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Forage Establishment in Loblolly Pine Plantations in Arkansas

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Researchers at the University of Arkansas and USDA ARS Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center (DBSFRC) are investigating forage establishment and persistence in loblolly pine plantations in Arkansas. There has been an increased interest in silvopastoral systems in Arkansas due to incentives related of diversified production as well as creating wildlife habitat and additional hunting and grazing land. Many small beef producers have attempted to establish silvopastures, but have failed to maintain forage for grazing, discouraging further pursuit (Huff, J., personal communication).

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The Role of Agroforestry in Enhancing Food Production and Environmental Quality

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Agroforestry practices have the potential of enhancing food production and environmental quality particularly in the era of climate change. According to USDA Forest Service statistics (Oswalt, et al., 2017), approximately 61% of Mississippi land is forested, hence the state offers a unique opportunity to study how agroforestry systems can improve food production and environmental quality. Notably, South west Mississippi is home to many small-scale limited resources farming communities and this experiment will provide new insights about the potential food production and environmental quality benefits of horticultural based agroforestry. For producers with limited resources, diversification of agricultural practices is key to improving sustainability of farm resources. Indeed, diversification has been acknowledged for its role in enhancing sustainable growth compared to monocrop production system in the rural sector (Barghouti, et al., 2004)

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Savanna Institute Establishes Wisconsin’s First Public Agroforestry Demonstration Site

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Wisconsin’s first public agroforestry demonstration site was established in the summer of 2019 at Silverwood County Park in south-central Wisconsin (Figure 1). The 18-acre demonstration site features alley cropping, a variety of fruit and nut trees and shrubs, and a Tasting Orchard. This agroforestry demonstration farm will serve as a hands-on educational center for the park’s existing K-12 education program, adult workshops and classes, and for all park visitors through interpretive signs positioned around the site, as well as a training site for beginning agroforestry farmers.

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Access to Shade Trees Decreases Cattle Congregation Around Water Troughs

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Shade for livestock has been cited as one of the top reasons for establishing silvopastures (Orefice et al. 2017). One of the many benefits of shade for cattle production is that access to shade has been shown to limit the amount of time cattle spend congregated around their water troughs (Schütz et al. 2010). Minimizing the time cattle spend congregated around water troughs can reduce soil compaction around the water trough, decrease damage to watering equipment, and mitigate wasting water. While this concept has been demonstrated using artificial shade structures, there is currently limited information about the benefits of natural tree shade for limiting cattle congregation behavior around water resources. As cattle typically prefer natural tree shade to artificial shade structures (Zuo and Miller-Goodman 2004), silvopastures may combine the benefits of shade with various additional ecological benefits such as enhancing wildlife habitat, soil conservation, and water quality.

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