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DODGEVILLE, WI

A search for farmers to serve as mentors to beginning livestock farmers has been launched in Southwest Wisconsin.

Robert Bauer, grazing broker for Southwest Badger RC&D said that mentorships will ensure a future for grassland agriculture.

The effort is part of a program called the Mentorship Program for Future Livestock Farmers. The program builds on existing mentorship programs in the region by training mentors, paying mentors, and connecting participants with grassland acres to rent for well-managed grazing through the Grazing Broker.

'We are looking for mentors with experience with managed grazing and livestock production' Bauer said. 'We will help mentors and beginners to assess what they can offer and what they hope to learn from a mentorship. We also encourage experienced farmers to apply as beginners to access support and learn new skills such as grass-finishing, grass-dairying, or organic livestock production.'

The deadline to apply for mentors and beginners is Feb. 1, 2016. Application forms are available online at www.swbadger.org/beginning-farmers or by request at 608-732-1202.

The kickoff is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 29, 2016, at Quality Inn, 1345 Business Park Rd., Mineral Point, WI, where the Grazing Broker will host an orientation for participants in the program.

Dr. Allen Williams, a sixth-generation beef farmer, former USDA meat inspector, and grass fed beef expert will guide participants through the principles of a successful grass-fed operation.

The workshop is co-sponsored by The Pasture Project and the Wisconsin Grass-Fed Beef Cooperative. The cost for the workshop and lunch is $20 per person. Scholarships are available for military veterans. The event is open to the public but RSVP is required with Robert Bauer at 608-732-1202 before Feb. 17.

The Grazing Broker is supported by grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Federation and USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Southwest Badger Resource Conservation & Development Council, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization working in the Southwest Wisconsin region.

The Mentorship Program for Future Livestock Farmers connects beginning livestock farmers to financial coaching, business mentorship, and land through the Southwest Badger RC&D Grazing Broker. To sign-up to receive updates on events in the region visit www.swbadger.org, www.facebook.com/SWBadger, phone 608-732-1202, or email robert.bauer@swbadger.org.

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