image description: red cow with a white face grazing in lush green grass

Custom (or "contract") grazing is a practice by which someone with grazing animals develops a contract  with a landowner or a municipality to graze animals for an agreed-upon purpose and length of time.

Custom grazing is a professional, and sometimes neighborly, arrangement through which farmers and landowners and land managers collaborate on management of the land by skilled farmers and grazing animals.  Practiced by shepherds and herdspeople for many many years, there's a great deal of current interest in this creative and collaborative approach.

Just a few of the ways that the practices are currently occurring in Vermont:

  • Using sheep to graze (instead of paying people to mow) the plants under and around solar arrays
  • Managing buckthorn with goats on Putney Mountain
  • Grazing heifers so dairy farmers can concentrate on their breeding and milking operations
  • Using grazing cows to boost soil organic matter on degraded lands that will eventually be rehabilitated into productive pasture

Recent Vermont Custom Grazing Stories

image description: a green field and a blue sky around a silver row of solar panels with sheep grazing and laying in the shade underneath them.



Interested in knowing more about the Center's work or do you have a question we haven't answered here?  Contact us via email  or  802-656-5459 and we'll do our best to help.


image description: a black and white illustration of rolling hills, villages, farms, grazing animals


Solar Arrays & Grazing Sheep in Vermont, 1 of 4 short videos: