With the launch of a new program and the return of an old favorite, specialists with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture were able to educate more Kentucky forage and livestock producers this year through the Master Grazer educational program.

The Kentucky Agricultural Development Board partially funded the program in which producers learned how to improve and extend their current grazing operations and increase their bottom lines.

"2010 was a successful year for the Master Grazer Program in that the producers we reached through the grazing schools, field days and county programs have been able to graze their pastures longer through drought than before due to increased grazing management," said Adam Probst, UK Master Grazer Program coordinator. "They have been able to reduce their stored feed needs and increase their profitability."

The Applied Master Grazer Program, which began this year, differs from the traditional Master Grazer program in that producers get hands-on field experience as well as classroom instruction. UK specialists will offer 11 programs and impact an estimated 400 producers in 42 counties in 2010. During the program, participants tour area farms where county agents with the UK Cooperative Extension Service and farm managers discuss what does and does not work in their operations, ways to improve problem areas, and new strategies and techniques to increase grazing efficiency.

After a several year hiatus, the Kentucky Grazing School returned in fall 2009. Interest among forage and livestock producers was so high that program organizers offered two programs in 2010 in central and western Kentucky.