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    New BGS Grazing Partners Ready to Help Grassland Farmers this Spring 2010-02-01

Nine livestock farmers from across England and Wales have joined the growing team of British Grassland Society (BGS) Grazing Partners, after completing a training course in mentoring skills held near Stoneleigh, Warwickshire.

Back row, left to right: Malcolm Fewster, Neale Manning, Glasnant Morgan, Hefin Llwyd, Andy King. Front row, seated: left to right: Nick Spencer, Simon Martin, Stuart Stark, Tim Simons.

New Grazing Partners mentors

Launched last summer, the mentorship scheme uses experienced and successful dairy, beef and sheep farmers to mentor producers less confident in grassland management skills, so they can increase grass utilisation and cut their costs of production.

“We trained our first nine Grazing Partners in June last year and were surprised at the demand for their services,” explains the scheme’s project manager Sara Gregson, who saw a similar initiative working in the Canadian suckler cow industry during a Nuffield Farming Scholarship.

“With 21 farmers already matched to a grazing partner and several on a waiting list, we were keen to train more ready for the forthcoming grazing season.”

The new BGS Grazing Partners are: Malcolm Fewster (West Yorkshire), Andy King (Somerset), Neale Manning (Shropshire), Simon Martin (Wiltshire), Tim Simons (Pembrokeshire), Nick Spencer (Gloucestershire) - supported by DairyCo; Hefin Llwyd (Devon) and Stuart Stark (Yorkshire) supported by EBLEX and Glasnant Morgan (Powys) supported by BGS.

The mentors will undertake two visits to producer’s in their area to suggest ideas and discuss options for improving grassland productivity and use.

The farmer pays an initial £50 administration fee, but receives the help and guidance of the mentor free of charge. On-going support by phone, email or further meetings can also be arranged directly with the grazing partner.

For more information and details of the BGS Grazing Partners in your area, call Sara Gregson on 01799 530934 or email sara@saragregson.co.uk.

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