Cliff Vining and his wife Karen farm cattle in Pioneer, LA. At Cliff's farm you will see the effects of unrolling hay versus hay rack feeding and the distribution of the nutrients. Cliff will show us the beginning transitions from the spring grasses to summer grasses. He will also show us his paddock system he's developed over the years for his particular farm. There will be dead rye grass close to the ground and Bermuda grass underneath that you will see. His wife raises honey bees, and he will talk about the benefits from having the pollinators on the farm.
Ted and Melissa Miller in partnership with Charles and Dorothy Opitz own and operate Delta Dairy LLC in Baskin, LA. Founded in 2009 and located on the Mississippi River delta, the operation consists of approximately 450 milk cows and 600 head of replacements and bulls , rotationally grazed on 1200 acres of pasture. The herd is calved seasonally in September and dried off in late July. This timing allows for maximizing the utilization of cool season forage and favorable conditions for lactating dairy cattle. With access to a high ground water table, irrigation through center pivots is utilized on 540 acres. The pivots also serve as a cooling mechanism for cattle in hot conditions. The goal of the operation is to capture economic advantages such as labor efficiencies and high animal health that are typical of pasture based systems. You will be able to see all this and more on the tour of the Delta Dairy.
Keller and Roberta McKowen left their full time jobs to pursue lifelong hobbies, full time. Keller and Roberta McKowen kept livestock for many years, but after finishing other full-time careers, the couple decided to move out to the country and build up a family farm. Keller who grew up on a cattle farm, runs a cow-calf operation, while Roberta maintains a sheep herd. Their complementary animals, coupled with rotational grazing, and working with the natural seasons help improve: wildlife, plant diversity, and soil health on their farm. Watch this documentary to learn more about incorporating sheep to your cattle operation to naturally manage parasites, weeds and increasing organic matter in your soil.
Keller & Roberta McKowen
Wedge and Sammy Barthe
St. Francisville, LA
Brothers Wedge and Sammy Barthe are the fourth generation of their family to work the land of Richland Hill Plantation (established 1895) in East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. With a total of 474 acres the brothers have developed a system that maximizes the natural resources at their disposal. In addition to managing 170 acres of planted pine and old growth mixed- forest, they graze five herds of 25 to 30 beef cattle over 250 acres of forage by implementing a management intensive grazing program. The tour of Richland Hill Plantation will showcase the methods and forages used by the Barthes in their managed grazing units. Visitors will also become familiar with the fencing applications that make the brothers’ intensive grazing management so successful.
In 1981 four brothers, Mitch, Mark, Matt and Marty Frey began Four Oaks Farm. Today they farm sugarcane, rice, crawfish, cattle, wheat, corn, and soybeans. On the second night of the tour, we will be enjoying a good ole' Louisiana Crawfish Boil at their farm in Morganza, LA, eating crawfish freshly caught from their ponds in the Spillway.
Since 2003, Vernon Fuselier and his son Justin have grown prairie native grasses on their land, which is quite unique. They use a mixed native grass in combination with cattle rotation to promote healthy soil. At their farm you will be able to see the many native prairie grass varieties growing in their fields and they will explain how they use rotational grazing to manage the land.
For ten years, Dave Daigle with Bunchs Creek Longleaf Tract in Ragley, LA, has used prescribed burning and grazing to restore the longleaf pine habitat. On this tour, you will be able to observe the results of longleaf pine restoration — ten years in the making. You will see one of the few remaining second growth long leaf pine tracks in southwest Louisiana where prescribed fire and prescribed/targeted grazing is used to maintain this now rare long leaf pine habitat.