Silvopasture operations in the North Carolina area?

I recently purchased 500 acres in the southwest corner of North Carolina. The property contains around 30 acres of developed pastures. There are another 100 acres of forest that was selectively logged several years ago. The balance is mostly small Meadows set amid thick forest  some photos may be seen at

I am interested in moving around 150 acres towards an agroforestry/Silvopasture setting for ruminants . I see many resources in the Northeast but I am hoping that you may know of some mature agroforestry/silvopasture operations in  either north Georgia or Western North Carolina that I might be able to visit and learn from? Additionally, I will soon need to hire a full-time farm manager to get the operation going and overseeing everything. Do any of you have advice on where To start? I am not a farmer and there is so much I do not now. I would think I am looking for someone experienced in grazing, forestry, and general project management for their many construction projects needed around the property. Any advice is welcome!

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You could fill out the Agroforestry Assistance Form on Appalachian Sustainable Development's webpage.  That might help you get started?

Hey Ben, we’re in SC and are doing silvopasture with cattle. It won’t let me add a picture but you can check us out on Facebook/ Instagram at Lightning Rock Land & Cattle. We’d love to have you and share your experience getting to this point!

Prescribed burning has been instrumental in clearing the understory of our twice harvested stand with basal area 50 or 60. Many native perennials returned such as bluestem and indiangrass. Turned the cows out to knock over saplings and eat brush/thorns/etc and it’s practically unrecognizable from a year ago. Planting behia this summer and had some ryegrass left in the conservation seeder that we emptied into a row and it’s done very well.

Your main issue will be low pH from the (what i asume you have) pine trees.

It can be very overwhelming. We only purchased our place just over two years ago and have been learning as much as possible through webinars, classes, state foresters, NRCS, mentors found through programs like FACT, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, etc. We invite many folks with diverse backgrounds (even the row crop agent to consult on cover crops!) to our farm to learn from them. I’d highly recommend getting a stewardship plan from your state forester in your county. They help set the management strategy for your timber. Also a business plan helps- just thinking long term about what your goals are and the tasks needed to get from A to Z. I have no background in agriculture and even though my husband is a 4th generation cattleman, he’s from Idaho/Oregon and the climate, landscape, weather is night and day from SC so we’re learning from scratch with our land. Would love to talk with you more, if you’d like.
Hey Ben, we have Lightning Rock Land & Cattle in Walterboro SC. We’ve converted a neglected loblolly timber tract to silvopasture for cattle. Prescribed fire has been a key tool for us in clearing out the understory enough to even let the cattle in to knock down saplings, trample brush and thorns, and bale graze to concentrate the hoof impact in the worse areas.

Our basal area is about 50 or 60. We do have low ph soil but ryegrass grew this winter and we’re planting behia for the summer. We also have native bluestem that is doing well.

Your place looks beautiful and diverse. I understand it’s overwhelming and not knowing where to start. I have no background in Ag and we’ve had our place for just over 2 years. The transformation is remarkable. We have areas in various stages which is very cool to show people and compare. We have a traditional pasture area, an area burned 1 year ago that has had animal impact, an area burned 1 year ago but no animals, burned last month, and not yet burned.

Our state forester developed a stewardship plan for us. Helped us start thinking about eh long term plan. We also have a business plan where we outline our goals and what we want to achieve in 5 and 10 years. We set smaller goals- what we want to achieve this year or next year and break it down further for what we need to do monthly to achieve these goals. It’s a lot of work to do all of this but it has been extremely useful. Would be willing to talk with you more. You can see us on Facebook and Instagram or

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