Optional Field Trip
This year’s GGAA featured a technical field trip visit to the Archbold Biological Station (one of USDA’s 18 Long-Term Agroecosystem (LTAR) sites & Buck Island Ranch a 10,500 acre cattle ranch among the top-20 commercial cow-calf producers in Florida.
In pursuit of sustainable food production, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched the Long-Term Agroecosystem (LTAR) network, comprised of 18 locations across the U.S. These sites work together to address national and local agricultural priorities and advance the sustainable intensification of U.S. agriculture. The Archbold Biological Station/University of Florida is one of these sites and is used to develop and assess sustainable agricultural production systems that integrate environmental and socio-economic needs from local, regional, to national scales.
Co-located at this site is Buck Island Ranch, a 10,500 acre cattle ranch among the top-20 commercial cow-calf producers in Florida. Its herd is ~3,000 Brahman-cross cows bred to 150 Angus or Charolais bulls. Over 2,300 calves are raised annually and subsist mainly on grass in the summer but are supplemented with feed in the winter and free choice mineral year-round.
During the Tour
Dr. Hilary Swain and other Archbold scientists gave presentations and demonstrations sharing their latest research on ecosystem and cattle GHG emissions and measurements, including supplemental feed and enzymes research. GGAA attendees boarded a Swamp Buggy and toured several sites on the ranch where ecosystem GHG monitoring is being conducted. What a treat to see a typical Florida beef cow/calf production system in operation! Despite a bit of rain, everyone had a fun day visiting this amazing location, and we ended the trip with a group photo.