Green Lands Blue Waters conference will focus on ecological farming with livestock – Nov. 28-29

“Continuous living cover: Bridging the gaps with livestock” is the theme of the 2017 Green Lands Blue Waters conference, which will be held in Wisconsin for the first time this year. Hosted by the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS), this conference will take place November 28 and 29 at the Pyle Center on the UW-Madison campus.

“This theme is a good fit for Wisconsin. We have a strong livestock and pasture-based farming sector, and livestock provide a way for farmers to turn perennial vegetation into a marketable product and at the same time, help protect our lakes and streams,” says Randy Jackson, UW-Madison agronomy professor and CIAS faculty associate.

The mission of Green Lands Blue Waters (GLBW), a consortium of partners in the Mississippi River watershed, is to support the development of and transition to agricultural systems that keep soil covered year round. The GLBW conference will bring together landowners, extension agents, researchers and others to share best practices for protecting the environment and farm profitability. These practices include winter cover crops, deep-rooted perennial grains, biomass, pastures, agroforestry and other types of year-round living vegetation to protect soil health and water quality.

The conference will explore how livestock can support and sustain farming systems by converting perennial grasses and cover crops into high quality food, closing nutrient cycles and stimulating soil biology. Workshops and presentations will highlight innovative, science-based approaches to soil and water conservation.

Keynote speaker Nicolette Hahn Niman, author of Defending Beef: The Case for Sustainable Beef Production, will give a public presentation on ecologically based farming with livestock. Other speakers include Steve Apfelbaum, Applied Ecological Services; Laura Jackson, University of Northern Iowa; Randy Jackson and Chris Kucharik, UW-Madison; and Jacob Marty, Green Fire Farm.

“Continuous living cover means a greener future with bluer waters. It’s a great opportunity for Wisconsin growers and researchers to have this annual conference in our state for the first time,” says CIAS Director Mike Bell.

The cost for the entire conference is $185. The cost for first day only (Nov. 28) is $130. The cost for the second day only (Nov. 29) is $70. A limited number of reduced-rate registrations are available to students and farmers at $45 per day. Registration is online and currently open. For more information about the conference, contact Diane Mayerfeld at or Pam Porter at

This article was originally published on the CALS News website.