Benefits to the Farmer

Farmers who convert to pasture are able to milk more cows without having to increase their land or labor base, making the methods suitable for both new farmers and those looking to convert or expand, according to one study cited by the Land Stewardship Project of Minnesota. Pasture expert Bill Murphy observes that "When they come to pasture farming it is such a relief for farmers, they get rid of all their machinery and problems: crop failure, pesticide failure, huge debt."

Farm writer Gene Logsdon refers to farming centered around commodity grains as "heavy metal" farming. He points out that many of the labor- and debt-intensive aspects of dairy farming are avoided by pasturing: no harvesting, storing, processing, feeding, and hauling away manure, not to mention worries about crop or insecticide failure.

For Organic Valley farmers Altfrid and Sue Krusenbaum, who farm in southeast Wisconsin, the biggest change in moving to pasture-based farming has been in labor. They don't work any less now, but they had 40 cows before, and now have100. They see part of their mission as helping to train young people in farming, so they support two interns each year who are an integral part of their operation.

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