Benefits to Land and Environment

Studies in Minnesota found that during one rainstorm, an acre of unplowed pasture lost 53 pounds of soil, while an acre of cornfield lost10 tons of soil in the same storm. Less erosion means lower levels of sediment and fecal material in waterways, and nitrate-nitrogen runoff as much as 30 to 50 times lower from land planted to perennial grasses than from corn-soybean row crops. . A study in New York showed that wide-scale use of pasture for dairy there could result in 27-33 % less soil erosion, and 23-26% less fuel use in crop production. Studies also show that compared to plowed cropland, pasture can bind up many more tons of carbon dioxide in the organic matter of soils.(4) This is an important factor in the reduction of greenhouse gases, meaning that increased amounts of land in pasture may even help to slow global warming.

When the acreage required to produce corn for feed is taken into account, along with grazing on land that is not suitable for cultivation, pasture turns out to be a more efficient use of land than many other types of production. Although there are some areas where grazing is not appropriate, overgrazing is almost always a result of bad pasture management, not grazing itself.

In the introduction to his book, All Flesh is Grass, long-time farm writer Gene Logsdon claims "We do not have to plant so much land to annual grain crops to eat well....We can have all the meat, milk, eggs, animal fabrics, and horsepower needed to feed the world [with modern grazing methods]."

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