Integrating animals into the small farm offers many opportunities for enhancing food production, ecosystem stability and socio-economic resilience. Livestock and poultry are considered extremely important components of sustainable smallholder farming systems, providing a range of valuable resources to farmers throughout the tropics in the form of food, income, manure and other services.
Since 2014, the ECHO Farm in North Ft. Myers, Florida has been upgrading and expanding its pastures using the managed, rotational, intensive grazing model. With paddocks sub-divided by electric fencing, cows and goats are moved regularly and systematically from intensively grazed plots to fresh, recovered sections of pasture. This regular rotation prevents overgrazing and enables a healthy rapid recovery of each grazed cell.
This rotational grazing model was recently taught at ECHO by Andre Houssney, a farmer and international development worker. Additionally, Tre’ Cates, a 2015 conference plenary speaker representing the Savory Institute (co-founded by Allan Savory), shared about Holistic Land Management. This sustainable grazing system is being widely applied toward the restoration of the world’s grasslands.
Making use of our new grazing facility and other farm resources, during September 20-13, 2016, ECHO will be hosting the Introduction to Small-Scale Livestock Production in the Tropics workshop. Besides sharing the basics of managed, rotational, intensive grazing, other topics will include deep-litter pig systems, production of silage and other feeds, forage plant identification, animal health and harvesting.
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