Considerations and Recommendations When Establishing Custom Grazing Relationships

Created with SARE support
Jennifer Colby | 2019 | 14 pages

This guide and set of recommendations are intended for organic dairy farmers and other livestock graziers interested in starting a custom grazing relationship with a neighboring farmer or landowner. Successful custom grazing can provide or increase grazing acreage for those farmers who need it and can also provide opportunities for smaller, beginning, leased, and diversified operations. The publication includes information for farmers interested in becoming a custom grazier as well as for those who want to user a custom grazier. Sample agreements (some focused just on Vermont) are included.


  • Introduction
  • Why use a custom grazier?
  • Why be a custom grazier working with dairy clients?
  • Are there other custom grazing opportunities?
  • Before the livestock arrive
  • Livestock services and options
  • Payment considerations
  • Distance, infrastructure and land base considerations
  • Grazing agreements, insurance, and legal protection
  • Finding a custom grazier and/or a dairy farmer to work with
  • Summary for success
  • Appendix A—Sample Grazing Agreement
  • Appendix B—Vermont Intrastate Trucking
  • Appendix C—Additional Resources

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This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.