Mark Green, a Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) staffer from Springfield, was named “Pastureland Conservationist of the Year.”
Two months previous, Green was named “Missouri Forage and Grassland Council Pastureland Conservationist of the Year,” for his pasture planning skills.
A 37-year veteran of USDA’s NRCS, Green was honored at the American Forage and Grassland Council 2020 Annual Conference in Greenville, SC, on Jan. 7. He is currently the NRCS lead resource conservationist in Springfield.
Green has spent much of his career promoting the innovative concepts of management intensive grazing. Diana Sheridan, district conservationist for NRCS in Springfield, says Green has been an industry leader in grassland management. “He coordinates grazing schools for producers, writes instructive books, trains our staff, and has even taught seminars for several Midwest universities and groups in other countries,” she said. “He has actually developed and helped implement more than 700 resource conservation plans and livestock grazing systems throughout his career.”
Recently, Green began working with the William H. Darr College of Agriculture at Missouri State University to develop and implement a grazing school class. Green collaborates with the University of Mo. Extension and MSU professors to teach students about management intensive grazing by effectively utilizing fencing, livestock watering, and management of grazing strategies.
Mo. NRCS State Resource Conservationist Nate Goodrich says Green’s training efforts have been a huge asset to NRCS staff and Missouri farmers. “Continuous and set stock grazing practices can lead to substandard livestock and forage production and environmental issues such as soil erosion and poor water quality,” he said. “Mark’s training efforts in this area counteract some of the antiquated, widely-used practices. His work is having a positive impact on our natural resources, livestock health, and farmer profits.”
An example of Green’s important work is the establishment of a grazing system demonstration site, in partnership with the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks, to promote the effectiveness of NRCS practices as water quality improvement tools. “The system has been effectively used for fencing, watering systems, forage, and soil health workshops to educate landowners, land managers, and resource professionals for over 10 years,” said Sheridan.
Green’s grazing knowledge has also helped NRCS develop several publications, such as “Missouri Watering Systems for Serious Graziers” and “Missouri Electric Fencing for Serious Graziers.” Sheridan says NRCS has printed and distributed more than 40,000 of these books throughout the Midwest.
Green began his career as a soil conservationist before becoming a district conservationist, area resource conservationist, and a lead resource conservationist. In his daily work, Green helps Missouri farmers plan livestock grazing systems, nutrient management, pest management, prescribed burning, forestry, and agroforestry in Southwest Mo.