Cover Image for ASGA Call 67: Shepherding the future - Insights from Silicon Ranch's Solar Grazing Programs in the Southeast

ASGA Call 67: Shepherding the future - Insights from Silicon Ranch's Solar Grazing Programs in the Southeast

Hosted by American Solar Grazing Association
Past Event
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About Event

Join us for a webinar featuring Jim Malooley from Silicon Ranch. Jim will discuss their innovative, large-scale solar grazing programs in the Southeast and beyond.

What you can expect to learn:

Silicon Ranch has developed exciting solar grazing programs to support regenerative agriculture, ensuring that their sites are managed intentionally to restore functioning grassland ecosystems while producing pasture-raised lamb and renewable solar energy.

Through their Self-Perform Program, Silicon Ranch trains shepherds to graze large flocks on the company's solar sites, helping to bring local farmers into the solar grazing world and create long-term, sustainable solar grazing operations at their sites.

In addition to working with their in-house local farmers, Silicon Ranch develops regional partnerships with farmers to help them build their solar grazing operations and careers, including working with them to optimize grazing conditions (fencing, water development, and other infrastructure) on sites. This is part of Silicon Ranch’s efforts to support the growth of careers in agrivoltaics and shepherding in rural communities while pursuing renewable agriculture goals.

As a part of their work to restore soil health and biodiversity, they cultivate multi-species grasses to prevent erosion, reduce fire fuel, and mitigate shade.

Silicon Ranch owns and operates all of their solar projects, putting them in a good position for setting up sites for effective, long-term grazing and agrivoltaics programs.

Jim will also discuss their genetics work with the NSIP to adapt parasite-resistant breeds for grazing in the Southeast.

About the Speaker

Jim Malooley is a first-generation farmer and shepherd from Indianapolis, IN. After attending Purdue and Boise State Universities, Jim worked in project management on institutional construction projects.  He and his wife’s shared lifelong interest in agriculture led them to depart their careers and found Yellowbird Farms in 2012 in McMinnville, TN.  From the beginning, the goal at Yellowbird Farms was to apply Jim’s engineering background and the tools available through EBVs and the National Sheep Improvement Program to develop a commercial flock of sheep adapted to the Southeast. Foundation ewes were sourced from NSIP producers selecting for parasite-resistant, easy-keeping Katahdins.  Similar criteria were used over the years for sire selection and eventually grew to include the use of southern-adapted Texel rams.  

After outgrowing their deeded acres, Jim turned to solar grazing as a potential solution for expanding his land base.  He met the Regenerative Energy team at Silicon Ranch and both parties recognized they share common goals and values.  

Jim and the Yellowbird flock joined Silicon Ranch late 2021 marking the final step in SRC’s development of a self-owned, self-managed, livestock-based, holistic land management unit.  Through his work within the Regenerative Energy program, Jim continues to advocate for the vast opportunities created by growth of renewable energy production for the American Sheep Industry and its producers.