The Independence County Conservation District, Arkansas Grazing Lands Coalition and Natural Resources Conservation Service provided the community with a grazing meeting on May 19, 2017. The meeting was held on the farm of Jonathan Baxter, Independence County Conservation District board member, near Cushman Arkansas at 10:00 a.m. Registration began at 9:30 a.m. Participants gathered informative literature and publications and signed up for drawings. There were 30 in attendance, of these 10 were women. We had twenty-six cattle producers, two sheep producers, and one goat producer.
To start the morning off Eddie Wagoner, Independence County Conservation District Chairman, thanked everyone for coming and recognized the other board members present and the sponsors of the grazing meeting. He then introduced the first speaker of the day. Don Hubbell, Director of U of A Livestock and Forestry Experiment Station, spoke about the three hundred days of grazing program that the U of A Experiment Station actively administers on the University farm. He told how by rotationally grazing the cows, they were able to have less input in the herd. This program cut down on hay that was fed, baled, and stored. The savings in hay equipment, fuel, time, and hauling was substantial over time. He also talked about the different types of grasses that were used and the different benefits that were seen in them. Some grasses were more productive than others.
The next speaker was Jonathan Baxter, Independence County Conservation District board member. He took us into his pastures to show how he had the paddocks set up for his rotational grazing system. Mr. Baxter explained why he rotates his cows every twelve hours. He also talked about how he got started on the rotation he uses. Use of wormer has been eliminated on his farm for years with the rotation that he uses. He also stated that he has seen a gain in the weight of the animals. His calves are heavier than before he was using rotational grazing. Last on the agenda was Jeremy Huff, NRCS State Grazing Lands Specialist. Mr. Huff talked about the different types of post for electric fences. He also talked about the grounding of the electric fence. He demonstrated how to tie electric fence and talked about the different insulators. He also discussed water facilities and how to install them.
At the end of the meeting, Independence County Conservation District held a drawing for five grazing sticks for producers to utilize on their farms.
CHAINSAW SAFETY & IN-WOODS RESCUE
In partnership with the Rural Fire Protection Program, Powered By STIHL®, Independence County Conservation District, University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville, and Batesville Fire Department hosted a chainsaw safety and in-woods rescue workshop. The informative two day workshop benefited volunteer fire departments, county workers, state workers, and anyone wanting to know how to operate a chainsaw or rescue people in the woods for several different counties with a two day total of 63 participants. The instructor was Dana Hinkley, from Berlin, New Hampshire. Dana has instructed numerous safety workshops in Arkansas and across the nation since 2001. Both programs were approved by the Arkansas Fire Academy for 8 hours of Certified Training credit. On the 11th of May the chainsaw safety portion, participants learned about the different protective gear and the proper way to apply it to be most effective. They also learned the proper techniques used to sharpen & maintain a chainsaw. Then the participants observed the techniques that Dana Hinkley recommends when felling a tree. The objective of this workshop was to inform the participants the proper way to use their chainsaw, safety equipment needed, and the best way to fell a tree. On the 12th of May, the In-Woods Rescue portion of the workshop covered communications, legalities, incident command, types of injuries, mechanism of injury, safety, & scene control. Techniques in using a skiff to carry an injured person and practicing how to lift, move, and successfully maneuver the skiff and injured person in the woods. Dana Hinkley also stressed how important keeping everyone in two lines behind the person being carried and two people in front to clear the path was. We wish to say thank you to the Rural Fire Protection Program, STIHL, Dana Hinkley, and UACCB for letting us host this workshop at the fire training center in Independence County. A big thank you to the Batesville Fire Department for allowing a tree to be cut for demonstration. Also, we would like to thank Charles Gangluff with the Rural Fire Protection Program for all of his work in putting together the workshop.