managed intensive grazing; rotational grazing; outreach communication; innovation diffusion; agriculture extension; pasture walks


The author, an agricultural educator who worked with the Amish in Wisconsin for over 30 years, discusses his outreach efforts, which have been focused on managed grazing, a method well suited to Amish producers. Managed grazing offers agronomic, economic, and ecological benefits. A key educational tool for communicating managed grazing practices is the pasture walk, and the author relates lessons learned from these events. The communal nature and focus on farmer-to-farmer information exchange is well received by Amish producers. It is helpful if pasture walk scheduling is done well in advance and is focused on farmer-based problems with farmer-based solutions rather than an emphasis on the wisdom of university experts. Given their collective experiences, a group of Amish farmers together are able to navigate complex grazing-related questions effectively at this event. While certain Amish producers may have technological restrictions that may make managed grazing more difficult, as with restrictions on electric fencing, creative solutions may exist. [Abstract by editors.]