Jim Gerrish is an independent grazing lands consultant providing service to farmers and ranchers on both private and public lands across the US and internationally. He currently lives in the Pahsimeroi Valley in central Idaho and works with numerous ranchers using both irrigated pastures and native rangeland as well as working in high natural rainfall environments. He received a BS in Agronomy from the University of Illinois and MS in Crop Ecology from University of Kentucky. His experience includes over 22 years of beef-forage systems research and outreach while on the faculty of the University of Missouri. The University of Missouri-Forage Systems Research Center rose to national prominence as a result of his research leadership. His research encompassed many aspects of plant-soil-animal interactions and provided foundation for many of the basic principles of Management-intensive Grazing.
He has written a regular monthly column in The Stockman Grass-Farmer magazine for over 20 years. He has authored two books on grazing and ranch management. Management-intensive Grazing: The Grassroots of Grass Farming was published in 2004 and Kick the Hay Habit: A practical guide to year-around grazing was published in 2010. He has also written a revised 2nd edition of Allan Nation's classic book Quality Pasture published in 2019.
Jim was co-founder of the very popular multi-day grazing management workshop program at FSRC. These schools were attended by over 3000 producers and educators from 39 states and 4 Canadian provinces from their inception in 1990 through 2003. Fifteen other states have conducted grazing workshops based on the Missouri model and Jim has taught in eleven of these states. He is an instructor in the University of Idaho's Lost River Grazing Academy held annually near Salmon ID. He typically speaks at 30 to 40 producer-oriented workshops, seminars, and field days around the US and Canada each year.
For 22 of the years he spent in Missouri, he stayed in touch with the real world on a 260-acre commercial cow-calf and contract grazing operation. In this setting, he took a worn out marginal crop farm and converted it to a highly productive grass farm. After the move to Idaho in 2004, Jim keeps his day-to-day grazing tools sharp through management of a ranch unit consisting of 450 center pivot irrigated pastures, 90 acres of flood ground, and several hundred acres of rangeland.
While in Missouri, he was deeply involved in the Green Hills Farm Project, a grassroots producer group centered in north-central Missouri emphasizing sustainability of family farms. He is currently working with the local, natural food networks in the West. His research and outreach efforts have been recognized with awards from the American Forage and Grassland Council, Missouri Forage and Grassland Council, National Center for Appropriate Technology, USDA-NRCS, the Soil and Water Conservation Society, Progressive Farmer, and American Agricultural Editors Association.