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Extension > Agriculture > Livestock > Dairy > Grazing systems > Knee deep in grass: A survey of twenty-nine grazing operations in Minnesota > Overview of graziers

Overview of graziers

Brian Loeffler, Helene Murray, Dennis G. Johnson, Earl I. Fuller
Reviewed 2008

Grazing experience

MIG experience ranged from one year to over 25 years. Eight graziers reported they had 5 or more years of experience with MIG; two graziers said they had 20 years or more. Many graziers had experience in continuously grazing pastures prior to converting to a MIG system.

Identity as a farmer and commitment to farming

Participants were asked to rate their identity as a farmer and their commitment to farming on a scale from one to ten. Common responses were:

Number Rating (10 = high, 1 = low)
18 10
6 8
3 9
1 7
1 5

Almost all surveyed strongly identified themselves as committed farmers. Most recognized farming as a way of life. Many replied that they would feel uncomfortable changing occupations. A few graziers indicated that changing occupations would not trouble them.

Enterprises besides dairy herd

Nineteen farmers reported having livestock enterprises in addition to the dairy herd. In most cases other livestock was used to supply food for the family or serve as companion animals (horses). Three of the 19 farmers reported having beef herds. Two respondents reported raising and selling chickens. Two graziers reported having small hog operations.

Twelve respondents reported that their spouses were employed off-farm. Six spouses were working full-time and six part-time. Employed spouses reportedly earned 2% to 100% of the income used for family living expenses. Other ventures reported were doing custom farm work and selling nursery stock.

Community activities and leisure time

Farmers indicated that they were generally comfortable with their current level of participation in community activities. Fifteen graziers said that their current participation levels were adequate. Eight indicated that they would like to be more active in community activities. Six believed they were too active. Almost all graziers agreed that the lack of free time most limits their opportunity to become more involved in their community.

When questioned, over half (15) of the graziers wanted more leisure time. Twelve indicated that they were presently satisfied. Two households reported that one spouse was satisfied while the other spouse was not. Essentially all asserted that their leisure time has increased since adopting MIG.

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