Got Grass? Need a Farmer?

— Written By William Hamilton
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One of the most interesting parts of our job here at NC FarmLink is reviewing the information that land seekers write about themselves on the farm seeker profiles. When an individual stands out as a farmer that we think has a lot of potential, we make an effort to highlight them, and hopefully expose them to a landowner that would benefit from partnering with them to farm their land. Cole Maness of Rockingham County, NC is one of these.

Cole and his father Marty Maness run about 25 head of Red Angus and Hereford influenced momma cows using intensive rotational grazing on about 30 acres of pasture at their farm. They are working on building a registered red angus herd as well as a commercial herd of red baldies. Cole is a big believer in intensive rotational grazing, no-till farming, and cover crops. Through intensive rotational grazing, he can improve pasture quality by making the cows work for the land. Rotational grazing allows the farmer to spread the cattle more evenly and more intensively across the fields, providing a natural source of phosphorus and organic matter which improves the soil.

“Our main limitation is the amount of pasture we currently have”, says Cole. “If we had access to more pasture ground, especially in Rockingham or Stokes counties, we could expand our herd and make it more financially viable. Our system of rotational grazing will only improve the pasture ground of any pasture we are able to use. Working with us to graze our cattle would be a win-win for the landowner and for us. Our cattle would get to harvest the grass, and our cattle would build organic matter and phosphorus in the soil, improving the quality of the pastures over time.”

Cole and his father are passionate about taking excellent care of the land they farm with sustainable practices, but they also take a huge amount of pride in the quality of their cattle. This year at the State Fair they won Grand and Reserve Champion Red Angus bulls. They also Won Junior Bull Calf Champion and Intermediate bull champion at the NAILE in Louisville, KY and won Grand and Reserve Red Angus Bulls at the Dixie Classic Fair.

“I signed up as a land seeker on the NC Extension FarmLink site because I really believe it’s a great program, and I want to encourage other farmers and landowners to use it. Through my travels as the N.C. Cooperative Extension of Guilford County Livestock Agent and as a farmer around the region where I live and work, I’ve noticed that farmland is continually being displaced by housing and commercial real estate developments. I’ve also noticed a good bit of idle land and I’m unsure why its not being used for farming. I think it would be good for more landowners to know that they can keep their land in deferred agricultural land use tax status by keeping a farmer on it. This can save landowners a lot of property tax money as well as helping out farmers in this state.”

If you have idle land and want someone to farm it, please contact William Hamilton of NC FarmLink at 828-273-5663 or Cole Maness at (336) 641-2400 to see if we can match you up with a farmer. NC FarmLink can provide a template lease agreement that was developed by the NC College of Agriculture and Life Sciences that will give you the assurance you need to lease your land for agricultural use without cause for worry. NC FarmLink is an NC State University Extension Program that serves the entire state of NC.

Cole serves as the Livestock Agent for the N.C. Cooperative Extension of Guilford County Service. When he’s not serving livestock farmers in Guilford County, he’s probably spending time with his wife or taking care of his cattle.