Silvopasture Offers A Sustainable Approach For Growing Forests And Livestock

Landowners Can Benefit From Using Land For Multiple Purposes
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Silvopasture is the practice of planting feed and grazing animals like cows, sheep or poultry in managed forest lands. It's a type of agroforestry that helps landowners provide livestock sheltered space, preserve soil quality and generate income from surplus forage and harvested trees.

Agricultural land in Wisconsin is taxed at a lower rate than residential or commercial zones. Landowners who maintain forests and graze livestock can pay less in property taxes, further incentivizing silvopasture. While silvopasture is increasingly common in southeastern and northwestern parts of the United States, and 30 percent of farm woodlots in Iowa are devoted to the practice, there's still room for it to spread in Wisconsin, where the comparative rate is 19 percent.

On the March 8, 2017 edition of Wisconsin Public Radio's Central Time, host Veronica Rueckert interviewed Diane Mayerfeld, a University of Wisconsin-Extension specialist in sustainable agriculture, about the potential rewards and challenges of engaging in silvopasture, and the barriers and possible pitfalls to getting started.

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