in the same place for long.

Munsch moves his cattle through a series of pastures. They eat the grass in one area for a few days and then move on so it has time to recover.

Called rotational grazing, the practice can build soil carbon over time. As the animals graze, manure and plant material get worked into the ground. Munsch says over the 40 years he’s had cattle on his land, “just by rotationally grazing, we’ve built organic matter twofold.”

That’s good for the climate and the farm. Soil rich in organic matter holds more moisture, so Munsch’s pastures are more resilient to droughts.

“Three years ago, when we had this six-week dry period, I never took cattle off pasture,” he says.

And during heavy storms, healthy soil absorbs rain instead of washing away.

“We’ve had a number of 100-year rains in the last decade,” he says. “On our farm, when you went out and walked on the pastures, it was like walking on a wet sponge.”

So he says rotational grazing is a way for farmers to reduce carbon pollution and adapt to climate change.

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Reporting credit: Stephanie Manuzak/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Topics: Food & Agriculture