What can you tell me about contract grazing?
Answer: Contract grazing is a livestock-production system that decouples land ownership, livestock ownership, and land (and livestock) management. The arrangement may involve as many as three separate entities carrying out distinct roles: a landowner, a livestock owner, and a grazier (the grazing manager). There are three scenarios that contract grazing falls into. The first is when a grazier who owns pasture contracts to manage another farmer’s livestock. The second is a livestock owner leasing pasture from a landowner and managing his or her own livestock on that land. The third is a farmer contracting with a grazier to manage the farmer’s livestock on the farmer’s own land or on another party’s land.Contract grazing can be a profitable agricultural enterprise for the custom grazier. If the grazier doesn’t own cattle, he or she does not have to pay livestock ownership expenses and manages cattle only during the grazing season. If the grazier leases land, he or she doesn’t have to pay taxes and has the flexibility to enter or leave the business more readily. Contract grazing can be a sought-after opportunity by dairy producersn especially if they do not have the ability to raise their own replacement heifers, and for beef producers who do not have the pasture for backgrounding calves. Check out the ATTRA publication Grazing Contracts for Livestock as you research this enterprise. This publication discusses some of the issues involved with contract grazing, including various classes of livestock, equipment, sample contracts, some of the economics to consider and other resources available on the subject.