The second technical session was devoted to the Pastureland Conservation Effects Assessment Program (CEAP). Dr. Howard Skinner and Dr. Sarah Goslee of Agriculture Research Service, Univer-sity Park, PA gave the presentations.
Pastureland CEAP is devoted to finding out what we do know and what we do not know, and then, fill those research gaps with new knowledge. Farms are a part of the landscape and watersheds. Grazing Land CEAP is attempting to understand the broader consequences of on-farm decisions and provide information to farmers so that they make decisions that are not only advantageous to themselves and their families but to the landscape and watersheds they reside in.
A recent literature review has been done and is nearing publication on Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) pastureland conservation practices - Prescribed Grazing; Pasture, Hay, and Biomass Planting; Nutrient Management; and Forage Harvest Management. Dr. Jerry Nelson, University of Missouri, has led a team of investigators doing the literature review. This review delves into the adequacy of the science supporting each practice’s design criteria and the purposes it is used for to protect the environment from degradation while meeting pasture productivity needs and the nutritional needs of the livestock grazing it.
CEAP also is inventorying the Nation’s pastures. In 2011, 20 states across the US were doing pasture inventories. In the Northeast, the states participating were Vermont, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. For the first time, plant species composition of pastures is being collected on a nation-wide basis. CEAP will also do on-farm research and use those results in simulation models to scale up to regional effects. CEAP will also look into climate change and how that will effect pasture productivity and shifts in plant species abundance and composition.