Why Ruminant Animals Should be Pasture-Fed

Permaculture magazine
Tuesday, 7th February 2017

A one-day conference exploring the multiple benefits of pasture farming. Includes healthy soil, carbon sequestration and good quality meat.

Feeding ruminant animals on species-rich grassland produces good quality food, protects the soil, is good for animal welfare and stores carbon in the soil, helping to alleviate climate change.

In addition, pasture farming keeps more money in the local economy and is unarguably much better for biodiversity than intensive agriculture.

Come along to Pasture Power: Exmoor’s golden future: A one day conference to demonstrate the benefits of pasture fed food production.

Our speakers are practising farmers, land managers and conservationists – and all enjoy good food! Their presentations and discussions will demonstrate how we can manage the landscape in a sustainable way to the benefit of all.

The conference will be held at:
The Beach Hotel, Minehead
Friday 17 March 2017 9.30 for 10 – 4 pm
Admission by ticket only: £25, students £12.50, includes lunch and refreshments. Meter parking nearby.

To reserve places email: [email protected] 

For information about conference content contact: Graham Boswell of Forum 21, email: [email protected] or go to our website: www.west-somerset-forum21.org.uk


The speakers:

Graham Harvey – The benefits of pasture farming

Graham is a well-known author and agricultural journalist. He is agricultural adviser to The Archers.

Rebecca Hosking – Increasing biodiversity and productivity by mob grazing

Rebecca runs Village Farm and has hugely increased biodiversity in the past few years while also increasing productivity.

Rob Havard – Regenerative agriculture

Rob is a well-known regenerative agriculturalist and runs a consultancy advising other farmers. Rob also practises mob grazing at the National Trust’s Combe Park.

Nigel Hester – Preventing flooding and improving water quality

Nigel is from the National Trust and will talk us through how to manage the whole of a river catchment to prevent flooding and improve water quality, while at the same time maintaining agriculture and forestry on the land.

Bea Davis – Maintaining vegetation and water quality

Bea runs the Exmoor National Park’s Head of the Exe Project and will demonstrate how they are tackling the dual challenge of maintaining vegetation and water quality.

Philip Lymbery – The advantages of grazing for animals

Philip from Compassion in World Farming and author of Farmageddon will argue that grazing is better for animal welfare than intensive factory farms.

Robin Milton – The benefits of grazing for ecosystem services

Robin, chair of NFU’s Hill Farming Forum, will discuss the social benefits of grazing on Exmoor and how pasture and grazing provide a wide range of ecosystem services.

Julian Hosking – The value of diversity

Julian, from Alive In Milverton, formerly of Natural England, will discuss the value of diversity in sustainable farming systems.

Liz Bowles – Soil: our most important natural resource

Liz is the Soil Association’s Farming Manager. She will explain why maintaining soil quality is so important.

The conference will be chaired by Graham Boswell, an ecologist and a director of Forum 21.

Maintaining a continuous vegetative cover over the landscape is crucial to protecting our soil and preventing it from being washed on to our roads and carried away in river and streams. Water authorities spend millions of pounds each year extracting particles from the water we use.

Ruminant animals are very efficient at converting a wide variety of vegetation into protein yet a large proportion of the meat we consume is from animals housed in sheds for part of the year and fed a grain-rich diet.This is a huge waste. Grazing animals on species-rich pasture and feeding them forage-rich diets ensures they get a balanced diet and that the meat is rich in nutrients. The added benefit of this system is that it has a positive effect on biodiversity allowing many species to flourish.


Useful links

The 'wild' farm: regenerative agriculture at Village Farm

Building Soil with Regenerative Agriculture

Can We Produce Good Yields and have Healthy Wildlife

The Resilient Farm & Homestead