Grazing Native Perennials in the Little Sioux Watershed

Wednesday, June 19 | 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Peterson, IA

In partnership with The Nature Conservancy

62d3255906ebd408bf01beb76e6dff70John and his cousin, Aaron, will discuss the benefits and challenges associated with grazing native perennials. Amy Crouch, an ecologist and Little Sioux project manager for The Nature Conservancy, will highlight the ecological benefits of managed grazing. With John and Aaron, she will also discuss conservation leasing issues associated with grazing conservancy-owned lands.


John Rock | Rock Cattle Company | (712) 390-0577

Aaron Nelson | Nelson Farms

SPEAKER: Amy Crouch – The Nature Conservancy


John Rock and Aaron Nelson are cousins who farm and raise cattle in the Little Sioux watershed. Through their separate grazing operations, both John and Aaron lease ground owned by The Nature Conservancy. Under the current terms of these conservation-minded leases, John and Aaron graze cattle from May 15 through the end of June, controlling exotic cool-season grasses in TNC-restored prairie in the process.

John has been working to restore a native pasture that was 80% covered in eastern red cedars, and is using grazing to further restore native vegetation to the pasture. John also operates a small farm-to-freezer beef business that focuses on where the meat comes from and the high-quality forage the animals have consumed along the way.


  • Grazing native perennials
  • Habitat and wildlife benefits of native perennial grazing systems
  • Pros and cons of conservation leases
  • Pasture regeneration using managed grazing
  • Forage-chain planning and integration
  • Beef marketing


  • First Cooperative Association

LOCATION: 377 440th Street Peterson 51047


From Petersen: Take IA Hwy 10 west for about 1 mile, turn left (south)  on 110th Avenue / County Road M27 and go 3 miles (110th Avenue will turn into 20th Avenue). Turn left (east) onto Co Fd C13 / 440th Street and drive 1.2 miles, around the curve, and take the first right onto 440th Street. Go past the Timber Ridge campground entrance. The main park buildings will be on the left (north) side of the road.

From IA Hwy 3: Turn north on Co Rd M27 / 20th Avenue and go 9 miles. Turn right (east) on Co Rd C13 / 440th St and drive 1.2 miles, around the curve; take the first right onto 440th Street. Go past the Timber Ridge campground entrance. The main park buildings will be on the left (north) side of the road.

From U.S. 71: Turn west on Co Rd C13 / 440th Street and go 5 miles, then continue straight on 420th Avenue / S River Road for about 4 miles; turn left on 440th Street. The main park buildings will be on the right (north) side of the road.


A meal will be served at the Buena Vista County Conservation Park following the field day. Please RSVP by clicking the blue button below. 

We take RSVP numbers to get an idea of the amount of food that we need to provide for the event. If you RSVP after the deadline but before the event, you are still welcome, but we cannot guarantee a meal.

RSVP by June 14

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