Heidi Smith Konesko
Heidi Smith Konesko has been working with farmers to optimize their grazing systems for the past 16 years, as a Soil Conservationist with NRCS in New Hampshire. She has always been interested in animals and animal behavior, and worked with horses while growing up. In college she was introduced to dairy cattle and worked on a local dairy farm. She studied Animal Science at the University of Connecticut, earning a Bachelor's Degree in 1987. After graduation she worked on different farms in the U.S. and Europe, gaining experience with dairy and mixed livestock. While caretaking a small diverse farm in England she was introduced to Rotational Grazing. It seemed like a natural choice for the animals, the land, and for the farmer. Upon returning to the U.S. she came to New Hampshire to work on a grazing dairy, where she gained more experience with cattle and grass management. Eventually she returned to school and earned a Master’s in Adult and Occupational Education from the University of New Hampshire. She continued studying and learning about grass farming during a wonderfully intense year at a small college in northern Vermont, where she interned with the Farm Management faculty. It was there that she acquired her first set of insulated coveralls and a perspective on the sustainability of grass based agriculture in the northeast. She was hired by the NRCS soon after, and with them has worked on conservation programs with all kinds of farm and forest landowners, including grass based dairy, sheep, goat, poultry, and horse farms.